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An increasing trend towards more frequent and severe bushfires has created uncertainty over insurance coverage. AAP

Bushfire losses reignite debate about insurance reform

The Australian summer has become synonymous with bushfire risk. Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria have witnessed devastating bushfires generating millions of dollars of damage. Many individuals have…
Do we really need to track offenders from space? satellite image via www.shutterstock.com

GPS monitoring may intrude on prisoners’ privacy

GPS monitoring has been introduced as a potentially revolutionary technology to solve the problems that beset modern prisons - chronic overcrowding, uncontrolled costs, and the failure to correct behaviour…
BenjaminNetanyahu.

Does a year make any difference in the Middle East?

While Israel and Hamas traded explosive ordnance last month a friend of mine remarked that as a Middle East commentator I had a “future proof profession”. It does seem like that and even I have been known…
A suggestion from ASIC chief Greg Medcraft that investors should be tested on their knowledge of risky investments acknowledges standard product disclosure statements tend to be ignored. AAP

Testing investor mettle and consumer protection

It seems that ASIC’s Christmas present to investors is to get them to undertake an exam to see if they really know what is in the product disclosure statements that they agree to. Well, not exactly, but…
Time to take a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course – for a test drive. Online course image from www.shutterstock.com

An insider’s guide: what it’s really like to study a MOOC

Anyone who has been paying attention to higher education this year will have heard of the MOOC – courses from prestigious universities offered for free online. There’s been great interest in them from…
In order to drag themselves onto land, fish-like creatures needed limbs. Thierrry

They came from the sea: the gene behind limb evolution

In the late Devonian period, roughly 365 million years ago, fish-like creatures started venturing from shallow waters onto land. Among the various adaptations associated with the switch to land life was…
tahrir square.

The counter-revolution that Egypt had to have

In the lead up to the constitutional referendum in Egypt the protestors and armed forces are taking their familiar roles around Tahrir Square. The decree by President Mohamed Morsi over-ruling the powers…
Southern Cross Austereo CEO Rys Holleran has expressed “sorrow” at the death of Jacintha Saldanha, but who is to blame? AAP/Joe Castro

Between guilt and innocence: 2Day FM and the moral blame game

This past weekend, we saw the media – old, new, and social – trying to digest the indigestible. The death of Jacintha Saldanha, the British nurse who apparently took her own life after being caught up…
Federal member for Fremantle Melissa Parke has attracted a national profile with her left wing views in recent years. Office of Melissa Parke MP

In Conversation: Greens are not our enemy, says Labor’s Melissa Parke

Labor’s Melissa Parke probably won’t be too popular with rightwing powerbrokers like Paul Howes with her view that the Greens are a fellow progressive party rather than an insidious enemy to be confronted…
Melissa Parke visiting a local school with Prime Minister Julia Gillard. AAP/Rebecca Le May

In Conversation: Melissa Parke full transcript

Geoffrey Robinson: We’re here for The Conversation. Melissa, you’ve got an interesting career background working in the legal sector of the international human rights law. That’s perhaps very different…
Not all members of the Free Syria Army have the nation’s best interests at heart. EPA/Maysun

Reconciliation is the only way forward for Syria

Syria continues to be gutted, physically and psychologically, every day. Her people are terrorised and killed, infrastructure is decimated, and historical monuments are razed with astonishing levels of…
barack and abbas.

Palestine’s UN bid: the more things change…

Just over a year ago I was interviewed for an article here on The Conversation about the failed Palestinian bid for full member status of the United Nations. I pointed out that it was largely a symbolic…
Julia Gillard has repeatedly answered questions about her role with the AWU, but it’s not enough for some journalists. AAP/Alan Porritt

AWU ‘scandal’ says more about the media’s ethics than the PM’s

Every time Prime Minister Julia Gillard repeats statements that she’s “done nothing wrong” in the AWU slush fund scandal story, it seems another journalist joins the fray. No one covering the story has…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard answered questions about the AWU affair at a press conference yesterday. AAP/Alan Porrit

What went wrong with the AWU?

The recent drama about Julia Gillard’s activities on behalf of one faction of the Australian Workers’ Union back in the early 1990s is another chapter in the long story of money in Australian unions. Parliament…
History suggests privatisation of the electricity industry is not such a bright idea. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Why we should pull the plug on privatising electricity

Surging power prices are having savage consequences for household discretionary incomes. Some would blame the government’s carbon tax, but the real culprit is price gouging. Judging from the pronouncements…
Pharmaceutical companies view the growing middle class in India and other emerging economies as a significant source of revenue. Ryan/Flickr

David and Goliath: Novartis challenges India’s patent law

India is the global focal point for legal and political struggles over patent rights and access to medicines. Particular attention is focused on the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which is in battle…
The move to end the tax appears to be a political one. Sam Howzit

Denmark scraps fat tax in another Big Food victory

Denmark has scrapped the world’s first “fat tax”, which was charged on foods high in saturated fats, after just one year. Plans to introduce a tax on sugar have also been abandoned. In making the announcement…
The number of Australians sleeping rough decreased but overall rates of homelessness rose by 8%. sk8geek

Sharp rise in youth homelessness shatters stereotypes

The number of Australians who were homeless on census night increased by 17% to 105,237 in the five years to August 2011. When adjusted for population growth, the increase the increase is still worryingly…
Legal services in partnership with health-care providers can have a significant impact on the health of disadvantaged people. Secom Bahia

How doctors and lawyers can help vulnerable patients

Medical-legal partnerships have broken down the barriers to accessible legal services for people experiencing health issues in the United States. Such programs demonstrate the health benefits of effective…
Gaza under Israeli Defense Forces fire as seen from the Israeli town of Sderot, which itself is the victim of rocket attacks from its Palestinian neighbour. EPA/EDI Israel

#IDF v #Hamas: the new Gaza war in 140 characters or less

The hostilities between Israel and Hamas this week are just another sad exchange of munitions of no benefit for anyone, least of all the impoverished residents of Gaza. Rockets go one way, Hellfire missiles…

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