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Analysis and Comment (21)

A coal seam gas field in New South Wales. The independent review concludes health impacts can be regulated; experts say otherwise. A coal seam gas field in New South Wales. The independent review concludes health impacts can be regulated; experts say otherwise. Jeremy Buckingham/Flickr

Chief Scientist CSG report leaves health concerns unanswered

The long-awaited independent review of coal seam gas (CSG) in New South Wales, released last week by the NSW Chief Scientist, highlighted many risks and uncertainties around human health from exposure…
There’s a long-term shift underway in Australia that all politicians should be watching. There’s a long-term shift underway in Australia that all politicians should be watching. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Indigenous Australia’s rapid rise is shifting money and votes

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
Environmental officer Glendon Turner was allegedly shot and killed by a New South Wales farmer. Environmental officer Glendon Turner was allegedly shot and killed by a New South Wales farmer. AAP Image/NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Turner Family

Land clearing laws bring out worrying libertarian streak

Last week, an environmental officer, Glendon Turner, was allegedly shot and killed by a farmer near the town of Moree in New South Wales. A 79-year old man, Ian Turnbull, has been charged with Mr Turner’s…
Don’t let gas price flare ups catch you by surprise: there are better ways to save your money and energy. Don’t let gas price flare ups catch you by surprise: there are better ways to save your money and energy. Ben Jenkins/Flickr

Don’t get burnt by gas price rises: tips for homes and industry

Gas prices are on the rise, starting tomorrow with a 17.8% increase this year in New South Wales, with other parts of eastern Australia expected to follow in coming years. That means it’s a crucial time…
Anti-coal protesters at Maules Creek are being watched - although it’s not really clear by who. Anti-coal protesters at Maules Creek are being watched - although it’s not really clear by who. Greenpeace Australia/AAP

Is spying on anti-coal activists just the tip of the iceberg?

The infiltration of anti-coal protests in New South Wales by spies employed by a private security company is unlikely to be a one-off event. More likely, the revelations of spying on the Maules Creek and…
Earlier closing times for pubs and bars is the key to preventing alcohol-fuelled assaults. Earlier closing times for pubs and bars is the key to preventing alcohol-fuelled assaults. André Hofmeister/Flickr

Earlier pub closing times key to reducing alcohol-fuelled assaults

Earlier pub closing times have a large impact on curbing alcohol-fuelled violence, according to research my colleagues and I have published today in the international peer-reviewed journal Drug & Alcohol…
Heat relief: on hot days, flying foxes - like this grey-headed flying fox - dip their bellies into water to cool down. Heat relief: on hot days, flying foxes - like this grey-headed flying fox - dip their bellies into water to cool down. Nick Edards

Killer climate: tens of thousands of flying foxes dead in a day

This summer we have seen one of the most dramatic animal die-offs ever recorded in Australia: at least 45,500 flying foxes dead on just one extremely hot day in southeast Queensland, according to our new…
Shark bites on humans are best viewed as random acts of nature rather than deliberate attacks. Shark bites on humans are best viewed as random acts of nature rather than deliberate attacks. Mogens Trolle/www.shutterstock.com

Shark bite statistics can lie, and the result is bad policy

The mathematics of shark bites look pretty simple: the more incidents, the worse the situation. That said, no amount of scientific explanation can fully address the tragedy of people being injured or killed…
Sydney’s environment evolved with fire. Sydney’s environment evolved with fire. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Sydney fires caused by people and nature

Even without the official tally it looks like the fires that started yesterday in Blue Mountains will be the most costly in terms of property since 1968. But how have they come about? Why is the area vulnerable…
New South Wales needs to consider all the options to avoid a gas crisis. New South Wales needs to consider all the options to avoid a gas crisis. Flickr/mikeyp2000

Is New South Wales really facing a gas crisis?

The NSW Energy Security Summit being held in Sydney this week looks like turning into a debate on the relative economic and environmental credentials of coal seam gas, while at the same time exposing a…
Dobell MP Craig Thomson has been spending time in a courthouse in addition to Parliament House in recent times. Dobell MP Craig Thomson has been spending time in a courthouse in addition to Parliament House in recent times. AAP/Lukas Coch

The NSW Central Coast: beautiful one day, Dobell the next

The seats of Dobell and Robertson encompass most of the Central Coast between Sydney and Newcastle and therefore preside over a glistening necklace of beaches and waterways that are among the most beautiful…
New South Wales relies heavily on gas, but gets nearly all its supply from elsewhere. New South Wales relies heavily on gas, but gets nearly all its supply from elsewhere. Warren Rohner

Coal seam gas and New South Wales' looming energy crisis

New South Wales is the only major state in Australia that does not have energy security. Its reliance on Victorian and Queensland gas, paired with the vital role gas plays in its homes and industries…
Introduced animals are a huge problem in conserving Australian species, but there’s no proof hunting helps. Introduced animals are a huge problem in conserving Australian species, but there’s no proof hunting helps. Beppie K/flickr

Hunting game gets new rules in NSW, but should we play at all?

The New South Wales Government will allow hunting to continue in national parks from October, after disbanding the state’s Game Council earlier this month following a scathing review of how it was being…
Grown on water saving soils… Grown on water saving soils… TXMagpie/Flickr

The good earth: Jasmine rice and Leeton Red Sodosol

Australia has some of the world’s most ancient soils, many of which grow delicious produce. In this series, “The good earth”, soil scientist Robert Edis profiles some of those soils and the flavours they…
Why can’t people and marine parks get along? Why can’t people and marine parks get along? Flickr/f-l-e-x

Go fish: why fishers don’t care for marine parks

In what is either a win for fishers or another blow to reserves, recreational fishers have been allowed back into marine sanctuaries under controversial new reforms in New South Wales. In the past four…
Only 7% of the NSW coast is currently protected from fishing: it’s about to be 0%. Only 7% of the NSW coast is currently protected from fishing: it’s about to be 0%. Éamonn Lawlor

Recreational fishing in marine parks: you can’t be serious!

The NSW Government’s announcement this week allowing beach fishing in sanctuary (no-take) zones of marine parks flies in the face of sensible conservation of precious marine biodiversity. It is a warning…
Has Julia Gillard’s tour of western Sydney been the vote winner she hoped? The answer is yet to come. Has Julia Gillard’s tour of western Sydney been the vote winner she hoped? The answer is yet to come. Paul Miller/AAP

Julia Gillard’s western Sydney road show: the good, the bad and the ugly

The announcement that Prime Minister Julia Gillard would spend a week in the western suburbs of Sydney was greeted with mild amusement by some, and became the base of jokes about “beige rooms” for others…
There has been a media frenzy around allegations against Moses Obeid (centre) and his family at ICAC. But he’s not alone. There has been a media frenzy around allegations against Moses Obeid (centre) and his family at ICAC. But he’s not alone. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Keeping up with the Obeids: the media and corruption claims in Australia

When the Obeid family took the stand at the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday, the Australian media took more notice than it previously had. This is perhaps not…
Barry O'Farrell, seen here with Police Minister Mike Gallacher, has pursued several criminal law reforms aimed at disrupting criminal organisations. Barry O'Farrell, seen here with Police Minister Mike Gallacher, has pursued several criminal law reforms aimed at disrupting criminal organisations. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Our right to silence is too important to lose

The move to dilute the right to silence in NSW is unjust, constitutionally questionable and unnecessary. The O'Farrell government announced a “watering down” of right to silence laws in response to bikie…
Jane Ashton successfully campaigned for the provocation defence to be abolished in Victoria after James Ramage used the defence for killing her sister Julie. Jane Ashton successfully campaigned for the provocation defence to be abolished in Victoria after James Ramage used the defence for killing her sister Julie. AAP Image/ Brent Bignell

Murder or manslaughter? NSW ponders the provocation problem

In Parliament last week, NSW took steps towards better understanding, and potentially solving, the problems posed by the partial defence of provocation. A defence predominately used by men, provocation…
Why hasn’t human health been considered in the push for expanded coal facilities? Why hasn’t human health been considered in the push for expanded coal facilities? AAP Image/Paul Miller

Newcastle’s T4 project puts short-term profit before health

A massive expansion of Newcastle’s coal export terminal has been proposed by Port Waratah Coal Services. Approval is likely soon, but the expansion’s effect on human health has been ignored in the project’s…