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Christopher Pyne argues that the government is on the side of history in reforming higher education, but it is a bad history that he evokes. AAP/Lukas Coch

The big reforms that prevail fuse the best of left and right

After the defeat of the Abbott government’s higher education bills in the Senate, Education Minister Christopher Pyne invoked the legacy of past “reforms” that had been violently contested at the time…
Pollution on an industrial scale. SARIN KUNTHONG

Cutting emissions now makes business sense for industry

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report tells us that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise and that, unchecked, climate change will likely…
Pop up e-cig bar. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Explainer: what do we know about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are increasingly popular in a number of countries including the UK, while in others such as Norway and Brazil they are banned altogether. So amid all these differences in policy, what do we…
Old people aren’t museum relics. Mr Push

Hard Evidence: can we afford an ageing population?

Stories about “population ageing” often have a number of things in common – it is bad, it is new, and it will overwhelm us all. The major fear is a burden of cost and caring that more older people will…
All rise. UK Parliament

How scientific principles came to be used by government

The introduction of scientific principles into government decision-making began with the publication of the Haldane Report in 1918. Haldane believed that research should play a key role in government and…
If advice isn’t acted upon, is it good advice? kevincollins123

Bees, pesticides and … what are chief scientists for?

Without good advice, governments are in extreme danger of creating erroneous or damaging public policy. So it’s a serious matter when a government science adviser is accused of ignoring scientific evidence…
Martin Ferguson, Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan announced the MRRT in 2010 … but three ministers and three miners do not a policy make. AAP/Alan Porritt

In mining and governing, policy made on the fly is likely to flop

Most controversial public policy could be said to be made on the run, or at least amended on a brisk walk. So the revelations in Peter Martin’s recent article on the errors embedded in the Gillard government’s…
Education academics and teachers should be able to share ideas. Seminar image from www.shutterstock.com

No Apple for teachers shows the value of sharing new ideas

Apparently, teachers and principals have no need to hear about research on international education policy and are too sensitive to deal with “controversial” ideas. Last week, the University of Melbourne’s…
Former politician and economist John Hewson speaks to ANU’s Crawford School’s Bruce Chapman and Daniel Connell.

John Hewson: tax reform doesn’t just mean lowering taxes

Welcome to the latest in our In Conversation series, between former politician and economist Dr John Hewson, Australian National University (ANU) Crawford School Director of Policy Impact Professor Bruce…
What’s wrong with this picture? Ask the community. Proposed changes to the MDBP were largely regarding limits to the amount of groundwater to be extracted. ECO IMAGES PTY LTD

Is anyone really listening? The Murray Darling and the limits to community consultation

On 28 May 2012 the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) handed down its long awaited revised blueprint to restore health to the Murray Darling Basin. The plan was the result of a 20-week community engagement…
A lack of empirical data is hindering indigenous policymaking in the Northern Territory. AAP

What’s data got to do with it? Reassessing the NT intervention

Since its introduction in 2007, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in improving the quality of life in remote indigenous communities…
Australian newspapers took a largely negative view of carbon pricing. avlxyz/Flickr

Carbon pricing policy in the media

While corporate media often criticise the poor communication of others, they are reluctant to critique their own power to influence public opinion and debate. Today the Australian Centre for Independent…

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