Articles on Public policy

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Hard numbers: less than 1% of the world’s oceans are protected but marine scientists think 20% should be off-limits to fishing. AAP/Lloyd Jones

Marine parks: cause for optimism, but devilish details

As a marine scientist, I welcome Senator Burke’s brave decision today to roll out Australia’s marine park system. This puts us on a par with other leading nations like the US and UK who have established…
Networks of nature: a potato cod with striped cleaner wrasse at Osprey Reef, an area in the expanded marine reservations announced today. Flickr/richard ling

Big splash: welcome back to top-shelf marine conservation

Today’s announcement of a national network of marine parks is really a memorable day for Australian nature conservation. The political rhetoric and self-congratulation associated with major events is often…
Julia Gillard espouses “evidence-based” policy and Bob Hawke set up a Future Commission, but policy-making is necessarily subject to all manner of short-term pressures. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Challenge 5: The trouble with policy-makers thinking ahead

In part five of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Scott Prasser questions easy sloganeering about the importance of “long-term” policy-making. Global challenge 5: How can policymaking be…
Back, sperm, back: a human egg on the tip of a pin. Flickr/wellcome images

Squaring up to difficult truths: how to reduce the population

Elephants in the room, part two For all our schemes and mantras about making our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands. What are the deep…
How far are you from the treatment you need? Having a heart attack puts the patient in a race against time. Flickr/alexkess

Heart attack by postcode: how fast and close is due treatment?

Australians considering where to have a heart attack can now do a postcode check on the speed and quality of medical treatment…
Payday lenders can seem a necessity for many Australians. Flickr/taberandrew

Almost 3 million adult Aussies lack basic financial services

Almost 3 million adult Australians are entirely or severely excluded from mainstream financial services including bank loans…
Tug of water: the Murray-Darling Basin is fraught with competing interests. AAP/Lukas Coch

Murray-Darling authority’s revised plan: expert reactions

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) today released a revised plan that recommends cutting the volume of groundwater…
In today’s world, businesses have to find new ways to tackle wicked problems. luxamart

Wicked problems and business strategy: is design thinking an answer?

Obesity. Climate change. Brain drain. Tax havens. War in Afghanistan. All have been described as “wicked problems”. UC Berkeley scholars, Rittel and Webber, coined the term in 1973 when they were reacting…
Given our neo-Platonic visions of universal ecologies, when it comes to restoring waterways we’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Flickr/Annadriel

Science’s stagnant thinking: our rivers need a revolution

I’ve been away in the UK for a few years – and what do I find when I come back? In the Murray Darling we are still arguing over inputs (the amount of water to be returned to the river) instead of focusing…
Facing tough questions: NSW’s planning review must grapple with competing visions of development. Flickr/Askew One

Under review: rival visions for people and communities

Later this year Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, faces a difficult decision. Will he prepare new state planning legislation that prioritises a desired outcome: healthy, functional…
Our thinly spread efforts to prop up the environment are failing and it is time for tough decisions about what we can realistically preserve. Flickr/rexboggs5

Farms versus nature: how do we decide what to protect?

Australian farmers take pride in their efficient and productive farming systems, competing in the global economy and without many of the large subsidies given to their counterparts in Europe and North…
Ken Henry served as Treasury Secretary for 10 years. AAP/Alan Porritt

Ex-Treasury boss Ken Henry to head public policy body

Former Treasury boss Ken Henry is headed to the Australian National University, where he will lead a new public policy institute…
Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Mark Scott on the future of your ABC

Welcome to In Conversation, our series of discussions between leading academics and major public figures in Australian life. In this instalment, Mark Scott, managing director of the Australian Broadcasting…
Our teeming attack on the natural world threatens to turn the wilderness into a fetish item. AAP/The Wilderness Society

Squaring up to difficult truths: population and the environment

Elephants in the room, part one For all our schemes and mantras about making this or that part of our lives environmentally “sustainable”, humanity’s assault on the planet not only continues but expands…
The Police Association of Victoria fought hard and smart to ensure they won a payrise promised to them during the 2010 election campaign. AAP/Julian Smith

The thin blue bottom line: how Victoria’s police re-defined public pay battles

The Police Association of Victoria recently secured a pay rise of nearly 19 per cent over four years for its members. Lessons drawn from the Police Association’s success should bolster the bargaining power…
Not a deterrent? This boat arrived on Christmas Island after the “Malaysia solution” deal was finalised. AAP/Josh Jerga

There are better alternatives to the ‘Malaysia solution’

The government’s controversial “Malaysia solution”, in which Australia “swaps” refugees with Malaysia is being challenged in the High Court this week. Asylum seekers are being backed by the Australian…

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