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What seats will decide the political fortunes of Daniel Andrews and Denis Napthine at the ballot box this weekend? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Explainer: five key seats to watch in the Victorian election

The Victorian election is just days away and the campaigning is reaching a final crescendo. Both the Labor and Liberal parties are saturating the local airwaves with advertisements. All of the polls point…
One of the hottest topics for the upcoming election is a new forest national park to protect the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem. Greens MPs/Flickr

Victorians short-changed on environmental policy

Less than a week out from Victoria’s state election, both major parties have been largely silent on environmental policy. Neither the Coalition nor Labor has released comprehensive documents. It also seems…
Despite the loss of car manufacturing in Geelong, manufacturing is expected to grow in the broader Barwon region. David Crosling/AAP

Victoria votes: where will the growth and jobs of the future be?

Victorians will soon go to the polls to decide who will be responsible for the management of the state for the next four years. Voters are confronted with many issues on which they must pass judgement…
Victoria’s capacity to handle the millions of containers imported and exported through its ports affects the whole state. AAP/Julian Smith

Project affecting all of Victoria has to be part of election debate

Victoria’s election debate about infrastructure is shaping up around large projects such as the East West Link and Airport Rail Link. But another infrastructure project could also be on the radar: the…
“Who do you trust?” has become a common mantra in Australian politics. Our political leaders should do much more to stop the answer being “no one”. AAP Image/Julian Smith

How to restore trust in politics after the Victorian election

A fundamental lack of trust is at the heart of Australian politicians’ extremely poor reputation. It is the main reason why people’s opinions about their elected representatives have mutated from healthy…
The blaze was eventually extinguished 45 days after it was sparked by a grassfire. Country Fire Authority/AAP

The Hazelwood mine disaster could easily have been avoided

The Hazelwood coalmine fire, which burned for 45 days earlier this year, was a catastrophe for the town of Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. Homes were blanketed in smoke and ash, many residents were…
Sunrise over Queenstown in New Zealand in July 2012. This year’s ski season is just beginning in Australia and New Zealand. Trey Ratcliff/Flickr

Winter is here, but will there be snow in Australia and NZ?

Australia’s ski season is finally getting underway, with the first resort, Perisher, opening its ski lifts after some weekend snow fall. But snow lovers are still watching and waiting for good falls elsewhere…
A recent Ombudsman’s report is damning of the Victorian criminal justice sector, particularly around issues of accountability and transparency. shutterstock

Lifting the veil on the crisis in Victoria’s prisons

Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer’s report on deaths and harm in Victorian prisons may have largely sailed under the public radar, but it shines a rare spotlight on the levels of systemic harm in custody…
Are archaic laws getting in the way of Australians enjoying the beach? Tim J Keegan/Flickr

Who owns the beach when the sea is rising?

We commonly assume that Australians have a fundamental right to access the vast array of beautiful beaches that fringe our continent. But as sea levels rise, these assumptions are being put into question…
Alcoa is to close its Point Henry smelter in Geelong. AAP

Australian aluminium outgunned by cheap, coal-free global rivals

Alcoa’s decision to close the Point Henry smelter, at a cost of almost 1000 jobs in Geelong and elsewhere, comes amid a perfect storm buffeting Australia’s aluminium industry. Point Henry will be the second…
Fire zone: bushland ablaze in the Perth Hills. AAP

Bushfires: rural residents are the solution, not the problem

The return of heatwaves and bushfires to the news pages has brought fresh warnings that Australians who live in fire-prone zones still don’t fully understand the risk they are running. Deadly fires in…
Monday’s heatwave forecast - with even worse heat predicted for the south-east this week. http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/heatwave/

What’s cranking up the heat across south-eastern Australia?

Across south-eastern Australia this morning, people are waking up to forecasts of scorching heat for the week ahead. Players and spectators heading to the Australian Open should prepare for some baking…
Losing access to public housing has emerged as a major concern for Aboriginal Victorians. www.panoramio.com/photo/55450813 - taken by densil

How fear and funding undercut a fair go for Indigenous Victorians

Imagine being the mother of a young autistic boy, whose violent outbursts had caused $30,000 of damage to your rented home - but being too afraid to ask anyone for help for fear of having your son taken…
A dead dingo in 2013 (left) and a Tasmanian tiger, last seen in the wild in 1932. Dingo photography by Aaron Greenville; a hunted thylacine in 1869, photographer unknown.

Will we hunt dingoes to the brink like the Tasmanian tiger?

The last Tasmanian tiger died a lonely death in the Hobart Zoo in 1936, just 59 days after new state laws aimed at protecting it from extinction were passed in parliament. But the warning bells about its…
Unlike Queensland, it’s very unlikely there will be fracking for coal seam gas in Victoria. Simon Townsley, QGC AUSTRALIA

Unconventional gas in Victoria: proceed with care

While New South Wales and Queensland have moved to exploit unconventional gas resources, Victoria maintains a ban on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for onshore shale gas and coal seam gas (CSG). Those…
Firefighters have plenty of ideas about disaster management - so why don’t we listen? AAP/Dan Himbrechts

What firefighters say about climate change

You do not find many climate change sceptics on the end of [fire] hoses anymore… They are dealing with increasing numbers of fires, increasing rainfall events, increasing storm events. – A senior Victorian…
Eileen Creamer is one of just three women to be convicted of defensive homicide in Victoria. A Victorian government report has proposed abolishing the controversial law. AAP/Julian Smith

Abolishing defensive homicide will benefit female victims and offenders

The Victorian Department of Justice has released its long-awaited review into operation of the controversial offence of defensive homicide. The Consultation Paper proposes the offence’s abolition on the…

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