Health + Medicine — Analysis and Comment

An historian reading the government White Paper on developing northern Australia will realise we’re actually heading all the way back to the 1890s. andrew matthews/Flickr

Northern development plan shows Australia’s fraught vision of our tropics

The federal government's recent White Paper on developing northern Australia has disturbing echoes of the 1890s, a time when unbridled capitalism and indentured labour developed the North.
Mandatory reporting of family violence on a woman’s behalf threatens dignity and takes away her power. Andreas Levers/Flickr

Family violence victims need support, not mandatory reporting

Legal requirements for doctors to report family violence to police may sound good at first glance. But evidence shows it's better doctors are trained to support women to make their own decisions.
Smoking has long been embedded in prison culture. www.shutterstock.com

Why banning smoking in prisons is a good idea

It's fair to say Victoria's ban on smoking in prisons has had some teething issues, but there's strong evidence to suggest the move is doing the right thing by inmates, staff and the health system.
Feeling content means having a deep-seated, abiding acceptance of oneself and one’s worth, together with a sense of self-fulfilment, meaning and purpose. James Theophane/Flickr

Happiness is an illusion, here’s why you should seek contentment instead

Happiness might seem like a worthy goal but it will invariably be disrupted by unwelcome negative feelings. Far better to seek contentment, which can serve as a foundation for both joy and pleasure.
Our current focus on the drug ice takes the spotlight away from the harms of excessive alcohol use, which is actually a bigger problem in Australia. Photographer/Flickr

Focus on illicit drugs puts Australia’s drinking problem on ice

Alcohol-related violence is a much bigger problem in Australia than the harms of illicit drugs but we tend to overlook the former because the latter gets more headlines.
Nursing homes are not set up or resourced to facilitate the independence of younger residents. The Summer Foundation

Nursing homes are no place for young people with disabilities

More than 7,000 young Australians with disabilities are forced to live in nursing homes because they're unable to find suitable accommodation that meets their needs. But this may be about to change.
The most powerful strategy for achieving happiness is to give up trying to be happy. Mila Supinskaya/Shutterstock

Can we love happiness? Or do we then risk more sadness?

To pose the question of whether we can love happiness feels a bit like asking whether the Pope is a Catholic. Most of us believe we not only can love happiness, but that we should!
The Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit Court suggested Australia had an obligation to track down and look after the welfare of such children. AAP Image/April Fonti

FactCheck: is Australia legally obliged to look after children abandoned after commercial surrogacy?

Fresh details have emerged of a 2012 case of an Australian couple who were delivered twins via a commercial surrogacy arrangement in India, but brought only one twin home. Does Australia have obligations to ensure the other twin's welfare?
The dimpling of cellulite is caused by alterations to the layer of fat beneath the skin. wckiw/Shutterstock

Health Check: what is cellulite?

Most women (85%) and a small number of men have cellulite, usually on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms. It's a normal pattern of fat for people of all shapes and sizes.
Australia’s Federal Court last year rejected Ms D'Arcy’s appeal and ruled companies could patent genes they isolated. Dan Peled/Shutterstock

Remind me again, how can companies patent breast cancer genes?

The High Court challenge is the last resort for Ms D'Arcy's test case against companies patenting human genes and has implications for patients, clinicians and researchers.