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A history of dispossession and transgenerational trauma underlie the day-to-day struggles of Indigenous people. from shutterstock.com

It’s despair, not depression, that’s responsible for Indigenous suicide

A diagnosis of mental illness is only one in a number of risk factors for suicide. And for Indigenous Australians, a history of dispossession and disempowerment plays a much bigger role.
The funding proposal is no fix for Australia’s health system but it could take some political pressure off the Coalition in the lead up to the 2019 federal election. OnE studio/Shutterstock

Morrison’s health handout is bad policy (but might be good politics)

The A$1.25 billion health funding boost isn't based on any coherent policy direction. It's designed to shore up support in marginal electorates.
Some things are just tricky to measure. Flickr/Patty O'Hearn Kickham

It’s not so easy to gain the true measure of things

How useful is the information you get from the measure of any thing? That depends on what you chose measure in the first place, and that's not always clear.
Australia’s sprawling cities present many challenges to sustainability, but planning innovations can help achieve at least half of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nils Versemann/Shutterstock

Our cities fall short on sustainability, but planning innovations offer local solutions

Planning innovations around the world offer inspiration, but ultimately the innovations needed to make Australia's sprawling cities more sustainable must be shaped by local conditions.
Children at Norseman Mission. The author’s mum, Violet Newman is in the middle row on the far left. Image from the collection of Elsie Lambadgee (dec.)

Friday essay: back to Moore River and finding family

Aileen Marwung Walsh's grandparents were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement, of Rabbit Proof Fence infamy, half a century ago. In 2018, 100 years after the settlement's founding, she returned.
The area of greater uncertainty under Labor is a very different one – that is, how much of the unions’ agenda a Shorten government would be willing to embrace. Daniel Pockett/AAP

Grattan on Friday: Unions likely to be more challenging for a Shorten government than boats

In the lead up to next week's ALP national conference, which Shorten needs to run smoothly, the government has been trying to exploit what it sees as a Labor weak point – border protection.
Around 8% of the population experience swallowing difficulties. from shutterstock.com

Many people have a hard time swallowing. Help them to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ this Christmas

We don't often give our eating habits much thought but the 8% of the population with swallowing disability need to plan carefully to ensure their food is the right texture and eaten at the right pace.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen captured on November 15 this year using the remote iTelescope (Siding Springs Observatory, Australia). Flickr/Victor R Ruiz

We have a Christmas comet: how to spot 2018’s interplanetary bauble

The comet 46P/Wirtanen is just 1.2km in size but it should be visible in the night sky this Saturday as it makes a close approach to Earth this year. And don't forget the Geminids meteor shower.
Scott Morrison has promised to protect people against discrimination because of their religious faith, and says he wants to do it before the election. Shutterstock

Morrison wants Religious Discrimination Act passed before election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to create a new post of Freedom of Religion Commissioner, because he says many people of religion "feel the wheels closing in".
Economists have searched for the mythical balance between the cost of climate action, and the future cost of doing nothing. Joop Hoek/Shutterstock.com

We can’t know the future cost of climate change. Let’s focus on the cost of avoiding it instead

For decades, economists have pondered the 'social cost of carbon' - the price worth paying to avoid the future costs of greenhouse emissions. But a new analysis suggests this quest is impossibly complex.