Friday essay: a rare bird — how Europeans got the black swan so wrong

Originally published on theconversation.com Bernard Spragg/flickr The black swan is an Australian icon. The official emblem of Western Australia, depicted in the state flag and coat-of-arms, it decorates several public buildings. The bird is also the namesake for Perth’s Swan River, where the British established the Swan River Colony in 1829. The swan’s likeness has […]

Grattan on Friday: Scott Morrison’s quest to be a Biden ‘bestie’

Originally published on theconversation.com Scott Morrison, who was embraced as a bro’ by Donald Trump, now seeks to become one of Joe Biden’s besties. Making this transition neatly is probably the most important aspect of Morrison’s trip to the G7 summit, at which Australia is one of several guest countries. A feature of the weekend […]

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Rex Patrick on Freedom of Information and Australia’s submarines

Originally published on theconversation.com Senator Rex Patrick is currently challenging the secrecy around Scott Morrison’s national cabinet. He’s brought legal action – the outcome is pending – to attempt to have the minutes of this body, which includes federal, state and territory leaders, made public. The government claims the documents are protected by an exemption […]

Morrison’s dilemma: Australia needs a dual strategy for its trade relationship with China

Originally published on theconversation.com En route to this year’s G7+ Summit in the UK, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday delivered a speech in Perth on “A world order that favours freedom”. He spoke of “Australia’s preparedness to withstand economic coercion in recent times”. As “the most practical way to address economic coercion”, he called […]

Free schools guide about inclusiveness and climate science is not ideological — it’s based on evidence

Originally published on theconversation.com Shutterstock A recently released policy guide book for teachers and schools has been receiving some criticism. For instance, an article in the Daily Telegraph claimed: Teachers are being told not to use phrases like “girls and boys”, “normal” and “other” in class – but they should make students aware of “superdiversity” […]

Melbourne lockdown: why can’t gyms open yet but hospitality venues can?

Originally published on theconversation.com Shutterstock Melbourne is once again emerging from lockdown but fitness fans may be wondering: how come gyms remain closed for another week, while hospitality venues are allowed to open? It’s true in most lockdowns around the world, gyms have often been one of the last places to re-open. From an infection […]

How much longer do we need to wait for Australia to implement a sugary drinks tax?

Originally published on theconversation.com Shutterstock The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has once again called for a tax on sugary drinks in Australia. This time, the proposed tax is a key part of the AMA’s blueprint to make Australia the healthiest country in the world. The strong call for a sugary drinks tax echoes the concerted […]

If you don’t have a COVID vaccination certificate, could you be banned from restaurants, shops and theatres?

Originally published on theconversation.com Vaccine passports are an increasingly likely proposition in Australia. Last week, national cabinet “welcomed” a new COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate, which will be made available through the Medicare app or myGov. This week, government services minister Linda Reynolds confirmed Australians who have had two doses would be able to access a […]

View from The Hill: the Morrison government has escape hatch in Tamil family case – if it wants to use it

Originally published on theconversation.com Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Tuesday the government was considering two overseas resettlement options for the Biloela Tamil family, whose daughter Tharunicaa is in a Perth hospital after being medevaced from Christmas Island. These were sending the family to New Zealand or to the United States. It’s now said Payne […]

Why it took 20 years to ‘finish’ the human genome — and why there’s still more to do

Originally published on theconversation.com Webridge/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY The release of the draft human genome sequence in 2001 was a seismic moment in our understanding of the human genome, and paved the way for advances in our understanding of the genomic basis of human biology and disease. But sections were left unsequenced, and some sequence […]