The government’s planned ‘anti-troll’ laws won’t help most victims of online trolling

Originally published on Shutterstock Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Michaelia Cash announced proposed new legislation aimed at making online “trolls” accountable for their actions. Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard Morrison decry trolls as “cowardly” and “un-Australian”, language that made it into the talking points at yesterday’s media conference. But is […]

Australia’s new agricultural work visa could supercharge the forces of exploitation

Originally published on Shutterstock The Australian government’s new temporary visa for agricultural workers is meant to fix labour shortages in the agricultural sector. But it’s a risky approach that could lead to more exploitation of low-skilled farm workers and fewer permanent skilled workers. The agriculture sector is heavily reliant on temporary visa holders for […]

Yes, it’s rocket science: Australia needs eyes in space to monitor our tinderbox landscape

Originally published on Shutterstock As climate change worsens, bushfires are likely to become more intense and frequent. We must find new ways of managing bushfires to prevent catastrophic events altogether. Satellite data can help in this task. It helps us identify where and when vegetation such as grass and leaves forms a continuous swath […]

Is the news media bargaining code fit for purpose?

Originally published on Shutterstock The News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code was enacted early this year in response to a call by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for strong action by the government to reduce the power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms. It was a fraught […]

The Iran nuclear talks are resuming, but is there any trust left to strike a deal?

Originally published on ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH/EPA With nuclear talks between Iran, the US, and the other members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resuming on November 29, one question looms large. Is engagement with Iran likely to bear diplomatic fruit, or be squandered? Negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration (alongside Germany, France, […]

The compelling case for a future fund for social housing

Originally published on Shutterstock As more and more Australians are forced into private renting, including Australians who once would have owned homes or lived in social housing, more are living in poverty, suffering financial stress and becoming homeless. Social housing – where rents are typically capped at 25% of tenants’ incomes – used to […]

Travel bans aren’t the answer to stopping new COVID variant Omicron

Originally published on Shutterstock There is global concern and widespread alarm at the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Omicron. The WHO has classified Omicron as a “variant of concern” because it has a wide range of mutations. This suggests vaccines and treatments could be less effective. […]

Australia’s Black Summer of fire was not normal – and we can prove it

Originally published on The Black Summer forest fires of 2019–2020 burned more than 24 million hectares, directly causing 33 deaths and almost 450 more from smoke inhalation. But were these fires unprecedented? You might remember sceptics questioning the idea that the Black Summer fires really were worse than conflagrations like the 1939 Black Friday […]

Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA’s latest DART mission

Originally published on Shutterstock A NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart has been directed to smash into an asteroid, with the intention of knocking it slightly off course. The test aims to demonstrate our technological readiness in case an actual asteroid threat is detected in the future. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test […]

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on a crazy week in Canberra

Originally published on University of Canberra Professional Fellow Michelle Grattan and University of Canberra Associate Professor Caroline Fisher discuss the week in politics. This week they review the dramatic start to the final parliamentary fortnight of the year. Scott Morrison has faced revolts within his own ranks from the right and the left. Senators […]