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Collision course

THERE are three great recurring themes in Australian defence policy. One is the fear of a threat from Asia. Another is a fear of change. The third is expressed in the belief that “it’s better to fight them up there than down here.” All three...

Not so super

Increasing the Superannuation Guarantee will help the rich, at the expense of the poor.

How to reverse Australia's remand explosion

Burgeoning numbers of untried prisoners are fuelling an unsustainable rise in Australia’s prison population. Only a shift in resources will bring the figure down, writes Rick Sarre.

Has Gonski stepped outside the square?

The second Gonski report has been presented to the federal government, and will soon to be made public. Will it back innovative ideas to improve schools — and if it does, will it get the support it needs?

Good ways to break bad news

“DORA AND ANDREW ARKALIS will never forget receiving the news,” began a recent article on childhood cancer in the Age. The couple had taken their four-year-old son, Michael, to the Royal Children’s Hospital to have recurring headaches diagnosed, and a registrar brought them a scan...

Zuckerberg's gift

Facebook’s chief executive made a surprise admission to Congress earlier this month. Yet we’re in danger of letting him off the hook.

An end to the industrial model of schooling?

The latest Gonski report points a way to the future of school reform, but has not broken with its disastrous past, writes Dean Ashenden.

Grand plans

TWO NEW REPORTS show that although the Rudd government is tackling some of the most difficult areas of social policy, we may need to borrow fresh thinking from our New Zealand neighbours.

Fremantle on their minds

SOME COMMENTATORS see the Greens victory in last Saturday’s Fremantle state by-election as an ominous sign for a Labor Party juggling the conflicting demands of its inner urban and outer suburban support bases. This may be so, but several caveats need to be borne in...

Evolution and creativity

Denis Dutton argues that humans evolved an aesthetic urge from the dawn of the species. The inevitable fierce debate has erupted again both within the evolutionary science community and across the science–religion fault lines. Via Skype from his home in Christchurch, New Zealand, Professor Dutton...