• Infrastructure

    Lost in transit


    Nerissa Hannink |  August 26, 2019


    Australian cities have seen a considerable increase in the work commute since 2002, but the 2019 HILDA survey suggests we have finally reached peak travel times.


  • Culture

    Joining the dots


    Open Forum |  August 26, 2019


    The ‘key player’ concept devised by Professor Yves Zenou offers a window into how social networks influence behaviour.


  • Security

    The hard edge of soft power


    Dom Dwyer |  August 26, 2019


    The original Colombo Plan gave students from Asia and the Pacific a chance to study in Australia, and now a New Colombo Plan is sending Australians abroad to learn from our regional neighbours.


Latest Story

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    Phil Burgess and what’s wrong with our political culture

    editor     |      May 14, 2008

    Nicholas GruenBy Nicholas Gruen

    It's not just bad politics to turn up somewhere in a powerful position and tell the locals that they don't quite measure up to standards back home.

    I haven't paid much attention to Telstra's participation in the public policy debate. It usually manages to get itself seen in a fairly poor light at least if one is not paying much attention as I haven't been. Even so, I've just read this speech by Phil Burgess, and I'm impressed. I'm impressed with it because its argument is interesting, and quite persuasive – except for one thing. He outlines some differences between Australian and American political culture. He does so in a very informed and perceptive way (at least for someone who's only been here a while – and I presume he had some decent research assistance, and indeed wonder whether, as such leaders often do he's passing off research assistance as his own wide reading. But I may be being ungenerous.)

    In any event, Phil thinks that Australian debate is not vigorous enough. That people defer too much to what the government and senior government figures think…

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    Paranoid about customer satisfaction? So you should be

    editor     |      May 13, 2008

    By Neil Stollznow

    Responding to customer complaints and attempting to win them back generates a surprising level of customer loyality and enables you to create a significant point of difference in an otherwise indifferent market place.

    Here's a scary thought: some of your customers don't like you, and no I don't just mean they are a little bit annoyed.

    Why do they stay with you?  Some are so jaded that they don't believe they'll get anything better from anyone else, others find the transfer costs (i.e. their time) too onerous and the rest are locked into a contract – a little like consumer gaol.

    Now, none of this is a problem so long as you're not working under the misconception that they're with you because they like your product or service, and that they're going to stay after their "contract" expires.

    Here's an even scarier thought: some of your ex-customers don't like you, left without telling you, and are actively undoing all the good work your marketing department have been doing for so long.

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    IBM Global CEO Study: CEOs Battle to Keep Up With the Pace of Change

    matt english     |      May 11, 2008

    The globally integrated economy requires fresh thinking and innovative approaches to managing change.

    In today's globally integrated economy, CEOs are bombarded by change — can they handle it? According to IBM's 2008 Global CEO Study of 1,130 CEOs, which was conducted face-to-face in 40 countries, CEOs are battling to keep up with the pace of change.

    CEOs reported a surprising level of optimism about change as an opportunity to build new competitive advantage. In fact, 83 percent of surveyed CEOs expect substantial change in the future, an increase of 28 percent in just two years.

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    Aid for Natural Disasters

    OZ4ME     |      May 11, 2008

    When this country provides aid for Natural Disasters, whether it be Australia or any other Countries, instead of giving lots of money, how about considering a serious portion of that aid (say 50%) is in the form of kind – food, clothing, building materials etc – all purchased from Australian suppliers, then use our Defence […]

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    Dealing with the big shift

    editor     |      May 9, 2008

    Rebekka TuquriBy Rebekka Tuqiri

    It's easy to forget those first few weeks of parenthood.

    It's easy to forget the total sense of powerlessness and loss of control the arrival of a tiny, helpless, demanding little creature precipitates in the formerly ordered, neat, punctual lives of new parents.

    And it's funny, because part of the reason this first few weeks is so challenging is that it's soon forgotten, and rarely experienced by those who aren't actually physically going through it.

    Until we have our own tiny infants thrust upon us it's rare for most women, and almost unheard of for most men to have even held a new-born.  Yet, suddenly, sleep-deprived, dripping with breast milk, dishevelled and confused, we're expected to understand the needs of a screaming infant.

    And then we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror, and the total disconnect between the societal images of the successful, attractive, well groomed parents, and the reality of the bloodshot eyes and birds nest hair is just too overwhelming.

    A big part of the problem is the expectations we set up for ourselves. If we lived in communities where we had more of an opportunity to come into contact with little ones and the parents of little ones it might be a bit different.

    Not that I'm suggesting you go to live in a hut with your pregnant relatives and extended family. There are better and far more practical ways to solve the challenge.

    It's more about balance. It's about being forewarned so that people can understand what to expect and not to expect in the first six weeks, from themselves, and the baby, and their relationship, and just about everyone else.

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    Realising the Adaptable Workforce

    editor     |      May 8, 2008

    Justyn SturrockBy Justyn Sturrock

    The latest report from IBM highlights how ‘cracking the code for Talent' can help companies take their workforce performance to the next level.

    Today, more than ever, organisations worldwide are focusing their time and attention on maximising the value of their workforces.

    As organisations become more globally integrated, and as traditional geographic and competitive boundaries disappear, the need to identify, develop and connect talent has never been more critical.

    Every two years IBM conducts a global CEO Study where we go out and talk to over 1,000 CEOs, and each time we do this, the people agenda is always top of mind.

    In 2004, when we asked CEOs what their greatest concern was for their organisation, three primary themes emerged: growth, responsiveness and agility.

    And CEOs were almost unanimous in their belief that the greatest hurdle to addressing these themes was the capability within their organisations.

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    Online Question Time for the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, Member for Aston

    editor     |      May 6, 2008

    The first elected representative to take Question Time online is the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, who was elected to represent the Melbourne seat of Aston in the 2001 Federal election. 

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    The source of Australian innovation

    proberts     |      May 5, 2008

    Innovation comes from entrepreneurs – and rarely from science.

    There is a pervasive Australian myth that goes something like this: innovations come from brilliant scientists who pass on their discoveries to grateful businessmen and women and, eventually, the consumer. This linear progression does occur, but is a rarity compared to the real source of Australian innovation – the entrepreneur.

    The world's stock of science and technology is increasing at a rapid rate and, in fact, there is already enough of it around to fuel a number of industrial revolutions. What is in short supply are the people who can assemble technologies and ideas into a coherent business plan, raise the finance and assemble the team that can turn all these inputs into something consumers value – in short, into an innovative product or service.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottTony Abbott reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.

    At the recent 2020 summit, delegates' frustration with the dog's breakfast of divided responsibilities in health was sidetracked into proposals for a national preventive health agency funded by a tax on junk food and a new health equality commission. Keeping people healthy and giving everyone the best possible health outcomes are worthy goals, but are unlikely to be achieved by creating new bureaucracies. Avoiding discussion of today's actual problems by focusing, instead, on vague aspirations for the distant future seems to be the new government's style. Let's find something that sounds visionary, but that doesn't threaten current power structures or imply blame for current problems. That way, we can all be seen to work together.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottThe Hon. Tony Abbott MP reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.

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    A Continuing and Permanent Ideas Database – A Must!

    Robert_Pitts     |      May 3, 2008

    Australia needs a permanent, highly visible and accessible repository for ideas.

    In 1988 I wrote to the then Minister for Science, Barry Jones and advocated the concept of a centralised ideas database. I envisaged a system where members of the public could submit ideas for inventions, models for governance, infrastructure improvements, etc. via phone, fax, mail or even the newfangled "email".  

    My envisaged model was a system administered by universities who were probably the only bodies at that time with enough computing power to handle the influx of data. Since then, of course, there have been massive advances in internet technologies making such a system not only feasible but, I believe, imperative. It is sad to contemplate that there have doubtless been many creative ideas formulated by ordinary people which have withered and died for want of an avenue for expression.

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    The true nature of the Environment

    quagga     |      April 29, 2008

    How can I be as one with nature?  This blog’s questions/answers will reveal.

    How can I be as one with nature?  This blog’s questions/answers will reveal. 

    Q: What is the environment?

    A: The environment is everything (absolutely everything) that exists! ie: The Universe.