• Education

    A healthy start

    Open Forum |  June 21, 2021

    Melbourne researchers have created the first global standards to embed health and wellbeing into the education system at the request of WHO and UNESCO. The standards and benchmarking framework support the creation of ‘health promoting schools,’ which foster health and learning in all aspects of school life.

  • Space

    Adelaide’s mission to Mars

    Crispin Savage |  June 21, 2021

    Research that could help materials be found in space more easily, enable satellites to swarm together and extend the reach of telecommunications is being kick-started by new funding.

  • Environment

    Why it’s ok to feed the birds

    Darryl Jones |  June 20, 2021

    Feeding the birds is encouraged in Britain and across the northern hemisphere, yet Australian authorities frown on the practice for no good reason. Feeding birds in the right ways can help strengthen our connections with the natural world in our ever more urbanised cities.

Latest Story

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    Death has no appeal*

    tamaraplakalo     |      October 12, 2007

    Capital punishment is a difficult question that presents us with a great ethical dilemma – is the victim's right to justice greater than the perpetrator's right to life? And can the question be asked in such a way at all? 

    Anyone who has ever read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment has undoubtedly developed a greater understanding of at least one (in this instance fictional) perpetrator of the greatest crime – murder.

    Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov, arguably Dostoyevsky’s most famous character, is a desolate student living in St Petersburg. His nihilistic distaste for humanity and a belief that he belongs to a different kind (he thinks of himself as an extraordinary man who can transgress moral laws), leads him to — in his eyes justifiably — murder a hated pawn-broker.

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    The price of technology – manners anyone?

    alison gordon     |      October 4, 2007

     Aside from convenience and accessibility, new technologies have brought us the lack of us private space and a need for technology etiquette …

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    When transition pirates become ‘great achievers’

    tamaraplakalo     |      October 1, 2007

    Should the transition nouveau riche , who acquired their wealth almost overnight in the murky waters of marketisation, be unconditionally admitted to the ranks of great achievers?  

    Only five people on Forbes's list of the world's richest individuals beat Oleg Deripaska, the 39 year old Russian oligarch, who recently raided his US$30 billion kitty to acquire a 5 per cent stake in General Motors. That despite the fact that he can't enter the United States due to the suspicious origin of his wealth.

    For the record and just in case you wondered, Roman Abramovich, best known to Western audiences as the owner of the English Premier League football club Chelsea, is no longer the richest Eastern European. His ‘paltry' US$22 billion, the lack of love from the Putin regime, and a US$300 million divorce, have cost him the not-so-coveted position at the top of the Wprost list of the 100 richest Eastern Europeans (50 of whom are billionaires). Most of them have been accused of getting rich by privatising the national resources of their respective countries of origin. All of them are on the Forbes global billionaires list.

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    Furnishing innovation

    proberts     |      September 25, 2007

    Australian furniture design, more Moonee Ponds than Milan, could benefit from a little innovation …

    Like most men I rarely find much to look at in shopping brochures. But glancing through a Harvey Norman catalogue on the weekend brought me face to face with something new. Australian furniture designers appear to be discovering the power of design.

    Gerry Harvey does us all a great service by choosing to showcase Australian made furniture in his stores – he knows bulky fashion items like sofas can be made competitively here and there are no months-long supply chains to worry about.

    But until recently while competently designed, the Aussie product was more derivative than innovative or inspiring. This is a product of history – furniture makers in the past would visit Italy for furniture shows and then intepret what they saw.

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    Implementing a Rational E-Health System in Australia

    alison gordon     |      September 25, 2007

    On September 19 2007 a strategic workshop discussing the challenge of implementing a rational e-health system in Australia was held in Parliament House, Canberra. Convened by Global Access Partners, it featured a paper commissioned by the Australian Centre for Health Research and written by Professor Michael Georgeff, Director of E-health Research, Monash University.

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    Globally (dis)connected

    tamaraplakalo     |      September 24, 2007

     Digital divide is only one problem we’re facing in realising the promises of a unified, Internet-enabled virtual future …

    SARAJEVO – I had an interesting conversation with my boss the other day. As I am currently stationed in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a place where democratisation and transition experiments are mixing with the post-war recovery, he wanted to know if there are any interesting Internet-related projects happening here. He assumed that here, like everywhere else on the planet, social and economic activities are gravitating towards the virtual space.

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    Facilitating consultative democracy

    tamaraplakalo     |      September 11, 2007

     Political needs of a system (or a time), often determine what democratic political participation actually means.

    Democratisation is a term that is most often used to describe the process of increased political participation. In the past, political participation was described as voting, joining a political party, or in the case of some experimental social engineering projects of the 20th century, such as Yugoslavia's socialist self-management, as creating consultative bodies at all levels of social, economic and political activity, regardless of their success. In its less democratic forms, political participation has historically been facilitiated through rallies, rioting, lobbying, formation of nationalist movements, paramilitary or other pressure groups, in other words, by any means serving the human need to exercise political will.

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    Valuing Spatial Data

    Nick Sharp     |      September 11, 2007

    There's lots of information and policy advice on spatial data pricing but not much about establishing the value of spatial data be it physical $ costs such as collection, storage etc or intrinsic as in the more it is used the more value it has. We know there is large $ investment in spatial data […]

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    And the Heart of Sarajevo goes to … film

    tamaraplakalo     |      September 2, 2007

    The rising star on the European film festival circuit, Sarajevo Film Festival remains more of an experience than a film marathon. 

     There is something to be said for the festivals of art and culture in the “countries in transition”, as they are fashionably referred to in global political circles. Last week, Steve Buscemi, in attendance at the Sarajevo Film Festival, which successfully wrapped up for the 13th time a few days ago in the Bosnian capital; semi-jokingly observed that his latest feature, Interview, was seen by more people in its one Open Air cinema projection in Sarajevo, than during its entire US cinema release season.

    Jeremy Irons


    The first Sarajevo Film Festival was held in the basement of the Bosnian Academy of Performing Arts during the worst year of Sarajevo’s 1990s siege, in 1994. Fitting the surreal concept of a film festival in a war zone, it opened with Quentin Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction.


    At the time, a foreign journalist asked a respected local theatre director: “Why a festival during the war?”. The director responded, “Why a war during the festival?”. For those of you wrapped in the reality of mortgage repayments, APEC city shut-downs, Joey’s ecstasy taking, terrorism and economic performance, it may seem like a strange conversation. But the poignancy of it really hits home for anyone who has ever posed an existential question or two.

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    Open spaces or open slather?

    MalevolentMiss     |      August 19, 2007

    Sydney open spaces need better management, so what are the councils doing? 

    The brouhaha over the lack of open space in Sydney continues across a number of local government areas (LGAs). The city has lost considerable amounts of open space over the past 25 years. More and more people are being crammed into less space as councils cave in to the developers. Sporting groups call for more facilities while those who prefer to engage in passive recreation lament that they are being deprived of access and dog owners think of themselves as marginalised.

    What is being done on an across-Sydney basis to solve the issue of our shrinking open space? How should the matter of who gets to use Sydney's open spaces and for what purpose be resolved? Do we need a comprehensive plan (and agency) to manage resources across council boundaries or are our lives over-regulated as it is?

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    editor     |      August 10, 2007

    One of the most vibrant film festivals in Europe in the last decade, the Sarajevo Film Festival, focuses on the region of Southeast Europe. The festival aims to present important and inovative films of high artistic value made throughout the world. In 2006 the festival screened more than 120 features and some 50 short films. This year, Open Forum brings you an exclusive insight into the world of Southern European cinema.

    Go to report

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    The interesting thing about interest rates….

    alison gordon     |      August 9, 2007

    People are not happier because their debt suffocates them. Living outside their means has decreased their quality of life, not improved it.