• Politics and Policy

    Strengthening Australian democracy


    Carolyn Holbrook |  July 22, 2024


    The growing threats and challenges to Australia’s democracy are well outlined in a new government report, and now is the time for some action


  • Business

    Silver surfers


    Open Forum |  July 22, 2024


    A new study calls for Australia to take advantage of the untapped market of silver tourism, paving the way to not only grow the economy but also offer an ever-increasing ageing population the opportunity to maintain quality of life.


  • America

    Biden leaves the stage


    Philip Klinkner |  July 22, 2024


    Given mounting concern about his prospects of re-election, Joe Biden has withdrawn his candidacy and urged Democrats to back Vice-President Kamala Harris instead.


Latest Story

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    What we need today

    Martin Duursma     |      July 9, 2008

    Martin DuursmaThere’s definitely something to be said for finally having a minister dedicated to the areas or research development and innovation in the Federal Government. And certainly when I met with Senator Kim Carr together with a group of IT industry representatives a few months ago, he’s making the right noises regarding the sorts of approaches which would lead to a more innovative economy.

    What we need to see now is some action. Specifically we need the government to adopt legislation which encourages what might be termed a "virtuous circle of innovation" within the Australian economy.

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    Videoconferencing is Green

    editor     |      July 9, 2008

    Philip SiefertBy Philip Siefert

    A large organisation can replace upwards of 20,000 round-trip, short-haul flights annually with video meetings, saving 2,200 tons of CO2 from being released into the environment.

    For companies to "go green," they need solutions that positively impact the environment without raising costs or sacrificing productivity.

    However, to make an impact, we all need to take personal action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The longer we wait the more difficult it is going to be.  The point is to get started doing something now.  So I say, accept that this rebellion is real and realise that the time for taking action on global warming is not tomorrow, not even today, but this very minute.

    The key to engaging enterprises in this endeavour is to identify CO2 reduction programs that do not raise costs or sacrifice productivity.  It is possible to be environmentally responsible and stay competitive, without breaking the bank.  Companies must be presented though with workable steps that they can take today to reduce their carbon footprint.

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    Are economic increase and environmental sustainability incompatible?

    andrewgaines     |      July 8, 2008

    Andrew GainesOur answer to this question will shape many other considerations.

    Australia has strong ties with the global economy.  At the moment neither Australia nor the global economy are ecologically sustainable.  Global warming is a key indicator; there are others.

    To a significant extent economic increase drives environmental deterioration – at least in the affluent parts of the world.  This is because economic increase is based on increasing the production and consumption of material goods, which currently involves increasing CO2 emissions and industrial toxins.

    Thus it would appear that in our present industrial civilisation economic increase and environmental sustainability are incompatible.  This might be called The Great Contradiction.

    Below I will show some graphs from Prof Will Steffen (ANU) showing the correlation between economic increase, population growth and increase in global economic activity…

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    A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century

    microsoft     |      July 7, 2008

    Bill GatesBy Bill Gates

    We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well.

    Thirty years, twenty years, ten years ago, my focus was totally on how the magic of software could change the world. I believed that breakthroughs in technology could solve key problems. And they do, increasingly, for billions of people. But breakthroughs change lives primarily where people can afford to buy them, only where there is economic demand, and economic demand is not the same as economic need.

    There are billions of people who need the great inventions of the computer age, and many more basic needs as well, but they have no way of expressing their needs in ways that matter to the market, so they go without.

    If we are going to have a chance of changing their lives, we will need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation, we need system innovation.

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    Tiny feet treading lightly

    Sinead Roberts     |      July 3, 2008

    Sinead RobertsEach baby leaves their own ecological footprint before they’ve even learnt how to walk.

    Approximately 260,000 babies are born in Australia each year and most of these use some form of nappy for the first 2-4 years of their lives. All nappies have an environmental impact so each baby leaves their own ecological footprint before they’ve even learnt how to walk. The good news is that parents no longer have to choose between just terry cloth nappies and synthetic disposables.  There are so many options available today that it’s now much easier for parents to make a greener choice.   

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    What do you really know?

    Angeline Penrith     |      July 3, 2008

    Angeline Penrith

    A bit more knowledge of Aboriginal history would go a long way in taking down the assumptions and stereotypes against which Aboriginal kids struggle every day.  

    I don't play sport, I just don't enjoy it. I don't know the rules to footy, and wouldn't know what to do with a cricket bat, and don't want to spend hours running in circles around a field. But that's not what people assume when they meet me.

    I come from a really successful family. We've had sporting stars, school captains, school duxes, readers, thinkers, leaders in all kinds of fields. But that's not what people assume when they pass me on the street.

    I come from a proud people, an ancient nation, and a strong community that's survived genocide, and forced removal, and grand theft, but that's not what people think about when they shake my hand.

    That's not what they think about, because they are ignorant. 

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    By the People for the People

    Bronwyn Penrith     |      July 3, 2008

    Bronwyn PenrithIf the current government really wants to make a difference, it should be going into the community and building on existing success.

    It’s hard to explain in words how the policies of removal and dispersion are still being felt amongst by Aboriginal people. It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t part of the stolen generation the intergenerational effects it’s had and is still having amongst Aboriginal people today.

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    Indigenous renaissance

    Kevin Fong     |      July 2, 2008

    Kevin Fong

    We need Government to understand that Aboriginal stories aren’t all of crisis and despair, but also of growth and renewal.  

    In February this year the Western Australian Coroner Mr Alistair Hope, handed down his findings into tragedy caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol in the Kimberly region, and again the focus of mainstream media and many of our politicians was narrowed.

    The problem being, when their vision narrows they lose sight of all the other stories that are going on, stories of hope and rebirth and opportunity.

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    Requiem for my Mazda

    Douglascomms     |      July 2, 2008

    The car is dead, long live the car!

    I gave up my car about a week ago. It’s still there, and still runs but I parked it in the garage and closed the door. It will still come out on the weekends, to run up to the shops for a big fortnightly cupboard filler, and the odd family outing, but when it comes to the nine to five Monday to Friday run, it’s been permanently decommissioned.  

    And my decision is entirely based on economics. The price of petrol, and the shear volume of traffic snaking its way down Parramatta Road in the mornings have both become overwhelming. And after years working from home, there’s nothing I hate more than wasting time in traffic.  This week’s petrol budget was spent on pannier bags, and tune up for my once mighty push bike, which is now regaining it’s former glory as my principal mode of transport during the week.  

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    Closing the Gap Between Rudd’s rhetoric on Indigenous Australians and budget commitments

    Rachel Siewert     |      July 1, 2008

    Rachel Siewert

    Simply throwing money at an issue doesn't get you anywhere if you don't have a plan. 

    The level of spending committed to Indigenous disadvantage in the budget barely sets the Government on the right road to delivering on the Government's election promise to actually ‘close the gap'. Despite the rhetoric from the Government on closing the gap and their signing on to the pledge to deliver equality of access to services within a decade, the commitment of resources in the 2008 budget does not boost funding nearly enough to achieve this target.

    The Government commitment amounts to additional expenditure of around $250 million per year across the entire Indigenous budget (that is, $1.2 Billion in new money over 5 years). But the biggest chunk of that ($666 Million) will be eaten up feeding the NT intervention juggernaut. This is a small percentage of the $450 million needed each year to simply catch up on Indigenous health alone, and a far cry from what is really needed to fix the problem.

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    Online Question Time for Patrick Secker MP, Federal Member for Barker

    editor     |      June 29, 2008

    Here's where e-Democracy hits the ground running! As part of our exciting new Online Question Time initiative, we're inviting kids from all over Australia to put their elected representatives on the spot, and ask them about the issues that matter to the young people of  Australia.

    Patrick SeckerOur next guest is Patrick Secker MP, Member for Barker (South Australia), Liberal Party of Australia.

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    Creating Spatial Opportunities

    Gary Nairn     |      June 24, 2008

    Spatial information and the industry associated with it is something I have been passionate about for a long time. And even today that makes me a little unusual. When I was first elected to Parliament, very few of my colleagues had any real understanding of what spatial information was, let alone any notion that it had the potential to grow into the $12.6 billion dollar industry it is today.

    To the majority of parliamentarians and senior government officials a map was something you either had in your atlas at home or in the glove box of the car.

    And that is where the spatial information industry was stuck for a while, at least amongst the decision makers in parliament.