News & Politics
AQ: Australian Quarterly

AQ: Australian Quarterly 91.1 Jan-Mar 2020

For over 90 years AQ: Australian Quarterly has been packing its pages with the debates that have shaped Australia and the world, tackling the big topics in science, politics and society. Grounded in evidence, yet written in a style accessible to everyone, AQ is unique in Australia’s publishing landscape, pushing back against the trends of subjective truth and media spin. If it matters to Australia then it matters to AQ.

Australian Institute of Policy and Science
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
a word

We humans are adaptable creatures, perhaps too adaptable for our own good. We immediately acclimatise to any new situation or challenge. Though we tend to fight the erosion of our basic rights, once they are gone we concede that it’s probably for good – we suffer fire and flood, rebuild and then are surprised when it comes again a decade later – we live so fast that we only passingly notice the climate changing, and then we forget with the passing of the season. Only now, on the point of crisis, are we maintaining the rage. Much of this edition echoes a poignant question: How did we get here, and what other paths might once have been open to us? In the years after WWII, Australia instituted an enviable social welfare system, build…

16 min.
mean(s) testing

Australia is a rich nation – the richest in the world, if we assess it on median income (50th percentile). Yet we have one of the meanest sets of welfare payments of the OECD countries, ranking 22nd out of 29 countries. In this, means testing has become the core model for almost all payments, justified by reducing eligibility to only the truly needy, and thereby reducing costs. A tax review document described the welfare system thus: 'Means testing is a key characteristic of Australia’s unique transfer system, which is more highly targeted than other OECD countries… Within the current two-part means test — the income test and the assets test — some assets are assessed under both tests, while other assets are assessed only under the assets test'.2 These data and descriptions sit…

1 min.
the tall poppy campaign

In 2019, the Australian Institute of Policy and Science celebrated 20 years of promoting young Australian researchers through the Young Tall Poppy Awards (aips.net.au/tall-poppy-campaign). These awards were one of the first in the country to recognise researchers for their the passion and commitment to the communication of science, hand-in-hand with a strong research focus and output. APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2020 YOUNG TALL POPPY AWARDS WILL OPEN IN FEBRUARY! LIKE @TALLPOPPYCAMPAIGN ON FACEBOOK OR FOLLOW THEM @TALLPOPPIESAIPS ON TWITTER TO FIND OUT WHEN APPLICATIONS OPEN. Over that time, more than 750 awardees have been named from all states and territories, and across all disciplines of science, technology, maths and engineering. Winners then become part of a proud alumni that undertake science outreach in their state, are role models, and that are empowered to take their…

3 min.
2019 winners

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TALL POPPY OF THE YEAR Dr Katarina Miljkovic Planetary and space science Curtin University Dr Catherine Boisvert Evolutionary biology of fish Curtin University A/Prof Debbie Silvester Electrochemistry Curtin University A/Prof Richard Norman Health Economics, Curtin University Dr Stephanie Rainey-Smith Alzheimer’s Researchs Edith Cowan Univeristy Dr Joshua Lewis Clinical Science, Public Health Edith Cowan Univeristy Dr Chris Brennan-Jones Audiology, Ear Health University of WA/Telethon Kids Institute A/Prof Asha Bowen Health, Infectious Diseases. Telethon Kids Institute Dr Willem Lesterhuis Cancer Research University of Western Australia QUEENSLAND TALL POPPY OF THE YEAR Dr Jodie Rummer Marine Ecology, Evolutionary physiology James Cook University A/Prof Andrew Hoey Marine Ecology James Cook University Dr Kateryna Bazaka Plasma nanoscience Queensland University of Technology A/Prof Jyotsna Batra Genetics, prostate cancer Queensland University of Technology Dr Laura Fenlon Neuroscience University of Queensland Dr James Kesby Neuroscience University of Queensland Dr Stephanie Schoeppe Physical Activity, Public Health Central Queensland University Dr Benjamin Allen Wildlife conservation University of Southern Queensland A/Prof Stephanie Topp Health systems research James Cook University Dr Carlos Salomon Obstetrics, Gynecological Oncology University of Queensland A/Prof Severine Navarro Mucosal immunology QIMR A/Prof James Hudson Bioengineering QIMR Dr Sara Herke Mathematics University of Queensland Dr Caitlin Curtis Genomics,…

11 min.
courts of the conqueror

In late August 2019, it was reported that the Queensland government had granted freehold title to mining company Adani over part of the lands of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people near Clermont in Queensland.1 The story caught on, with social media outrage directed at what was described as a ‘pro-coal move’ by the Palaszczuk government.2 In response, QLD Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, clarified that: [the grant] was enabled by an ILUA [Indigenous Land Use Agreement] … authorised by the native title claimants and registered by the Native Title Tribunal almost two years ago.3 The terms of ILUAs are confidential, yet the Native Title Tribunal register reveals that the W&J and Adani ILUA deals with ‘extinguishment, large mining’,4 supporting the Minister’s statement. But public criticism has remained…

3 min.
aq book reviews

Dark Emu BRUCEPASCOE | REVIEWBY: DRLILYHIRSCH Reading Dark Emu is both a stimulating and uncomfortable experience. Stimulating because of the astonishing paradigm shift it heralds for our understanding of Australia’s indigenous history. Uncomfortable because of the ignominy of our collective ignorance. Rather than using Indigenous oral histories – which Pascoe says are easily rebuked due to “the tenacity of the Australian delusion” – he instead uses entries from journals written by early European explorers and settlers. These detail the rich agricultural history of pre-colonial Australia – the first people in the world to bake bread, builders of complex aquaculture systems, and towns of at least 1000 people. Not only does Pascoe use white-Australia’s own words to abolish the egregious stereotype of the nomadic savage, Dark Emu echoes across time to the modern day. We live…