ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Commentary

Our researchers regularly write Opinion Pieces and Articles for on-line news services such as The Conversation, The Policy Space and more.

  • 2018
  • 2017

2018

Why a separate holiday for Indigenous Australians misses the point

The Conversation - A separate holiday for Indigenous AustraliansAssociate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan says “The only moral defence in favour of celebrating Australia Day on 26 January is to somehow find a way to make it genuinely inclusive. Proponents of the day, particularly Morrison, need to show the political vision that takes the country beyond the dispossession and exclusion that Australia Day represents for some people.” in the Conversation on September 27.

What the world needs now to fight climate change: More swamps

the Conversation - Drain thw swamp“Drain the swamp” has long meant getting rid of something distasteful. Actually, the world needs more swamps – and bogs, fens, marshes and other types of wetlands. A new article by Professor Max Finalyson et al in The Conversation, September 12.

Planned closures of charter schools in New Zealand prompt debate about Māori self-determination

The Conversation - Closure of charter schools in NZThe New Zealand government’s decision to close charter schools has prompted criticism from Māori leaders because some of the schools have predominantly Māori rolls. Professor Dominic O'Sullivan discusses the complexity of the politics of Maori policy issues which are larger than just the charter schools in The Conversation, August 30.

Expunging the criminal records of kids in care does not absolve the state’s injustices against them

Dr Katherine McFarlane says "the Victorian proposal fails to acknowledge the ongoing harm that state practices had on thousands of people. It is also silent on the ongoing criminalisation of children in care today," in The Conversation, July 30.

Racism, citizenship and schooling: why we still have some way to go

The Conversation - Racism, citizenship and schoolingRacism means people experience citizenship differently. It means opportunities and capacities are not equally available to every citizen and egalitarian justice, the idea of a “fair go” for everyone, doesn’t work as it’s intended.  Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan explores the why some people don't get a fair go at school in The Conversation, July 6.

Victoria’s treaty with Indigenous peoples must address vexed questions of sovereignty

The Conversation - Indigenous TreatySovereignty is a type political authority. But it is relative and relational to the political authority of others. Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan discusses the challenges and constraints to be faced in the treaty negotiations with Indigenous people in The Conversation, June 25.

Feeding frenzy: public accuse the media of deliberately fueling shark fear

The Conversation - Feeding Frenzy

Are you scared of sharks? If you never read or watched the news, would you still be?  Associate Professor Peter Simmons and Dr Michael Mehmet discuss their findings from a running series of focus groups in coastal communities in New South Wales last year in their article in The Conversation, June 22.

Australia relies on volunteers to monitor its endangered species

The Conversation - volunteers monitoring engangered speciesThe efforts of unpaid volunteers to monitor Australia's threatened species and the threats posed by the cutting of funding for biodiversity conservation and protection by Professor Dave Watson, with co-authors Dr Matthew Webb and Dr Dejan Stojanovic from the Australian National University, The Conservation, June 11.

Feral horses are incompatible with a world heritage area.  It is one or the other

Feral Horses in World Heritage AreasIn his opinion piece in The Guardian, Professor Dave Watson explains his reasoning behind the decision to resign from the NSW Government’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee following that Government’s passing of its “brumby bill” which gives horses special dispensation to roam freely in the Kosciuszko National Park.  He outlines why that the decision showed a willful disregard for science, The Guardian June 11.

Liberal citizenship, sovereignty, democracy and the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people

UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peopleThe Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was drafted by an indigenous working group and adopted by the United Nations in 2007. Only four member-states were opposed – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States of America. While these states subsequently reversed their positions, it was only after ‘reading down’ the Declaration’s significance to view it as merely aspirational’.  Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan discusses current implications for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in his article in Discover Society, June 5.

The female tradie shortage: why real change requires a major cultural shift

The Conversation - Female Tradie ShortageILWS researchers Dr Donna Bridges, A/Prof Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, Dr Larissa Bamberry and CSU researchers Dr Elizabeth Wulff and Ms Stacey Jenkins have been leading a research project that has shown that boosting the number of women in the manual trades requires cultural shifts in society as much as within the industries themselves in The Conversation, June 1.

University funding debates should be broadened to reflect their democratic purpose

The Conversation - University Funding"The university’s most important strength is its intellectual independence and the academic freedom that assures that independence. Research for government or for industry is not independent"  A/Prof Dominic O'Sullivan argues that the funding is too narrowly focused and needs also to consider the university’s democratic purpose in his latest article in The Conversation, May 29.

It will take decades, but the Murray Darling Basin Plan is delivering environmental improvements

The Conversation - Murray-Darling Basin Plan"Our main reason for writing this article was to try to let people know that within the operating environment we’ve got (the volume of water, restrictions on release rates, limited ability to get water onto floodplains, etc.) good things ARE being achieved for the environment. That seems to be a message being lost in much of the media."  An article in The Conversation co-authored by LTIM leaders including ILWS's Prof Robyn Watts, A/Prof Skye Wassens, May 1.

Media reporting on women in the military is preserving a male dominated culture

The Conversation - Women in the Millitary"Given the power of the media in influencing and shaping public opinion, how gendered power and gender inequality are discussed in the media is critical to how women are perceived in society," says Dr Donna Bridges in the co-authored The Conversation article, April 23,  "How the media represent men’s sexual violence and women’s struggles to participate in a male-dominated institution enhances or inhibits the potential for real change."

The Nursing and Midwifery Codes of Conduct: Privilege, Prejudice and the Indigenous Citizen

A/Prof Dominic O'Sullivan argues a society that needs to debate the merits of a professional body instructing its members to avoid biased, discriminatory or racist practice is likely to have wide differentials in health outcomes across population groups in his article in The Policy Space, April 4.

I've always wondered: can two chickens hatch out of a double-yolk?

Dr Maggie Watson answers the double-yolk to chicken question in the Conversation series "I've always wondered...." where readers send in questions they would like an expert to answer, March 30.

Nine Ways to fix

The Conversation - Nine ways to fix Great little article: Australia's draft 'Strategy for nature' doesn't cut it. Here are nine ways to fix it.  The Conversation article has been co-authored by ILWS ecologist A/Prof Dale Nimmo, March 16.

Child Protection

The Conversation - Child ProtectionDr Katherine McFarlane's comments in her article in the Conversation on the child protection report  "amidst all the statistics, tables and figures, one crucial measure for benchmarking, identifying and acting on child abuse is missing, March 9.

Australia could look to New Zealand

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan writes about the role that universities might play in Indigenous people’s education and research as part of a series in The Conversation exploring ideas for reforming higher education in Australia, March 2.

Indigenous health

The Conversation - Indigenous HealthA model for self-determination in health policy proposed by A/Prof Dominic O'Sullivan in Open Forum Feb 21. http://www.openforum.com.au/indigenous-health

New Zealand vote on euthanasia

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan's 50th published opinion piece was in The Conversation, January 31. It was about New Zealand's conscience vote on euthanasia which Dominic says exposes the democratic weakness of New Zealand's voting system. https://theconversation.com/conscience-vote-on-euthanasia-bill-exposes-democratic-weakness-of-new-zealands-voting-system-90838

Citizenship, democracy and the political determinants of indigenous health

Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan says that while Indigenous health receives significant public expenditure, it remains a matter of public policy failure. Solutions require a philosophical reconsideration of the meaning of Indigenous citizenship and opportunities for Indigenous policy deliberation. Published in The Policy Space, Jan 30.  http://www.thepolicyspace.com.au/2017/31/160-citizenship-democracy-and-the-political-determinants-of-indigenous-health#.Wm_qiE9SWhU.twitter

Indigenous recognition matters

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan says that the Australian Constitution does not mention Indigenous people and that while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten appointed a Referendum Council to consider options for constitutional recognition of Australia's First People in 2015, this is a symbolic, though politically inconsequential, amendment. Opinion Piece in The Conversation, Jan 18, 2018. https://theconversation.com/indigenous-recognition-in-our-constitution-matters-and-will-need-greater-political-will-to-achieve-90296

2017

Exaggerating the value of wetlands

Prof M FinlaysonA new article by ILWS Adjunct Dr Matthew McCartney and ILWS Director Prof Max Finlayson 'Exaggerating the value of wetlands for natural disaster mitigation is a risky business' has been published on February 2 in The Conversation.It was picked up by the online news environment guru, Feb 3.

Benefits of being outside

Institute Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr Shelby Gull Laird and CSU lecturer in Early Childhood Studies Dr Laura McFarland are co-authors of a piece in The Conversation titled "Five way kids can benefit from being outside this summer break, published January 10.

Remembering a rock god

Dr Emma Rush, a lecturer in Philosophy & Ethics, is one of the authors of a piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/how-do-you-remember-a-rock-god-the-complicated-legacy-of-chuck-berry-74835 commenting on the life (and death) of Chuck Berry, March 20.

Guaranteed Indigenous seats in parliament

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan shares his views on NSW Greens MP Dawn Walker's inaugural speech on why guaranteed Indigenous seats in parliament could ease inequality in an article in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/why-guaranteed-indigenous-seats-in-parliament-could-ease-inequality-74359

Impact of domestic dogs

Associate Professor Dale Nimmo on "The bark side: domestic dogs threaten endangered species world-wide," https://theconversation.com/the-bark-side-domestic-dogs-threaten-endangered-species-worldwide-76782 May 2

Widespread invasive species control is a risky business

Widespread riskWhile projects to remove invasive species may yield great benefits, we must be aware of the potential risk of unexpected and undesirable outcomes say Drs R. Keller Kopf, Dale Nimmo and Paul Humphries in the Conversation, May 24.

Indigenous people and a liberal politics of potential

Indigeneity is a politics of potential; a theory of human agency that provides an indigenous framework for thinking about how to engage liberal societies in discourses of reconciliation, self-determination and sovereignty. Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan writes for Policy Press, University of Bristol, June 7.

Why we need more than just extra water to save the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Institute Director Professor Max Finlayson and Dr Lee Baumgartner, together with Professor Peter Gell from Federation University, Ballarat, have written an Opinion Piece titled "More than just extra water needed".  The Conversation on June 30 https://theconversation.com/we-need-more-than-just-extra-water-to-save-the-murray-darling-basin-80188

Language and the right to identity

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan wrote a blog for Open Forum, July 3, during NAIDOC 2017 Week's theme Our languages matter.  His opinion piece suggests that languages matter because they allow people to think in ways that are culturally contextualised for  http://www.openforum.com.au/our-languages-matter/

Nurses participation in murder

Professor Linda Shields has written a post about the participation of nurses in tens of thousands state sanctioned murders in Nazi era Europe in Croakey, July 17 https://croakey.org/should-nurses-participate-in-prison-executions-a-lesson-from-history/

I Have Always Wondered…

The Conversation have begun a new series where readers send in questions they'd like an expert to answer.  Drs Maggie Watson and James Van Dyke answered the question "When do baby birds begin to breathe?"  on August 27

Opinion piece in the Canadian Conversation

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan has had an opinion piece titled "What New Zealand's vote means for Maori -- and potentially First Nations in Canada" which has had more than 15,000 reads and was the Conversation's most read article in the week it was published on September 26.

Australia's species need an independent champion

Drs Geoffrey Heard and Dale Nimmo were among the seven authors of an article in The Conversation, Oct 12,  calling for the role of the Federal Government's Threatened Species Commissioner to be strengthened and made independent. https://theconversation.com/australias-species-need-an-independent-champion-83580 It was picked up by kevinswildside.wordpress.com, Oct 12

Why the Indigenous in New Zealand have fared better than those in Canada

Indigenous peoples of Canada and New Zealand share similar experiences as subjects of British colonialism yet the Maori have fared better says Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in his piece in Conversation Canada, Oct 16

Why chickens don't look down

Dr Maggie Watson, as part of the "I've Always Wondered" series in The Conversation has answered the question to "I've always wondered: why don't chickens look down when they scratch? October 21

Economics of prison

Dr Katherine McFarlane was among a group of academics interviewed for a Business Briefing: questioning the economics of prison, in a piece for The Conversation, Oct 31.

Australia Denies Political Participation as an Indigenous Human Right

Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan explores lack of political will and other challenges for the national Parliament to hear representative indigenous perspectives on policy priorities in his piece for the Oxford Human Rights Hub on November 15.

World first continental acoustic observatory 

Professor Dave Watson explains why Australia is the perfect candidate for a continent-wide recording array in his article in The Conversation, November 30