ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University


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

  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017


Is News Corp bad for democracy?

Is News Corp bad for democracy?'Democracy is not well served by media ownership laws, or by the intellectual quality, that the news media generally contributes to public debate. Rudd’s petition therefore raises an important matter of public interest. It asks people to think carefully about what the news media is actually for, and whether it should be required to help democracy work to its potential', writes Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in  Open Forum, October 14.

The UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples: can it create pluralist non-colonial societies?

UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous PeopleAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan's new book ‘We Are All Here to Stay’citizenship, sovereignty and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, published in September, uses the Declaration to examine contemporary indigenous claims. It examines how these claims engage with prevailing liberal democratic practice to consider whether it is possible, thus far into the colonial process, to establish pluralist non-colonial societies. In  Discover Society, October 7.

Charles Sturt academic claims colonialism need not be a permanent state.

Colonialism need not be a permanent stateAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan, Charles Sturt political expert, says colonialism cannot be reversed, but it doesn't have to be a permanent state either.  He says the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which New Zealand is currently thinking about implementing, shows how and why in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, October 6.

Can colonialism be reversed?  The UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides some answers.

Can colonialism be reversed?Can a state built upon the “taking of another people’s lands, lives and power” ever really be just? Colonialism can’t be reversed, so at a simple level the answer is no. But his book, ‘We Are All Here to Stay’, published in September, Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan argues colonialism need not be a permanent state in The Conversation, October 2.

Aggressive? Poisonous? Deadly? Experts debunk myths about Australian snakes.

Debunking myths about Australian SnakesAs the weather starts to warm and Australia’s snakes start to emerge, three Charles Sturt University wildlife ecologists decided to debunk a number of common myths about the reptile and say they cannot imagine a more misunderstood group of animals in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, September 29

Does Australia really have the deadliest snakes? We debunk 6 common myths

Does Australia really have the deadliest snakes? "Death by snakebite in Australia is very uncommon, with just two per year, on average, compared to 81,000-138,000 deaths from snakes annually worldwide." Myth Busters  Dr Damian Michael, Associate Professors Dale Nimmo and Skye Wassens debunk six misconceptions they, as wildlife ecologists, often hear and explain why the truth is far more fascinating.  The Conversation, September 29.

Predators, prey and moonlight singing: how phases of the Moon affect native wildlife

Predators Prey and Moonlight The Conversation September 4Grant Linley, PhD candidate, along with Associate Professor Euan Ritchie of Deakin University and Courtney Marneweck of Clemson University, explores how certain behaviours of animals – including potoroos, wallabies and quolls – change with variation in ambient light, phases of the Moon and cloud cover and the implications of artificial light pollution on how animals behave in their article in The Conversation, September 4.

Grant Linley will be commencing his PhD on the impacts of the recent bushfires on native species in north-eastern Victoria under the supervision of Associate Professor Dale Nimmo and Dr Jodi Price in the November session 2020.

Two inquiries find unfair treatment and healthcare for Māori.  This is how we fix it

Two inquiries find unfair treatment and healthcare for MaoriIn this article, published in The Conversation, Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan argues for a Maori Health Authority with decision making power, as a matter of political equality. The Conversation, August 31.

Skills Week highlights the need for gender equity and inclusion in trades

Skills Week highlights the need for gender equityDr Larrissa Bamberry and Dr Donna Bridges say National Skills Week (24 to 30 August) is a reminder gender equity and inclusion are the solution to the ‘tradie’ skills shortage in regional Australia, and skills are the fundamental basis for all regional development and growth. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, August 27.

Closing the Gap in Indigenous Australian Disadvantage Policy: A Human Rights Response

Closing the Gap Oxford Human Rights HubIn 2008 the Council of Australian Governments decided to ‘close the gap in indigenous disadvantage’. It identified 6 targets in the fields of health, education and employment where policy could ‘close’ gaps between Indigenous and other citizens. By 2020, some progress had been made on each target, but only two were ‘on track’ to be met writes Dominic O'Sullivan in the Oxford Human Rights Hub, August 15.

The human cost of border closures, and the alternative solutions being overlooked

human cost of border closuresAssociate Professor Rachel Whitsed examines the impact of the Albury-Wodonga border closure and suggests that spatial modelling could be used to find an alternative to ensure thousands of locals are not disrupted. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, August 13.

‘Death by irony’: The mystery of the mouse that died of smoke inhalation, but went nowhere near a fire

Smoky Mouse The Conversation July 13 2020"As global warming escalates, fires in Australia are predicted to become even worse. Now more than ever, the future of the smoky mouse, along with many other Australian animals, hinges on decisive climate action. Captive breeding programs and blind hope will not be enough." writes Dr Andrew Peters in The Conversation, July 13.

Before and after: see how bushfire and rain turned the Macquarie perch’s home to sludge

Before and after bushfires Macquarie PerchThe unprecedented intensity and scale of Australia’s recent bushfires left a trail of destruction across Australia. Millions of hectares burned and more than a billion animals were affected or died. When the rains finally arrived, the situation for many fish species went from dangerous to catastrophic write ILWS researchers Professor Lee Baumgartner, Dr Katie Doyle, Dr Luiz Silva, Adjunct researcher Luke Pearce and Dr Nathan Ning in The Conversation, July 10.

Bushfires followed by rain: a catastrophic combination for Australia's Macquarie perch

Bushfires and Macquarie perchFisheries experts professor Lee Baumgartner, Dr Katie Doyle, Professor Luiz Silva and Dr Nathan Ning and Luke Pearce fisheries manager for the Greater Murray with NSW Department of Primary Industries revisit Australia’s 2020-2019 bushfires and explain how the rain that followed the fires turned the home of Australia’s endangered Macquarie perch to sludge.  Charles Sturt University News Opinion, July 10.

The key to regional growth is to nurture sustainable resources

Key to regional growthAhead of World Population Day (Saturday 11 July), Dr Simon Wright says producing enough sustainable resources is the key to accommodating population growths in regional NSW. The lure of a quieter, cheaper lifestyle is proving tempting for ‘millennials’ living in the city, and rural towns are experiencing high rates of growth as they head into regional NSW for a change. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, July 10.

Restoring a gem in the Murray-Darling Basin: the success story of the Winton Wetlands

Winton Wetlands The Conversation June 19Water use in the Murray-Darling Basin has long been a source of conflict. Damage to rivers and wetlands, including fish kills and algal blooms, has featured prominently in the news. But the Winton Wetlands, in the south-east basin, represents a bright spot. Its restoration provides a sense of hope that reaches beyond the complexities of history, writes Professor Max Finlayson in The Conversation, June 19.

Don’t count your fish before they hatch: experts react to plans to release 2 million fish into the Murray Darling

The Conversation - Don't count your fish before they hatchThe New South Wales government plans to release two million native fish into rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin, in the largest breeding program of its kind in the state. But as the river system recovers from a string of mass fish deaths, caution is needed says Professor Lee Baumgartner, Dr Jamin Forbes and Dr Katie Doyle in The Conversation, June 15.

Returning to work after COVID-19 – business as usual, or not?

Return to work Stacey Jenkins As Australia begins to turn the next page on the COVID-19 pandemic, ILWS researcher Dr Stacey Jenkins says many businesses are faced with a new challenge – how and when to reopen safely and legally? While many hope to soon return to the workplace, there's a lot at stake and proceeding with caution is recommended. Reopening requires more than just flipping the lights back on and resuming business as usual. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, June 1.

How COVID-19 could affect tourism industry as it reopens

Clifford Lewis Tourism post Covid19Dr Clifford Lewis paints a picture of what the tourism industry could look like as restrictions prepare to ease during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The lessons we learn from this pandemic can help transform tourism by understanding how tourism helped spread COVID-19 across the globe, and therefore, what can be done to reduce the impact of the industry on future pandemics. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, May 28

Why Trump's Make America Great Again hat makes a dangerous souvenir for foreign politicians

O'Sullivan The Conversation MAGA hatThe New Zealand National Party’s newly elected leader, Todd Muller found himself not in control of the agenda when during his first weekend as leader, he was forced to explain his political souvenir of a red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat. From whichever perspective, the hat – and Muller’s defence of owning it – brought his political judgement into question, writes Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in Then Conversation, May 26.

Could treaties help close the political gap in Indigenous health?

Dominic O'Sullivan Openforum treaties to close the gapIn its 2020 annual Close the Gap Report, the Lowitja indigenous health research institute noted a significant life expectancy differential between indigenous and other citizens. 8.6 years for men and 7.8 years for women. Preventable deaths due to mental illness, accidents and the incidence of chronic disease help to explain the differential. Close the Gap is an indigenous led advocacy project. It takes a human rights approach to improving indigenous well-being, which makes it different from the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap policy measures writes Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in the Openforum, May 25.

After the bushfires, we helped choose the animals and plants in most need. Here’s how we did it

Dale Nimmo The Conversation After the FiresILWS's Dr Dale Nimmo, who is one of the wildlife experts advising the federal government on bushfire recovery, has co-authored an article detailing how the experts choose which plants and animals need help the most urgently. The Conversation, May 21.  This story also appeared Charles Sturt University News Opinion, May 21

Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in New Zealand

Oxford Human Rights Hub Dominic O'SullivanThe New Zealand government is considering implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2007, the United Nations adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It affirmed that the right to self-determination is a universal right. It belongs to indigenous peoples, as groups and as individuals, as much as it belongs to everybody else. Alongside, Australia, Canada and the United States, New Zealand voted against the Declaration. New Zealand said that the Declaration breached the Treaty of Waitangi (Treaty) because it would give Maori special rights over other citizens. Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan's comments on the idea were published on the Oxford Human Rights blog, May 18.

Gender (role) bending: How COVID-19 has transformed the Australian family

Dr Angela Ragusa Gender Role Bending CSU news opinionOn the eve of International Day of Families, Senior Lecturer in Sociology in Charles Sturt’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Angela Ragusa, explores the changing dynamics in Australian families brought about by COVID-19. Charles Sturt University News Opinion, May 14

A pandemic in the era of Great Power rivalry and neoliberalism

Charles Sturt News Opinion May 6Opinion: ILWS researcher and Politics lecturer Dr Oliver Villar argues that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that an alternative to the neoliberal model of capitalism is possible.  The Trump administration of the United States has blamed China, and now the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking to distract blame from the neoliberal model of capitalism adopted in much of the Western world since the 1980s.  This is also a convenient excuse for the US to attack a rising power that is starting to encroach on its influence and control, in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, May 6.

Too much bipartisanship is bad for democracy

Openforum April 6 Scott Morrison's creation of a national cabinet of Federal and State leaders has helped Australia maintain a united front against COVID-19, and although the exclusion of the Labor Leader was contested, the division between government and opposition could be maintained to safeguard democracy...Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan writes in Openforum that "Too much bipartisanship is bad for democracy" on May 6.

The impact of social distancing on older adults during COVID-19

Charles Sturt News Opinion April 23When the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions began to unfold in Australia, the heightened risks of the virus to older adults was at the forefront of discussions. Australians over 70 years were quickly encouraged to practice social distancing and self-isolate to reduce their risk of infection.  Dr Belinda Cash shares more about the webinar she will host on Tuesday 28 April, which will explore the impact social distancing during COVID-19 has had on older Australians’ physical and mental health in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, April 23.

Fishing for hope: the importance of recreational fishing during a crisis

Charles Sturt New Opinion April 22.They say the worst day fishing is better than the best day working. How can recreational fishers keep sane during these unusual times? Two fisheries researchers, Professor Lee Baumgartner and Dr Katie Doyle reflect on the impacts of closing recreational fishing in Victoria in response to COVID-19 in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, April 22.

COVID-19, bushfires and drought prove wildlife health is one of the emerging challenges of our time

Charles Sturt News opinionDr Andrew Peters, an expert in wildlife health, shares why the global public health crisis of COVID-19, Australia’s recent fire season and the country's ongoing drought are proof that maintaining the health of wildlife has never been more important. The bushfires, drought and COVID-19 are all connected by one thing – the way we interact with wildlife and the natural world. Protecting our wildlife from disease, and ourselves from wildlife disease, is challenging, in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, April 2.

The Benefits of Masters Sport to Healthy Aging

SIRCuit March 31 2020Professor Rylee Dionigi and her Canadian colleagues were invited to write this article about their research for Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC). SIRC is Canada’s leader and most trusted partner in advancing sport and physical activity through knowledge." Masters sport has been regarded as an ideal facilitator of healthy aging, and this article focuses on relevant discussions for Masters athletes 60 years of age and beyond. In particular, the authors highlight their research program that has focused on illuminating the voices and stories of Masters athletes themselves. SIRCuit March 31.

How fungi’s knack for networking boosts ecological recovery after bushfires

The Conversation Fungi March20The aftermath of wildfires can make landscapes appear devoid of life. Yet under the ash beds lies a vast living network of fungi... ecologists are only beginning to learn how fire affects fungi and what role they might have in hastening ecosystem recovery following wildfires writes Dr Adam Frew (past member now with USQ), A/Prof Dale Nimmo, Dr Jodi Price, Leanne Greenwood (PhD Candidate) with A/Prof Andy LeBrocque (USQ) and Dr Eleonora Egidi (U.Western Sydney) in The Conversation, March 20.

Barriers for women in peacekeeping

Policy Forum March 10The work of female peacekeepers in crucial missions around the world brings irreplaceable advantages, but the United Nations and its member countries have much to overcome if they are to harness that potential, Dr Donna Bridges writes for the Policy Forum, International Women’s Day Special Edition. Asia and the Pacific Policy Society, March 10.

Last summer’s fish carnage sparked public outrage. Here’s what has happened since

The Conversation Last Summer Feb 28In April last year the federal government committed A$70 million to improve the river’s health and prevent more fish deaths. Professors' Lee Baumgartner and Max Finlayson examine what’s been done so far in The Conversation, February 28.

How you can help – not harm – wild animals recovering from bushfires

How you can help not harm wild animals...beyond the vital role of providing financial support, here are a few simple things individuals can do – and avoid – to help our native wildlife recover.  This helpful guide outlining 5 ways to help was co-authored by Associate Professor Dale Nimmo and appears in The Conversation, February 20.

The Human Right to Belong: Indigenous rights and sovereignty in Australia

The Human right to belongLast week the High Court of Australia found, in a 4-3 decision, that indigenous people cannot be deported as aliens, even if they are not citizens. In this article, Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan discusses what this means in The Oxford Human Rights Hub on February 18.

Its the economy stupid, but lets make it fit for purpose

The Economy is StupidMedia rants on our summer firestorms blame the lack of fire preparedness or a tardy emissions policy. To nudge Australia out of harm’s way over the next fifty years requires systemic and harmonious change over six big areas: implementing local firecare systems, more taxes to pay for it, enacting the social contract to bring us all along, building in fire resistance, developing a fit-for-purpose economy and finally, driving the first five by more benign personal consumption patterns. Institute Adjunct Barney Foran writes It's the economy stupid, but let's make it fit for purpose, in on January  31.

What good are wetlands? 5 essential reads

What good are wetlands?An article on The Conversation entitled What good are wetlands? 5 essential reads is based on articles previously published by The Conversation including one by Institute Adjunct Professor Max Finlayson and two colleagues from the Society of Wetland Scientists on climate change and wetlands (why we shouldn’t drain the swamps), January 24.

Drought, fire and now heavy rain – what this climate is doing to Australia’s waterways and fish

Drought, Fire, now heavy rain.With heavy rain falling across many areas impacted by the bushfires, two fish experts warn the ash, charcoal and silt this rain will wash into the rivers can quickly deteriorate the water quality and have adverse impacts on aquatic life an opinion piece by Dr Luiz Silva and Professor Lee Baumgartner, freshwater fish ecologists in Charles Sturt University News Opinion, January 21.

Welcome aboard, denialists: now let's stop fiddling and start fixing

Welcome aboard denialistsFor many people with reservations about the climate change issue, these catastrophic fires have been a turning point. Don’t worry about admitting you were wrong—scientists do it all the time, Professor David Watson writes in the Sydney Morning Herald, January 18.

Tales of wombat ‘heroes’ have gone viral. Unfortunately, they’re not true

Wombat heroesIf you’ve been following the bushfire crisis on social media and elsewhere, you may have seen reports of benevolent wombats herding other animals to shelter into their fire-proof burrows.  These stories went quickly viral – probably reflecting the appetite for good news after the horrors of the bushfire crisis. However, the accounts are not entirely accurate. Associate Professor Dale Nimmo explains wombat behaviour in The Conversation, January 15.

The sweet relief of rain after bushfires threatens disaster for our rivers

The sweet relief of rainFire debris flowing into Murray-Darling Basin will exacerbate the risk of fish and other aquatic life dying en masse as witnessed in previous years.  While our current focus is on putting the fires out, as it should be, it’s important to start thinking about the future and how to protect our waterways say Institute Adjuncts Dr Paul McInernay (CSIRO), Dr Gavin  Rees ( CSIRO) in their article with Klaus Joehnk in The Conversation, January 13.

Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive

The animal response to bushfireA sobering estimate has put the number of animals killed across eastern Australia at 480 million. But let’s look at some uplifting facts: how animals survive, and what challenges they overcome in the days and weeks after a fire. Associate Professor Dale Nimmo, ILWS animal ecology expert outlines the techniques and strategies employed by Australia’s ingenious fauna when a bushfire threatens their survival in The Conversation, January 8.


Hunter, hunted: when the world catches on fire, how do predators respond?

The Conversation - Hunter, HuntedAs climate change continues, large, intense, and severe fires will become more common. But what does this mean for the animals living in fire-prone environments? As Australia battles devastating bushfires, IlWS researcher Associate Professor Dale Nimmo, is one of five Australian researchers looking at some of the long-term implications for ecosystems in the Conversation, December 26.

What NZ and Australia can learn from British Columbia’s implementation of Indigenous rights

The Conversation - British Colombia's implementation of Indigenous rightsBritish Columbia has legislated to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan wrote about the lessons this might hold for Australia and New Zealand in the Conversation, December 19.

Double trouble as feral horse numbers gallop past 25,000 in the Australian Alps

The Conversation - Feral horses in the Australian AlpsFeral horse numbers have more than doubled in the past five years in the Australian Alps, according to results just released from the Australian Alps Feral Horse Aerial Survey. Scientists warned the government that very high numbers of horses would be the inevitable consequence of its inaction over horse management.  Institute researcher Professor Dave Watson is one of the co-authors of this article on the devastating impacts the huge horse numbers are having in the Australian Alps in The Conversation, December 15.

Can Indigenous Australians be deported as ‘aliens’? A High Court decision will show us the strength of modern colonial power

The Conversation - deportation of indigenous Australians"The power to remove an Indigenous person from their traditional country is a power over that person’s indigeneity. It shows how Australia is still asserting colonial power over the identity of its First Peoples," argues Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Conversation, December 9.

Scientists re-counted Australia’s extinct species, and the result is devastating

The Conversation - extinct species in AustraliaAssociate Professor Dale Nimmo is one of a number of coauthors  in this article into Australia's extinct species.. "In the most comprehensive assessment of its kind, our research has confirmed that 100 endemic Australian species living in 1788 are now validly listed as extinct .  Alarmingly, this tally confirms that the number of extinct Australian species is much higher than previously thought."  in The Conversation, December 1.

What Canada can learn from New Zealand on electoral reform

What Canada can learn from New Zealand on electoral reformThe results of the recent Canadian election don’t reflect the will of the people, and the situation is reigniting calls for proportional representation. One of the criticisms of proportional representation is that it makes stable governments hard to form, and gives small parties too much influence.

But is this true? What actually happens in practice? What happens when a country makes the change from first-past-the-post to proportional representation? Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan shares the New Zealand experience in his latest article in the Conversation, October 30.

Should I let my kid climb trees? We asked five experts

Should I let my kid climb trees?We asked five experts – including a paediatric surgeon who operates on children who’ve fallen out of a tree – if it’s OK to let kids climb trees.  Institute adjunct Dr Shelby Gull Laird was interviewed as one of the five experts, all who said it's a yes, but..., in The Conversation, October 28.

Risky business: how our ‘macho’ construction culture is killing tradies

Risky business: how our ‘macho’ construction culture is killingThe construction and building industries can be dangerous places to work. These jobs not only pose risks to a person’s physical health, but can threaten their mental health, too. In Australia, “tradies” make up less than one-third of all people in employment, but represent 58% of serious claims for workers’ compensation. Construction ranks in the top three for industries with the highest work-related injury or illness and deaths related to traumatic injury are among the research findings by Dr Donna Bridges, Associate Professor Branka Krivokapic-Skoko, Dr Elizabeth Wulff and Dr Larrisa Bamberry in the Conversation, October 24.

"Why Should I Go to School if You Won't Listen to the Educated" - why letting ignorance trump knowledge is a big problem for democracy.

Why Should I Go to School if You Won't Listen to the EducatedPrivileging ignorance over knowledge, rash opinion over reasoned debate, and sectional self-interest over the common good are signs of democratic failure. This means that in liberal democracies like Australia, climate strikes were as much about a political system not working as it should, as they were about the details of environment policy, says Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Policy Space, October 9.

There are differences between free speech, hate speech and academic freedom – and they matter

There are differences between free speech, hate speech and academic freedom – and they matterIt is the right to hold opinions and to challenge the opinions of others... There are differences between what is wrong and what is intolerably wrong. There are some views that a free society can’t tolerate explains Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Conversation, October 8.

Indigenous people no longer have the legal right to say no to the Adani mine - here’s what it means for equality

The Conversation: Native Title Act and the Adani MineNative title is regulated under the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993. But the commercial interests of Adani prevailing over the rights of the Wangan and Jagalingou people shows just how fragile the act is, writes  Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Conversation, September 5.

Australian democracy demands a proper debate

Openfourm: Australina democracy demands a proper debateEffective government requires an engaged and informed public. It requires serious public debate where people are expected to have well thought out reasons for believing whatever they believe, and a willingness to defend those reasons, listen seriously to the reasons of others and, sometimes, re-think their own views. Yet, presidential style election campaigns grounded in slogans – ‘the top end of town’, ‘have a go, get a go’ – and Tony Abbott’s election winning ‘stop the boats’ in 2013 show that reason is not how politics works. Says Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan in his article in Open Forum, August 20.

Forests: Natural capital or exploitable resources

Forests Keunsel OnlineIn this latest article for Kuensel, ILWS PhD student Sangay Wangchuk outlines outline some of the intricate contributions forests make and concludes "Forest is abundant resources Bhutan has, and the domestic demand for wood could be met from the country. However, Bhutan is geographically located in one of the fragile landscapes on earth, prone to climate hazards. The potential use of protection forests to combat shallow slope instabilities is increasingly important and relevant and should be seriously considered," in Keunsel Online, August 10.

Remembering our Rangers on the World Ranger Day

Remembering our RangersILWS PhD student Sangay Wangchuk says "As pressures on nature grow, the survival of endangered animals and their habitats depends, largely, on these men and women. Illegal logging and violent poaching crisis are at an all-time high. The work of rangers has never been more critical. Today, our world stands at a crossroads, with so many of its most emblematic places and biodiversity under immense threat. Thus, on World Ranger Day 2019, let’s all take a moment to remember all rangers, known and unknown, who have paid the ultimate price during the past years," in Kuensal, July 27.

Meet the endangered Bunyip bird living in Australia's rice paddies 

The Conversation - Endangered bunyip birdDr Wayne Robinson is co-author of an article in The Conversation, July 16, based on research done on the endangered Bunyip bird, also called the Australasian bittern, in the Riverina which says the need to incorporate wildlife conservation on farms has never been greater.

Bhutan and global top 10 biodiversity hotspots - A "Fact" check

Bhutan and global top 10 biodiversity hotspotsILWS PhD student Sangay Wangchuk looks at the issue of biodiversity in Bhutan in Kuensal, July 13.

How to improve health outcomes for Indigenous people by making space for self-determination

The Conversation - Improve health outcomes for indigenous peopleAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan writes "Indigenous public policy fails consistently. The research evidence is compelling. Across post-settler colonial societies like New Zealand, Australia and Canada, schooling is not as effective for Indigenous citizens, employment and housing outcomes are not as good, and health outcomes are worse” in an Opinion Piece in The Conversation, July 11.

Can we question our food self-sufficiency wish?

Kuensel - Can we question our food self sufficiency wish?ILWS PhD student Sangay Wangchuk discusses food security in Bhutan in Kuensel, July 6.

Memo to the environment minister: A river does need all its water

River needs waterDrs Paul Humphries and Keller Kopf write an open memo to Sussan Ley, Federal Environment Minister emphasising it is her role to protect rivers in response to her comment "Sometimes the environment doesn’t need all its water but farmers desperately do need water," in The Conversation, June 20.

Budget lessons in the politics of Indigenous self-determination

budget lessons in the politics of Indigenous self-determination"Policymakers’ values influence decisions about how and why money is spent. It is equally important for Māori people and values to hold influence when policy decisions are made" says Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Conversation, June 5.

Racism alleged as Indigenous children taken from families – even though state care often fails them

Racism allegedIn 2018, the rate at which Māori babies were removed from their families was four times the rate for the rest of the New Zealand population. Dominic O'Sullivan discusses a case where the New Zealand state tried to remove a newborn Māori baby from his family last week in The Conversation, May 14.

Preventing more fish deaths in the lower Darling

Fish deaths in the Lower DarlingOur final report for the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, examines the causes of these events summarises what we found and what we recommend to mitigate the potential for repeat events in the future in an article in Open Forum co-authored by Associate Research Professor Lee Baumgartner et al, April 15.

We wrote the report for the minister on fish deaths in the lower Darling – here’s why it could happen again

The Conversation - Fish deaths in the DarlingThe report examines the causes of these events and recommended actions to mitigate the potential for repeat events in the future. The final report, co-authored by Associate Research Professor Lee Baumgartner et al summarises what they found and what they recommend in The Conversation, April 10.

NZ journalists arrested in Fiji have been released but a new era of press freedom is yet to arrive

The Conversation - NZ Journalists arrested in FijiWhat is unusual is Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s decisive intervention in favour of three New Zealand journalists, who were arrested last week as they investigated environmental degradation by a Chinese property developer building a new resort.  Commentary on press freedom in Fiji in the latest article by Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan, The Conversation, April 9.

Indigenous Peoples and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

ImpakterAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan writes "Each of the United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has special relevance for the world’s 500 million indigenous people. They are among the world’s poorest and most alienated from public decision-making. Yet, they are increasingly using international forums like the UN to exercise an assertive and decisive political voice," appearing in Impakter, March 28.

White supremacy and the Australian politics of race

Open Forum March 28Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan discusses how white supremacism, the ideology driving the Christchurch killer, is prominent and influential in our politics and says racism’s pervasive influence is a deeper problem for which decisive and unequivocal national leadership is required, in The Open Forum, March 28.

Feral cat cull: why the 2 million target is on scientifically shaky ground

Feral Cat CullAssociate Professor Dale Nimmo et al write that the Australian government’s target of killing 2 million feral cats by 2020 attracted significant public interest and media attention when it was unveiled in 2015. But in their new research, published Feb 19 in Conservation Letters, they explain why it has a shaky scientific foundation in The Conversation, February 20.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: An Eightieth Anniversary Reflection

The Universal Declaration’s inference that everybody is entitled to share public sovereignty exists alongside the UNDRIPs presumption that there is also an extant independent indigenous sovereignty. Recognising co-existence of different though overlapping spheres of authority provides a possible path towards substantive human equality for indigenous peoples as much as for anybody else, writes Associate Prof Dominic O'Sullivan, in The Oxford Human Rights Hub, February 11.

The crown is Māori too - citizenship, sovereignty, and the Treaty of Waitangi  

The Conversation - The crown is Maori tooWhat is the Crown, what is sovereignty and how do these relate to citizenship as it has developed from the British subjecthood that the treaty promised? asks Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan in The Conversation, February 8.

We asked five experts: is it safe to run while pregnant?

The Conversation - Running while pregnantMany women love the alone time pounding the pavement for a nice run out in nature, but is this too strenuous? We asked five experts, including the Institute's Professor Rylee Dionigi, if it’s safe to run while pregnant, The Conversation, January 28.

A good plan to help Darling River fish recover exists, so let’s get on with it

The Conversation - Darling River FishDr Lee Baumgartner and Professor Max Finlayson continue the Institute’s input into discussions around the fish kill in the Darling River and remind us the Native Fish Strategy lays out a plan for helping the basin’s fish communities recover from where they are now, at 10% of pre-European levels (0% in some parts), back to 60% over 50 years in The Conversation, January 21.


Lessons from New Zealand on the 'duty to consult' First Nations

The Conversation - Lessons from New ZealandThe complexities and limits of the Crown's "duty to consult" over decisions affecting First Nations' rights is discussed in A/Prof Dominic O'Sullivan's latest Conversation article, November 30.

For the first time we've looked at every threatened bird in Australia side-by-side

The Conversation - Threatened BirdsHow do you measure the success of conservation efforts? Professor Dave Watson and 17 colleagues from a dozen Australian universities along with scientists and private researchers have created a metrics of progress to understand how to manage threats of different intensity and how well that management has been implemented, they describe their analysis of Australian birds in this new article in The Conversation, November 27.

Bainimarama wins again in Fiji, helped by muzzling the media, unions and the church

The Conversation - Fijian election winAssociate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan’s analysis of the results of the Fijian election argues that restrictions on free speech mean that there is no way of testing popular Fijian opinion.  He says “It may have been a free vote. But the conditions for an informed vote – scrutiny and robust debate - were not present” in his piece appearing in The Conversation, November 20.

Two past coup leaders face off in Fiji general election

The Conversation - Fijian electionAssociate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan explores the issues as Fiji faces a general election on Wednesday, just as Australia’s main political parties devote more attention to the western Pacific, driven by worries about China’s growing influence in his opinion piece in The Conversation November 12.

Re-imagining the sovereign: An Indigenous case study in citizenship, self-determination and democratic inclusivity.

Reimagining the sovereignIn his recent article, Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan says “Sovereignty is the embodiment of real political power. People should not feel perpetually excluded from it and there are ways in which public authority can be distributed more fairly and to recognise Maori self-determination.” in the Discover Society, November 6.

Dingo dinners: what's on the menu for Australia's top predator?

The Conversation - Dingo DinnersThe dingo is Australia’s largest land-based predator, occurring across most of the mainland and on many nearshore islands. Associate Professor Dale Nimmo et al's new research has found what dingoes eat depends on where they live. A new paper published in the journal Mammal Review, reveals the breadth and diversity of dingo diets across the continent and the dingo's varied diet is

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 Finlayson 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 wilful 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.

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.

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.

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.


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 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

Impact of domestic dogs

Associate Professor Dale Nimmo on "The bark side: domestic dogs threaten endangered species world-wide," 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

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

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

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. It was picked up by, 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