Gonski 2.0 is a win for the Coalition on school policy, if not politics

After twists and turns and amendments we have a better funding system – but that doesn’t mean everyone’s happy

The most ridiculous thing about the school funding bill that became law just before 2am on Friday morning is the fact that most of the parliament agree on the basic principle at its heart.

The Coalition, Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, One Nation and three of five remaining crossbenchers agree on the concept of needs-based funding.

Continue reading…

Paris agreement’s 1.5C target ‘only way’ to save coral reefs, Unesco says

First global assessment of climate change impact on world heritage-listed reefs says local efforts are ‘no longer sufficient’

Greater emissions reductions and delivering on the Paris climate agreement are now “the only opportunity” to save coral reefs the world over from decline, with local responses no longer sufficient, a report by Unesco has found.

The first global scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change on the 29 world heritage-listed coral reefs, published on Saturday, found that the frequency, intensity and duration of heat-stress events had worsened with increasing global warming, with massive consequences for the 29 world heritage sites.

Continue reading…

Andrew McConnell’s gingerbread pudding recipe

The chef shares one of the dishes that has made Melbourne’s Supernormal restaurant so popular

I have time for most types of pudding in the winter but a pudding that contains ginger and treacle is another story. I love the aromatic addition of the spices. The pear brings a lovely texture and freshness. The deal breaker though is the chunks of candied stem ginger. Coming across these chunks of chewy sweet ginger in the pudding is a real treat.

A cinch to knock up and pop into the oven as you sit down to dinner, if you can’t be bothered poaching pears to add to the pudding, don’t. It is equally delicious without them.

Continue reading…

Sorry seems to be the hardest word – and voters might not forgive at the ballot box | Andrew Stafford

Apologies make us better people. But a simple reading of the polls should help politicians understand why an apology might be in order

The federal health minister Greg Hunt, human services minister Alan Tudge and assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar are lucky men. The three have been spared contempt of court charges after issuing a grovelling, if belated apology to the Victorian appeals court, chief justice Marilyn Warren and her colleagues Stephen Kaye and Mark Weinberg.

The apology was reluctant: only last week the two ministers and Sukkar, via solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue QC, expressed half-hearted regrets for making potentially prejudicial remarks about an appeal that was before the court. They accused the judges of being “hard-left activists” who were “divorced from reality”. Hunt accused the court itself of being a forum for “ideological experiments”.

Continue reading…

The avoidable death of Davey Browne: how an inquest exposed boxing’s failures

The findings of a New South Wales coroner showed that serious injury or death in the ring can’t be explained away as ‘just one of those things’

Davey Browne’s family was calm and composed in the packed room at the New South Wales coroner’s court. It had been 21 months since Browne died in Liverpool hospital, three days after he was knocked out in the final round of a professional boxing bout.

Amy Lavelle, Browne’s wife, now a single parent to their two small children, Rocklyn and Flynn, had been adamant that her husband’s death could have been prevented. Now, the coroner was vindicating that belief.

Continue reading…

Wayne Macauley on his new book: ‘We prefer to shut death away from ourselves’

Acclaimed Australian author casts absurdist eye over medical testing maze and asks, what are we so afraid of?

Death in literature often appears as penance or as a catalyst for other action. It is a slightly uncomfortable experience, then, to delve into a book that puts death at its centre but refuses to take a stance on whether or not it is a bad thing.

Wayne Macauley’s eclectic new novel, Some Tests, tackles the topic of death in a surreal way. It begins benignly enough: Beth is an aged care worker, a mother, and a wife who one day feels slightly unwell. Yet the familiar trudge from home to GP to specialist slowly expands, as Beth unwittingly finds herself on an all-consuming odyssey of referrals. As the days pass, she is swallowed up by an increasingly confused web of medical professionals dotted throughout the outer suburbs of Melbourne, and the possibility of even simply returning home grows ever more distant.

Continue reading…