Editor's note

They call it the “revolving door” – when a government minister leaves parliament and then, shortly thereafter, pops up in a related job in the outside world. Former Liberal ministers Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop are the latest to have raised eyebrows in this regard, to the extent that the Senate is conducting an inquiry into the matter.

But whatever it might conclude, writes George Rennie, Australia’s lobbying regulation regime remains hopelessly ineffective. A quid pro quo arrangement is hard to prove, and even if it was, there would probably be little that would be done about it.

While genuine reform on this issue is not easy it is vital – all that’s needed now is the political will to do so.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Top stories

Former ministers Christopher Pyne and Julie Bishop have appeared before a Senate committee to defend their post-parliamentary jobs. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Australia’s political lobbying regime is broken and needs urgent reform

George Rennie, University of Melbourne

Australian politics' 'revolving door' is undermining efforts to counter lobbying and potential corruption, and the regulation system is hopelessly flawed.

Footprints aren’t always as clear as this - but they nevertheless have their uses. Eddies Images/Shutterstock.com

Forensic science isn’t ‘reliable’ or ‘unreliable’ – it depends on the questions you’re trying to answer

Claude Roux, University of Technology Sydney

The debate about the reliability of forensic evidence reflects a lack of understanding of how forensic science is best used in the justice system, rather than a problem with forensic science itself.

Allowing residents to remove trees within three metres of buildings or ‘ancillary structures’ could dramatically alter the green infrastructure of dense inner Sydney suburbs like Rozelle. Tom Casey/Shutterstock

Trees can add $50,000 value to a Sydney house, so you might want to put down that chainsaw

Sara Wilkinson, University of Technology Sydney; Agnieszka Zalejska-Jonsson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Sumita Ghosh, University of Technology Sydney

Greater urban density is making it harder to preserve, let alone increase, tree cover. It's vital, then, to demonstrate the full value of green infrastructure for healthy liveable cities.

Every reference but one to inequality nearly doubling was removed from an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report. Shutterstock

Another official Australian report has been doctored to gloss over rising inequality

Peter Saunders, UNSW

The Institute for Health and Welfare issued an "errata" to correct statements about inequality that were perfectly correct.

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