Editor's note

Do you buy products made with slave labour? The chances are you do, but just don’t think about it – and possibly don’t really care. The University of Melbourne’s Michal Carrington and her colleagues have been interested in why many consumers feel no guilt about benefiting from the exploitation of others. Their research highlights the reasons we use to justify not caring.

Over the past 12 months, there has been much discussion of our immigration policy - too many immigrants, too few, just right? And recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he has heard the message that “Australians in our biggest cities are concerned about population”. But as Andrew Markus writes, they may not be as concerned as we have been led to believe. In fact, two recent Scanlon Foundation surveys reveal that a minority of Australians think immigration is too high - most think the levels are OK or should be increased.

Tim Wallace

Deputy Editor: Business + Economy

Top Stories

Modern slaves are not kept in literal chains, but this does not justify being oblivious to it. Consumers should care about how a product is made. Shutterstock

We all buy slave-made products: here’s how we avoid feeling guilty

Michal Carrington, University of Melbourne; Andreas Chatzidakis, Royal Holloway; Deirdre Shaw, University of Glasgow

Hidden slavery is a growing global problem but we continue to turn a blind eye and embrace a seemingly insatiable demand for fast, cheap goods and services.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he has heard “loud and clear” that “Australians in our biggest cities are concerned about population”. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australians think immigration should be cut? Well, it depends on how you ask

Andrew Markus, Monash University

The results of three surveys show that, in testing public opinion, much hangs on how the questions are asked and the surveys are designed.

An unconventional gas valve in WA’s Kimberley region, which has been newly opened up to fracking. AAP Image

Fracking policies are wildly inconsistent across Australia, from gung-ho development to total bans

Hanabeth Luke, Southern Cross University; Martin Brueckner, Murdoch University; Nia Emmanouil, Southern Cross University

The Western Australian government's decision to green-light fracking in selected areas aims to walk a line between industry interests and community opposition. But across Australia the picture varies widely.

Health + Medicine

  • Health Check: I’m taking antibiotics – when will they start working?

    Christine Carson, University of Western Australia; Tim Inglis, University of Western Australia

    It's hard to predict how long it will take to feel better after you start taking antibiotics. But if you start feeling worse one to two days after starting the therapy, you must see your doctor.

  • Explainer: what is nitrous oxide (or nangs) and how dangerous is it?

    Stephen Bright, Edith Cowan University; Nicole Lee, Curtin University

    Media-driven panic about drugs can create a perception more people are using the drug than they actually are, and when teens think 'everyone' is doing it, they are more likely to want to do it too.

Science + Technology


Arts + Culture

  • Escher x nendo will surprise, delight and challenge

    Sasha Grishin, Australian National University

    There is nothing to prepare us for the shock to the senses in the National Gallery of Victoria's latest exhibition combining the works of M. C. Escher with Japanese design firm nendo.

Politics + Society

Environment + Energy


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