Is it possible for the Coalition to claw back enough seats at the next federal election to take office again? Following the 2022 defeat that saw many traditionally Liberal seats shift into the hands of the teal independents (as well as those that went to the Greens and Labor), the battered Liberals emerged with Peter Dutton as leader and an onerous political task ahead.

Mark Kenny writes that while unity was Dutton’s initial focus, which involved keeping the party room happy, the question is whether what makes the party room happy is the same as what makes voters happy. But the so-called “throwing red meat to the base” within the party involves “belligerent oppositionism, taking the rhetorical fight up to the new government, and sometimes the adoption of core policy ideas deeply held by the true believers”. His soon-to-be-released nuclear power policy may well be a case in point – will it be as popular outside the party room as inside it?

Then there is the Liberals’ so-called “women problem” (or as some commentators have noted, it should perhaps more accurately be called its “man problem”). Retiring Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds has pointed out that until the party finds a way to harness the electoral power of women, it won’t win another election. And given that, shifting further to the right might be exactly the wrong thing to do.

Amanda Dunn

Politics + Society Editor

Why moving to the right could be wrong for Dutton and the Coalition

Mark Kenny, Australian National University

Given the damage to the Liberal “brand” in recent years, the opposition leader faces an arduous task in clawing back seats or winning new ones.

China has finally removed crushing tariffs on Australian wine. But re-establishing ourselves in the market won’t be easy

Weihuan Zhou, UNSW Sydney; James Laurenceson, University of Technology Sydney

Australian wine producers will face stiff competition and a significantly smaller market.

Anthony Albanese puts interventionist industry policy at the centre of his budget agenda

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Anthony Albanese will outline his plan for a “Future Made in Australia Act” which will bring together in a whole package of new and existing initiatives to boost investment in Australia.

Bruce Pascoe’s Black Duck is a ‘healing and necessary’ account of a year on his farm, following a difficult decade after Dark Emu

Julienne van Loon, The University of Melbourne

In Black Duck, Bruce Pascoe traces a calendar year on Yumburra, the farm his bestseller Dark Emu helped to purchase.

Albanese government has ‘irreparably damaged’ Australia’s relations with Israel: Peter Dutton

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

In a hard-line speech, Peter Dutton has said the Albanese Government has failed to provide moral clarity on Israel and cannot see the danger that antisemitism poses to Australia.

No, taking drugs like Ozempic isn’t ‘cheating’ at weight loss or the ‘easy way out’

Clare Collins, University of Newcastle

We don’t tell people taking statins to treat high cholesterol or drugs to manage high blood pressure they’re cheating or taking the easy way out. Nor should we when people take drugs like Ozempic.

‘Watch the ball!’: here’s why some sideline remarks are probably less helpful to your kids than you think

Elise Waghorn, RMIT University

It’s hard not to shout guidance at kids’ sports games. But there are ways to do this without pressuring or criticising your child.

Tougher merger laws will boost competition and improve performance and productivity

Rod Sims, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

The government’s proposed merger reforms put the experts in charge. They will allow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to be the decision-maker, not the courts.

The heat is on: what we know about why ocean temperatures keep smashing records

Alex Sen Gupta, UNSW Sydney; Kathryn Smith, Marine Biological Association; Matthew England, UNSW Sydney; Neil Holbrook, University of Tasmania; Thomas Wernberg, The University of Western Australia; Zhi Li, UNSW Sydney

Heat is surging in the world’s oceans. Climate change and El Niño explain part of it – but not all.

NZ’s mental healthcare is in crisis – but research shows us how to shorten wait times and keep staff

Melanie Woodfield, University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau; Hiran Thabrew, University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau

Quality mental healthcare requires more than training clinicians. They also need to be supported to implement their knowledge in the therapy room.

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    Carol Richards, Queensland University of Technology; Bree Hurst, Queensland University of Technology; Hope Johnson, Queensland University of Technology; Rudolf Messner, Queensland University of Technology

    Proposed toughening of the food and grocery code of conduct is long overdue. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will need to be well resourced to properly regulate the sector.


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