How much of a role will an anti-corruption body play in this election? Labor has promised a national integrity commission by Christmas if elected, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to be walking back from a commitment at the 2019 election to institute one. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce does not think voters even particularly care about it at all.

But as Yee-Fui Ng writes, research suggests otherwise, showing about two-thirds of people in favour of such a body, with the last term of parliament offering up plenty of examples of why it might be needed. Remember “sports rorts”? “Car park rorts”? The Western Sydney airport deal? To name just a few. None of this, Ng argues, has inspired much confidence in terms of integrity issues, and robust checks and balances on government power are essential to a vibrant democracy.

And one issue we haven’t heard much about during the campaign so far is higher education - which is perhaps not a surprise given the past decade of funding cuts and unfavourable policies. However, as Gavin Moodie explains today, with the number of 18-year-olds projected to increase, it will fast become an issue if funding isn’t improved and young people can’t find a university place. There are a few simple things the major parties can do to improve the situation for higher education in Australia.

Finally, Peter Martin writes that a model refined in 2000 by two former Melbourne University academics found most federal election results can be predicted by two economic indicators - and this time it’s pointing to a Coalition win.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Explainer: what are Labor and the Coalition promising on an anti-corruption commission and what is the government’s record?

Yee-Fui Ng, Monash University

The Morrison government has walked back on its pledge to establish a federal anti-corruption commission, while its term in government was peppered with allegations of corrupt behaviour.

Here’s what the major parties need to do about higher education this election

Gavin Moodie, RMIT University

Universities have seen a decade of cuts and unfavourable policies under the Coalition government. Here’s what the major parties should be promising now.

This economic model tipped the last 2 elections – and it’s now pointing to a Coalition win

Peter Martin, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University

Two key economic indicators are the key to predicting most of the past 120 years of federal elections results – including ones the polls have famously got wrong.

How much do mainstream media matter in an election campaign? (Spoiler: more than you might think)

Denis Muller, The University of Melbourne

Data show many mainstream print media outlets are growing their readership - but it would be worrying if this was because they are aping what happens on social media.

Older Australians on the tough choices they face as energy costs set to increase

Ross Gordon, Queensland University of Technology

Australian policy is increasingly focused on what’s known as ‘successful ageing’ – helping people feel satisfied, happier and healthier as they age. But for that, you need access to affordable energy.

What should happen to the private health insurance rebate this election? A $7 billion question

Henry Cutler, Macquarie University; Anam Bilgrami, Macquarie University

The government has spent $100 billion on the private health insurance rebate. Why? And does it represent value for money?

How to survive a tactical nuclear bomb? Defence experts explain

Robert K. Niven, Australian Defence Force Academy; Chi-King Lee, Australian Defence Force Academy; Damith Mohotti; Paul Hazell, Australian Defence Force Academy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned nations to prepare for the possibility that Russia will use tactical nuclear weapons.

Below the Line: Will anyone watch the Morrison vs Albanese debate? And will a transphobia debate divide the Liberals? – podcast

Benjamin Clark, The Conversation

In the fourth episode of our new election podcast, our panel discuss Anthony Albanese's visit to BluesFest, a Liberal's controversial comments on trans issues and whether anyone watches live debates.

Politics + Society

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    Susan Hazel, University of Adelaide; Julia Henning, University of Adelaide

    Although cats are evolved for night-time activity, during domestication they have adapted to human lifestyles. There’s plenty you can do to try and get your cat to stop waking you in the wee hours.

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