The numbers are staggering: Australia’s political parties spent $417 million in the year leading up to the 2022 federal election, with the Coalition outspending Labor $132 million to $116 million.

As Kate Griffiths and Iris Chan from the Grattan Institute write, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party was second only to the Coalition on spending, outlaying $123 million. And Palmer himself played a large role in that, with his company Mineralogy donating $117 million to his party. Meanwhile, the Teal independents collectively spent $21 million at the federal election.

What does it all mean? First, a glance at the figures shows spending big doesn’t necessarily equate to seats – for the first time since 2010, for example, the party with the deepest pockets did not win the election.

But with such a large amount of money in play, the authors argue more needs to be done to ensure transparency and prevent the “buying” of influence. In addition, parliament should introduce a spending cap during election campaigns to reduce the influence money might have on our politics. “Limiting expenditure by political parties – and third parties – would reduce parties’ dependency on major donors and limit the 'arms race' to raise more and more funds.“

Amanda Dunn

Politics + Society Editor

Big money was spent on the 2022 election – but the party with the deepest pockets didn’t win

Kate Griffiths, Grattan Institute; Iris Chan, Grattan Institute

Among the more arresting figures are that Clive Palmer spent more than the Labor Party on the 2022 election, and for the first time since 2010, the party that had the biggest wallet didn’t win.

Why the violence between Israel and the Palestinians may be entering a devastating new phase

Susan de Groot Heupner, Griffith University

Newly emerged Palestinian militant groups are increasingly fragmented and calling for a popular uprising. This, in turn, coincides with a radical shift to the extreme right in Israel’s government.

8 everyday foods you might not realise are ultra processed – and how to spot them

Sarah Dickie, Deakin University; Julie Woods, Deakin University; Mark Lawrence, Deakin University; Priscila Machado, Deakin University

‘Ultra-processed’ is not just another term for junk food. It has been shown to be bad for the body and the planet – and it can be tricky to identify.

The pleasure and pain of cinephilia: what happened when I watched Groundhog Day every day for a year

Adam Daniel, Western Sydney University

On a Monday morning in September of 2021, I sat down on my couch and hit play.

Australia is finally getting a last-chance view of a green comet not seen for 50,000 years

Jonti Horner, University of Southern Queensland

Skies in the Northern Hemisphere have been graced by a rare, green comet. Now, it’s our turn to look for it in Australia – but the view will be dimming rapidly.

The world’s oldest fossils or oily gunk? New research suggests these 3.5 billion-year-old rocks don’t contain signs of life

Birger Rasmussen, The University of Western Australia; Janet Muhling, The University of Western Australia

Ancient rocks from Western Australia may not contain the world’s oldest fossils – but they do preserve organic compounds that may have formed the raw materials for the first living cells.

Kath O'Connor was writing a novel about her grandmother’s ovarian cancer when she was diagnosed, too. She died before it was published

Jen Webb, University of Canberra

Kath O'Connor’s debut novel, Inheritance, follows two women – an IVF hopeful and her grandmother – who carry the BRCA1 gene and contract ovarian cancer. It’s very close to being memoir.

Humanising capitalism: Jim Chalmers designs a new version of an old Labor project

Carol Johnson, University of Adelaide

The treasurer has outlined a blueprint for an economy that will solve problems while still looking after the people at its centre. And despite the detractors, there is much to be said for it.

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