I got my rental increase notice just before Christmas. In February the rent will increase by 35%. Ouch.

So I count myself among the millions of Austalians deeply interested in what the Albanese government does in 2023 to tackle the worsening housing affordability crisis.

Its success will shape its legacy as a Labor government. As the Grattan Institute’s Brendan Coates and Joey Moloney write today: “If we want to address inequality, we will have to fix housing.”

Their research shows that while average full-time earnings have doubled over the past half-century, home prices have quadrupled. This has contributed to the wealth of high-income households increasing by more than 50% over the past two decades, while the wealth of low-income households, mostly renters, grew by less than 10%.

Tim Wallace

Deputy Business + Economy Editor

How housing made rich Australians 50% richer, leaving renters and the young behind – and how to fix it

Brendan Coates, Grattan Institute; Joey Moloney, Grattan Institute

High home prices are boosting inheritances, meaning positions in society increasingly owe more to which family you’re born into than to talent or hard work. But there are solutions.

Long before Silicon Valley, scholars in ancient Iraq created an intellectual hub that revolutionised science

Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, Australian National University

The House of Wisdom was populated by a number of multitalented thinkers – at a time marked by fervent collaboration and intellectual prosperity in the Arabic-speaking world.

Too many smelly candles? Here’s how scents impact the air quality in your home

Svetlana Stevanovic, Deakin University

Indoor air quality is affected by many things – and intentionally releasing a mix of chemicals is high on the list.

What are ‘masking’ and ‘camouflaging’ in the context of autism and ADHD?

Beth Radulski, La Trobe University

Masking or camouflaging is where people conceal certain traits and replace them with neurotypical ones to avoid being recognised as visibly neurodiverse.

Meet the eastern bristlebird: tragically under-appreciated, and one fire away from local extinction

Dominique Potvin, University of the Sunshine Coast

But here’s why this seemingly unremarkable bird could save other, less obvious species from devastation.

Guide to the classics: Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South – class warfare, ‘shoppy people’ and radical love

Matthew Sussman, University of Sydney

North and South is a sensitive, complex, and controversial account of the many tensions that were tearing Britain apart in the heart of the 19th century.

Road to nowhere: why the suburban cul-de-sac is an urban planning dead end

Timothy Welch, University of Auckland

Developers love the cul-de-sac, but for the rest of us it’s one of the least practical and efficient ways to design streets.

Can customary harvesting of NZ’s native species be sustainable? Archaeology and palaeo-ecology provide some answers

Nic Rawlence, University of Otago; Kerry Walton, University of Otago; Richard Walter, University of Otago

An overhaul of Aotearoa’s conservation laws could allow Māori to resume traditional harvesting practices of some native species.


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