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Why peace negotiations haven’t gained any traction in the Ukraine war – and how the stalemate could be broken

23 Mar 2023
A year after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine is in ruins. At least 8,000 civilians have died, with millions displaced. Generations of infrastructure have been destroyed. Large tracts of the environment and agricultural land have been devastated. A world food shortage has been created. The global economy is in crisis mode. The world has drawn closer to the unspeakable catastrophe of a nuclear war.....Read more.

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As Western Sydney residents grapple with climate change, they want political action

08 Mar 2023
Western Sydney is being developed rapidly, increasing its already high vulnerability to climate change. One day in January 2020, Penrith was the hottest place on Earth. Residents who have endured searing heat, bushfires, heavy rain, floods and huge damage bills in recent years are now a political force.....Read more.

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Are you living in a food desert? These maps suggest it can make a big difference to your health

17 Jan 2023
Public concerns about high food prices highlight how meeting basic human needs can’t be taken for granted, even in a country like Australia. Food prices are but one part of the equation that determines access to food – and healthy eating more generally. Just as poverty for some can be hidden within a relatively wealthy community, lack of access to fresh....Read more.

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Qatar World Cup: Socceroos’ best ever performance, and what it means for the game in Australia ahead of hosting the Women’s World Cup

07 Dec 2022
Before the men’s FIFA World Cup commenced, the Socceroos’ most noteworthy contribution seemed likely to be their pre-emptive video campaign on human rights in host country Qatar. The political debate receded somewhat once the action on the field kicked off. After losing their opening game heavily to world champions France, the focus was....Read more.

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‘You have to beg for help’: how our welfare system pressures people to perform vulnerability

07 Dec 2022
People who rely on welfare payments to survive are often required to repeatedly tell stories of their personal hardships. In a conditional welfare system, many must regularly attend compulsory appointments, job search training courses, and self-development and treatment programs simply to receive their payments. People in extreme hardship often tell their stories....Read more.

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You’ve got a friend: young people help each other with their mental health for 3.5 hours every week

30 Nov 2022
Young people experience mental health difficulties at a higher rate than any other age group. While there’s an ongoing discussion about the formal supports they need, young people say they’re most likely to speak with peers and friends – particularly when mental health care is difficult to access.....Read more.

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A Vietnam veteran anthropologist and an Arnhem Land community have worked together for over 40 years. Don Watson tells their story.

24 Nov 2022
With The Passion of Private White, Don Watson has written a witty and compassionate book about friendship, Indigenous self-determination and people under stress.“Private White” is Neville White, an anthropologist and Vietnam veteran who has spent two months a year....Read more.


ICS Researchers Feature in Future-Makers

18 Nov 2022
The sixth edition of Future-Makers is now available to read online. This issue focuses on the enduring effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities and features three articles on the collaborative and impactful research taking place at the ICS.....Read more.

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First Nations women are 69 times more likely to have a head injury after being assaulted. We show how hard it is to get help

11 Nov 2022
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 69 times more likely than non-First Nations women to go to hospital with a head injury because of an assault. But not all First Nations women get the support they need. Our new study shows how health....Read more.

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Moving beyond the media’s ‘deficit lens’ is essential for racialised peoples to claim belonging. Here’s how they’re doing it

09 Nov 2022
Australia’s mainstream media has long viewed refugees, migrants and Indigenous communities through a “deficit lens”. That’s where these populations – in all their glorious complexity – are framed simply as a “problem” that needs to be “fixed”. Never achieving enough.....Read more.

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The Right Stuff: the new conservative dating app which has unsurprisingly, failed to attract women

14 Oct 2022
The Right Stuff is a new conservative dating app, recently launched in the US. Not yet available in Australia, the app was apparently created “for conservatives to connect in authentic and meaningful ways.” It offers to bring people together with shared values and similar passions,....Read more.

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The retirement of Roger Federer is the abdication of tennis royalty

20 Sep 2022
This is a time of endings. In the midst of the all-consuming media spectacle surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II, “tennis royalty” in the form of Roger Federer will retire in the same week and in the same city that she is laid to rest.When the career of a sporting celebrity concludes, it is widely represented as if they have died, in what journalists call “sports obituaries”.....Read more.


Submission to the National Cultural Policy

04 Sep 2022
Recently the Federal Government put out a call for submissions to the National Cultural Policy, which will shape Australia’s arts, entertainment and cultural sector for the next decade. As an academic institution which works consistently in areas of cultural policy, ICS has submitted two responses to the call.....Read more.


The Qatar Men’s FIFA World Cup 2022: Free Kick or Body Check for Human Rights?

22 Jul 2022
The Qatar men’s FIFA World Cup 2022 will take place in November. There will be plenty of enjoyable football on show, but we should all keep our eyes on the human rights ball. The men’s FIFA World Cup 2022 was controversial from the moment that FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced Qatar had won the right to host it.....Read more.

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Census data shows we’re more culturally diverse than ever. Our institutions must reflect this

29 Jun 2022
Initial data from the 2021 census released this week shows Australia continues to become more culturally diverse. Almost half of us have at least one parent born overseas (48.2%), and almost a quarter of us (24.8%) speak a language other than English at home.....Read more.

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Paul Daley’s Jesustown: a novel of lurid, postcolonial truth-telling

29 Jun 2022
How can fiction contribute to the “truth” that the Uluru Statement asks us to tell? Allen and Unwin’s answer to that question is, in part, one of paratext. By composing a book’s paratext, a publisher addresses the reader about how to experience the book. The paratext of Paul Daley’s Jesustown includes 12 signed commendations on the first four pages and a four-page “Author Note” at the end of the story.....Read more.

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Climate change hits low-income earners harder – and poor housing in hotter cities is a disastrous combination

16 May 2022
Cost of living is a major focus in this election campaign, and yet political leaders have been unacceptably silent on the disproportionate impact of climate change on Australians with low incomes. This is particularly true for Western Sydney, home to around 2.5 million people. Over the last half century, the balance of Sydney’s social housing has....Read more.

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‘It’s not work-life balance, it’s work-work balance’ Politicians tell us what it’s like to be an MP

16 May 2022
We are currently watching candidates battle night and day to win a spot in federal parliament. Many put their lives on hold trying to become an MP. What is it like when they get there? In recent years, Australian politicians have been under immense pressure, responding to COVID-19, floods, fires and international war. Yet, research repeatedly shows Australians’ trust of political leaders is at an all-time low.....Read more.

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Now we know the flaws of carbon offsets, it’s time to get real about climate change

02 May 2022
Last month former carbon market watchdog Andrew MacIntosh blew the whistle on Australia’s carbon offset market. He described the scheme as a “rort” with up to 80% of carbon offsets “markedly low in integrity”.While these allegations reignited debate over carbon offsets, the issues are not new. Integrity issues have plagued carbon trading....Read more.

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‘I always have trouble with forms’: homeless people on how poor literacy affects them – and what would help

14 Apr 2022
Homelessness remains a huge problem in Australia and an important contributing factor is low literacy levels. We interviewed 23 people who were homeless or had experienced homelessness to find out how they viewed literacy and participation in literacy classes. We wanted to know what would help or hinder them in attending literacy classes. Our report found low literacy levels....Read more.

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Preselection and parachuting candidates: 3 reasons parties override their local branch members, despite the costs

06 Apr 2022
Allegations emerged over the weekend that Prime Minister Scott Morrison used a racist slur in a preselection battle in 2007. Morrison strongly denies the allegations, which were detailed in two statutory declarations and have been backed by Michael Towke, who was his rival for the seat of Cook at the time. The issue has brought into focus preselection processes and minority representation in Australian politics.....Read more.

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Distance, dispassion and the remaking of Australian History

06 Apr 2022
Anna Clark could have titled her book “Remaking Australian History”, for that is its narrative arc. She celebrates a change in the stories Australians can tell of their nation: from a heroic tale of white male achievements (populating and fructifying an empty land, establishing a variant of western civilisation) to stories that acknowledge the continent’s ancient human past, the brutalities of colonisation, and the diversity and increasing self-doubts of the usurping newcomers.....Read more.

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Under-resourced and undermined: as floods hit south-west Sydney, our research shows councils aren’t prepared

10 Mar 2022
Thousands of people in south-western Sydney have been ordered to evacuate as extreme rain pummels the region and floodwaters rise rapidly. The downpour is expected to continue for days. This region, particularly Western Sydney, is no stranger to climate-related disasters. Rain is falling on catchments already sodden from severe floods in March last year.....Read more.

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Vale Shane Warne: a cricketing genius who lived a life of ‘no regrets’

10 Mar 2022
When the news broke it was tempting to conclude swiftly that Shane Warne died as he had lived. On holiday in Thailand, nudge nudge. The tabloids, especially in Britain where he lived much of his life, had luridly chronicled his life. Many may have speculated that he died living life to the fullest. As it turned out, Warne, who was just 52, had declared he was on....Read more.

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From ‘Vladdy daddy’ to fake TikToks: how to guide your child through Ukraine news online

02 Mar 2022
Much of what tweens and teenagers know about the Russia-Ukraine conflict comes from TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram.Their social media feeds contain images of tanks, bombs and propaganda. Our kids could stumble across extreme footage and we’ll likely never know. They will also have seen spam and memes about “Vladdy daddy” – the nickname of Russian president Vladimir Putin....Read more.

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What is a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ relationship launch? Explaining the celebrity-led trend

21 Feb 2022
The days of speedily updating your Facebook status the moment a new relationship is made official are long gone. In fact, the Facebook relationship update could be described as somewhat passé, replaced instead by a new form of social media relationship documentation....Read more.

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Here Out West: a film that centres Western Sydney through tales of marginality

09 Feb 2022
Produced by Western Sydney-based company Co-Curious and Emerald Productions, Here Out West doesn’t follow the traditional anthology film formula, and it doesn’t showcase the glamorous post codes of Sydney, or assemble the works of big name creatives and cast. Nonetheless Here out West, a film that intertwines eight distinct interconnected scenarios set in Western Sydney, is as....Read more.

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What the Ash Barty and ‘Special K’ tennis triumphs say about Australia and the buttoned-up sport industry

02 Feb 2022
The lead-up to the 2022 Australian Open was dominated by the unvaccinated top-ranked male tennis player Novak Djokovic’s ignominious deportation from Australia.Djokovic’s absence prompted claims this would be an inferior Grand Slam. Enter the contrasting Australian tennis characters of Ash Barty and her supporting cast of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis to fill the vacuum.....Read more.

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‘Disappointment and disbelief’ after Morrison government vetoes research into student climate activism’

19 Jan 2022
Between 2019 and early 2021, we developed a research proposal asking for funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC). The project was to investigate the mass student climate action movement and its relationship to democracy. A few weeks ago, on Christmas Eve, we learnt via Twitter that the ARC had recommended our research proposal for funding, but....Read more.

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A statement on political interference in grant schemes

18 Jan 2022
We join others in expressing our disappointment at the Education Minister’s decision on 24 December 2021 to withhold funding for a grant by Associate Professor Philippa Collin and colleagues to study Australian young people’s leadership and participation in the climate action movement and the implications of this for contemporary democracy.....Read more.

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Pat Cummins becomes Australian men’s test captain: why is it so rare for a fast bowler to take the reins?

01 Dec 2021
Australian men’s test cricket captain Tim Paine’s sudden resignation due to a sexting scandal meant a rapid search for a suitable new captain. The most obvious choice was Pat Cummins, the current vice-captain and the world’s best fast bowler. Cricket Australia has today confirmed Cummins will step into the role ahead of the Ashes series starting on December 8. Steve Smith will be the deputy.....Read more.


Prof. Deborah Stevenson has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia

11 Nov 2021
Professor Deborah Stevenson from the Institute of Culture and Society has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA).The Academy, established in 1971, promotes excellence and encourages outstanding achievement in the social sciences in Australia. Fellows are elected by their peers for their distinguished achievements and exceptional contributions made to.....Read more.


Technology, identity, and the spaces in between

04 Nov 2021
Since coronavirus spread throughout the world, the majority of us have spent more time online and involved in digital activities. Even prior to the pandemic, many people were concerned or sceptical about the increasing reliance on the digital that western culture has experienced in recent decades. These concerns have understandably intensified since the pandemic started and there are some very real downsides to increased technology use.....Read more.


Press Release - Australian Media Literacy Alliance

03 Nov 2021
The Australian Media Literacy Alliance (AMLA) has released a report this Global Media and Information Literacy Week that calls for a united and collaborative approach to the development of a national Media Literacy strategy for all Australians in response to the barrage of misinformation impacting society.....Read more.

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After a bombshell day at ICAC, questions must be asked about integrity in Australian politics

27 Oct 2021
A few days into the current Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) proceedings in NSW, and it appears two relatively popular former NSW premiers and Cabinet colleagues – Gladys Berejiklian and Mike Baird – might hold markedly different views on integrity in public office.In fact, Baird, who is not accused of any wrongdoing,....Read more.

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Howzat? The Ashes are on, but so is the pandemic

14 Oct 2021
Although yet to be confirmed officially, men’s Ashes cricket in Australia seems certain to commence in December. A women’s Ashes test and other matches are also scheduled for early 2022 with much less fanfare. The relief of cricket authorities and fans is palpable.Negotiations over the tour between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB),....Read more.

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Australia’s housing laws are changing, but do they go far enough to prevent pet abandonment?

29 Sep 2021
New South Wales recently became the latest state to end blanket bans on pets in apartments, joining Queensland and the ACT.Other housing regulations on pets are also shifting nationally, with Victoria last year following the ACT with reforms that....Read more.

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What this collaboration between artists and health-care leaders teaches us about living through COVID-19

29 Sep 2021
A new project that spotlights the strain from COVID-19 on our health systems and the people who work in them has invited health-care leaders and artists to create artworks that illuminate what it has been like leading, working and living through the pandemic.The culmination of this collaboration is Topsy Turvy, an interactive digital exhibition initiated by the....Read more.

Binge: Television Feast, Cultural Famine?

17 Sep 2021
Talking about television generates many words relating to ingestion, like TV appetite, fare, diet, menu and, currently in vogue, binge. Is binging just another stage in the evolution of television viewing or a fast flowing pipeline to unhealthy cultures and bodies? Emeritus Professor David Rowe gave this keynote for The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in September 2021....Read more.

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Technology is key for refugees starting new lives in Australia. But women and children don’t have equal access

14 Sep 2021
As evacuees and refugees from Afghanistan start their new lives in Australia, their ability to navigate the digital world will be crucial. Our research, published today, reveals how newly arrived refugees use digital technologies as they begin this new chapter.Importantly, new arrivals will need some level of digital know-how to participate in QR code-based contact tracing, to access COVID testing, book vaccination....Read more.

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China’s new rules allow kids on video games just 3 hours a week – but gaming addiction isn’t about time, it’s about attitude

08 Sep 2021
People in China under the age of 18 will only be allowed to play video games between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and on public holidays, under new rules introduced this week. China’s state media service says the rules aim to curb gaming addiction.China has a history of making dramatic....Read more.

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I turned to The Secret Life of Us for warm nostalgia. Instead, I found jarring memories

02 Sep 2021
In the throes of lockdown, the desire for certainty is unequivocal. The pandemic has shattered the predictability of our everyday lives, making the future precarious. Where to seek solace? In nostalgia, perhaps. The sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.For me, memories of The Secret Life of Us screamed comfort, certainty and nostalgia. Stumbling upon the four seasons....Read more.

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Brad Hazzard is wrong about multicultural western Sydney

13 Aug 2021
With COVID numbers surging in Sydney’s multicultural western suburbs, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard speculated that migrant and refugee communities in the region “haven’t built up trust in government”, which might make them reluctant to engage with health authorities.And yesterday, Hazzard made another oblique reference to residents in western Sydney by saying,....Read more.

Jungle Passports: Fences, Mobility, and Citizenship at the Northeast India-Bangladesh Border

09 Aug 2021
When Malini Sur visited a remote village along the India-Bangladesh border for the first time to conduct fieldwork for her PhD dissertation in 2007, she had no intention of staying in the area or conducting fieldwork until 2015. Or even writing a book. At that time, she intended to study the lives and the journeys of the undocumented Bangladeshi migrants who travelled from the border into various Indian cities.....Read more.

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The Brisbane Olympics are a leap into an unknowable future

23 Jul 2021
There’ll be two types of Australian high jump in Tokyo this month. The first, most likely scripted, was Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s front row leap after Brisbane was awarded the right to host the 2032 Olympics.The second will be in response to Australia winning any medals. Palaszczuk’s leap is also a plunge into an uncertain future.For the next 11 years there will be much debate about whether it’s worth it.....Read more.


ICS Olympics Coverage

16 Jul 2021
The Tokyo Olympics have become a major talking point following the endless concerns and controversies surrounding the games. The Olympic games and the philosophy behind Olympism have long been a centre of cultural attention. Here is some of the media coverage and academic research papers written on past and present Olympic games by our ICS members.....Read more.

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Getting ready for climate change is about people, not spreadsheets. Let’s use our imaginations

14 May 2021
Measures in this week’s federal budget to help Australians withstand and adapt to climate change are sorely needed, after years of cuts in this policy area.The Morrison government has funded a raft of initiatives, including A$600 million to establish a National Recovery and Resilience Agency and A$210....Read more.

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Ghana’s new rental scheme won’t fix the real problem: a housing shortage

06 May 2021
Ghana’s government has announced a loan scheme to help tenants pay the hefty advance rent (often covering two years) to private landlords. Advance rent is also prevalent in several other African countries.Scholars have highlighted several problems this advance rent payment poses to renters.....Read more.

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It’s not surprising Indian-Australians feel singled out. They have long been subjected to racism

06 May 2021
In the past five years, the number of overseas-born migrants from India grew more than any other group in Australia, increasing from 449,000 to 721,000. Indian residents leapfrogged New Zealand-born and China-born migrants in the 2020....Read more.

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Planning shake-up needed to help those whose job it is to make NSW a healthy place

06 May 2021
You’d be forgiven for asking if living in some parts of New South Wales is actually good for your health. In the past 18 months Australia’s most populous state has been challenged like never before. Unprecedented bushfires, a global pandemic and recent flooding have posed huge questions, which sit alongside other 21st-century.....Read more.

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Less than half of Australian adults know how to identify misinformation online

15 Apr 2021
For most of us, it’s hard to imagine a media-free day.Understanding what’s happening in the world, maintaining our social media profiles, staying in touch with family, being entertained, making new friends, engaging with governments, and with our democracy, are all activities that usually require media participation.....Read more.

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REPORT: Adult Media Literacy in Australia

31 Mar 2021
The Adult Media Literacy in Australia report, provides the first comprehensive analysis into how Australians understand and use different forms of traditional and digital media. The report involves a collaboration between researchers at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology and the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra.....Read more.

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How young LGBTQIA+ people used social media to thrive during COVID lockdowns

18 Mar 2021
During COVID-19 lockdowns, a major concern for LGBTIQ+ communities, mental health professionals and academics was that young lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning, intersex and asexual+ people may suffer from being stuck in transphobic, biphobic or homophobic households.....Read more.


New resource to create cooler future cities

25 Feb 2021
A new online resource will help local councils, planners and developers create cooler cities in a warming climate, especially in areas such as western Sydney where heatwave temperatures are expected to reach 50C by 2050.....Read more.

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How new design patterns can enable cities and their residents to change with climate change

25 Feb 2021
Our cities, designed for one set of climatic ranges, are increasingly “out of place” as average temperatures rise. The days above 40℃ and nights above 30℃ are increasing, especially in the expanding suburbs of Australian cities. This presents us with a massive redesign project.....Read more.

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Can I have a pet and be housed, too? It all depends

23 Feb 2021
Six housing experts spanning five Australian universities undertook the study of animal-inclusive housing and options for reform, the first of its kind internationally. It assesses state and territory housing and legislative reforms in the private rental sector, social housing, homelessness services, strata title, aged care and caravan parks. Here they explain what they found.....Read more.

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You can’t have a Hollywood meet cute on a dating app — but is that such a bad thing?

11 Feb 2021
The “meet cute” is the moment in which two unlikely people encounter each other while going about their ordinary lives, and something extraordinary begins. In the romantic comedy The Holiday (2006), Arthur (Eli Wallach) describes it thus to Iris (Kate Winslet):....Read more.

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