It’s always gratifying when our back catalogue of research is given a new lease on life and in the past fortnight we’ve had reason to be extra pleased. Our research on nanotechnology, legal aid, dog-whistling in politics and the adequacy of unemployment benefits have all had another airing.
Nanotechnology – The Australia Institute is supporting a complaint made to the ACCC by Friends of the Earth regarding claims made by Antaria Limited that the zinc oxide sunscreen ingredient it manufacturers is ‘non-nano’. In 2010 the Institute conducted a survey of community attitudes to labelling of products which contain nano-ingredients and 85 per cent of respondents said that labelling should be compulsory for sunscreens and cosmetics.
Legal aid – Earlier this year we published a paper examining access to legal aid and public perceptions of the legal system. We found that around 490,000 Australians each year miss out on legal help for financial reasons or lack of knowledge. We’re delighted that our research is helping Community Law Australia in its campaign for more funding to improve access to legal services.
Dog-whistling in politics – The Gillard Government has accused Tony Abbott of dog-whistling by proposing changes to Australia’s racial vilification laws. Back in 2007, the Institute published the first in-depth examination of this dark art used by our politicians.
Unemployment benefits – For every 20 people employed in Australia there is around one unemployed person. The role of unemployment benefits is to insulate people from the severe financial hardship of going to work one day and discovering that they no longer have a job. The Institute has updated our earlier paper Are unemployment benefits adequate in Australia? and submitted it to the Senate inquiry which is examining this issue.
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