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  • A quick overview of the proposed Senate electoral system

    Posted 22/09/2015 by Damon Muller
    Senate chamber

    In an interview with the ABC’s Radio National on 22 September 2015 the new Special Minister of State, Hon Mal Brough MP, indicated that he intended to pursue reform of the Senate electoral system. Citing the need to strengthen Australia’s democracy and democratic engagement by implementing a more representative system, the Minister stated that ideally the new system would be in place for the next election (due in the normal course of events in the second half of 2016).

    In an Interim Report released in May 2014, the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) proposed what is perhaps the most radical overhaul of the electoral system used to elect the Australian Senate since 1948, when the much-criticised block system was abolished and proportional representation by Single Transferable Vote was first introduced. The government has not yet formally responded to the Committee’s report.


    TAGS: elections, electoral reform, Senate

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  • Electing the party leader - recent events in Australia and the UK, update September 2015

    Posted 18/09/2015 by Deirdre McKeown
    A  FlagPost published in May 2015 titled Electing the party leader –recent events in Australia and the UK outlined the methods used by major parties in Australia and the UK to elect party leaders. In the last few weeks new leaders have been elected by the Liberal Party of Australia and the UK Labour Party, using very different electoral systems. Liberal Party of Australia On 14 September 2015 at 4pm the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, called a press conference to annou... Read more...

    TAGS: Elections

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  • Why China is cutting 300,000 military personnel

    Posted 17/09/2015 by Stephen Fallon
    For many who watched China’s recent parade to commemorate the conclusion of the Second World War, the numbers were the most striking aspect of the event. Twelve thousand soldiers participated, accompanied by almost 200 aircraft and 500 pieces of air and ground equipment. It conveyed the message that China is a formidable military power that will not be bullied by foreigners as it was during its ‘century of humiliation’. However, the number that captured the attention of many ob... Read more...


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  • Prime ministers and recent Liberal Party leadership challenges

    Posted 15/09/2015 by Cathy Madden
    Parliament House in Canberra
    On Tuesday 15 September 2015 Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. This resulted from a challenge by Mr Turnbull to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership of the federal Parliamentary Liberal Party on the 14 September. Mr Turnbull stated that Mr Abbott had failed to provide economic leadership and called for the restoration of traditional cabinet government. Mr Turnbull also announced that he had resigned his position as Minister for Communications. Mr Ab... Read more...

    TAGS: leadership, parliament

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  • You work where? Where Australians Lived and Worked, 2006 and 2011

    Posted 8/09/2015 by Aaron Greenup
    The Parliamentary Library has constructed two maps using Census data to illustrate the journeys Australians took to travel to work in 2006 and 2011.    Click for larger images.   About the data The lines on the above maps represent the net journeys between regions. The net journey is the difference between the number of people travelling to and from two regions. For example, if five people travelled from region B to region A and three people travelled from region A to region B, t... Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census, employment, transport

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  • Australia’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis

    Posted 8/09/2015 by Harriet Spinks

    The escalating Syrian refugee crisis continues to make news headlines around the world and in recent weeks European countries have been gathering to discuss what they can do to assist. Several European countries have committed to increasing resettlement places for Syrian refugees, while Germany has stated that it will process asylum applications from Syrians in Germany rather than returning them for processing to the country in which they first entered the EU, as it is permitted to do under the Dublin II Regulation. Germany expects to receive up to 800,000 asylum applications from Syrians in 2015.


    TAGS: refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • An interpretive centre to commemorate Australia's war on the Western Front

    Posted 1/09/2015 by Nathan Church

    In May 2015 the Parliamentary Library highlighted in its Budget Review 2015–16 plans by the Australian Government to build an interpretive centre adjoining the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France at a cost of more than $100 million. On 13 August 2015, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works issued its report regarding the proposed ‘Sir John Monash Centre’ (SJMC). Following the release of this report and evidence provided at a public hearing on 26 June, further details are now available.


    TAGS: military history

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  • The 2015 Canning By-Election

    Posted 21/08/2015 by Damon Muller
    The Speaker of the House of Representatives has announced a by-election for the federal seat of Canning, in Western Australia, following the death of the sitting member, Mr Don Randall, on 21 July 2015. The by-election will be held on 19 September 2015. Read more...

    TAGS: by-election, elections, election timetable

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  • Life Gold Pass

    Posted 12/08/2015 by Cathy Madden
    It has been reported that former federal Members of Parliament have lodged a challenge in the High Court to recent legislative changes that reduced their entitlement to the ‘Life Gold Pass’ post-retirement travel benefit and reduced their benefits under the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme. The entitlement of parliamentarians to the ‘Life Gold Pass’ (LGP) has been in operation since 1918. The LGP and severance travel are post-retirement travel benefits cu... Read more...


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  • Could people stripped of their Australian citizenship be immediately removed from Australia?

    Posted 12/08/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    The desired outcome of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 is ‘to ensure the safety and security of Australia and its people and to ensure the community of Australian citizens is limited to those who continue to retain an allegiance to Australia’. But is automatic loss of citizenship necessarily the end of the line for those in Australia who are deemed to have repudiated their allegiance to Australia and will they thus be put on the next plane out... Read more...

    TAGS: citizenship, Parliament, immigration

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