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Filter by March, 2013

'Reprioritising' Australia's aid budget

In 17 December 2012, Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that the government would report up to $375 million as support for asylum seekers waiting to have their claims heard in Australia. In effect this meant that $375.1 million would be diverted from the overall aid budget to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. The reallocation represents an effective cut of 7.3 per cent to other elements of the aid budget. The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research also suffered cuts of 7.6 per cent to their respective aid budgets. Details of the revised Budget Estimate were released in the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2012-13 (p... Read more...

The other temporary skilled visa

While the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa has undergone heavy scrutiny of late, another temporary skilled visa has been expanding more rapidly, and is about to become even more attractive.  The Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485) is for overseas students who have completed a qualification at an Australian higher education institution. The visa was introduced in 2008 to enable graduates to remain in Australia for up to 18 months after completing their course, to gain work experience or improve their English language skills. An applicant had to meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List. Remarkable growth The Temporary Skilled Graduate... Read more...

National Close the Gap Day

Closing the gap developed out of the call in Tom Calma’s Social justice report 2005 for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Indigenous people in health and life expectancy within 25 years. In March 2006 some non-government agencies came together to develop a National Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and in April 2007 a Close the gap campaign was launched.In December 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing some key gaps and in March 2008 many government and non-government delegates to a National Indigenous Health Equality Summit signed a statement of intent. In July 2008 the Rudd Government established the National Indigenous Health Equ... Read more...

Asylum seekers, refugees and people smuggling—links to the key Parliamentary Library papers

The Parliamentary Library has recently released several new and updated papers on asylum seekers, refugees, boat arrivals and people smuggling. Links to these papers are included below together with links to other research papers in related areas.  New C Barker, The people smuggler’s business model, 2013 H Spinks, Destination anywhere? Factors affecting asylum seekers’ choice of destination country, 2013 J Phillips, The ‘Pacific Solution’ revisited: a statistical guide to the asylum seeker caseloads on Nauru and Manus Island, 2012UpdatedJ Phillips and H Spinks, Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976, updated 2013J Phillips, Asylum seekers and refugees: what are the facts?, updated 2013 J Phil... Read more...

National Forced Adoptions Apology

In June 2012 the Attorney-General announced that the Government would offer a national apology to those affected by forced adoption practices in Australia. A Forced Adoption Apology Reference Group was subsequently established in August 2012 to provide advice on the wording and timing of the apology and on 19 December 2012 the Australian Government announced that the formal apology would be conducted on Thursday 21 March 2013 at Parliament House in Canberra.All of the states have already offered apologies to women and their families affected by past adoption practices. In October 2010, Western Australia was the first state to offer an apology to mothers whose children had been removed and gi... Read more...

Match-fixing: the Australian legislative response

The Australian Crime Commission Report into Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport raised the issue of the increasing level of association between professional athletes and organised criminal identities in Australia, leaving individual athletes vulnerable to corrupt practices such as match-fixing. One of the key findings is that the threat to the integrity of Australian sport is an emerging and critical issue which must be addressed now.In the wake of the South Australian and now Victorian Governments introducing bills to directly criminalise match-fixing, what is the rest of the country doing?‘On 10 June 2011, all Australian sports ministers endorsed on behalf of their governments, a National P... Read more...

Tweeting from the Chamber

On 12 March 2013, the Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne asked Speaker Anna Burke to make a ruling on a tweet by Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons during question time, asking for the Member to withdraw. Steve Gibbons‏@SteveGibbonsMPLooks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjector's in the public gallery. A new low even for the Libs!Mr Gibbons had tweeted this after two people had been ejected from the public gallery in succession, for interjecting during Question Time.The question about MPs' use of twitter in the chamber is one that has become increasingly common amongst legislatures around the world. The debate ranges from those opposed to the use of ... Read more...

Temporary skilled migration and the 457 visa

On 23 February 2013, the Government announced that there would be changes to the temporary skilled (subclass 457) visa program to ensure that employers are ‘not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist’ and that ‘employers give Australian workers a fair go’.The changes listed on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website, ‘Strengthening the integrity of the 457 program’, include the introduction of a ‘genuineness criterion’ and the removal of English language exemptions for certain positions. According to DIAC, it is envisaged that the changes (to take effect on 1 July 2013) will not affect the ‘vast majority’ of ‘genuine’ 457 visa applicants. ANU demog... Read more...

Australian Government funding for schools

There is much anticipation about the future of school funding with the Australian Government’s proposed new arrangements for school funding expected to be presented to the Council of Australian Governments’ meeting in April this year. The proposed changes will follow on from the recommendations of the final report of the Review of Funding for Schooling (the Gonski Review).The Labor Government took its first steps towards reforming school education funding when, in 2009, it transformed a funding structure that in essence had been in place since 1974. It created a single National Schools Specific Purpose Payment (SPP), which provides most of the Australian Government’s funding for schools. The... Read more...

Women in the Australian workforce: A 2013 update

First observed as an international event in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world on March 8 each year. Originally emerging from female labour movements in North America and Europe, female participation in politics and the workforce remains an important focus of IWD. As we celebrate IWD in 2013, this article briefly reviews current female participation in the Australian workforce. Women and Workforce Participation Female participation in the workforce has increased steadily over recent decades, growing from around 44 per cent in 1978 to 58 per cent of the female population aged 15 years and over in 2008. Since then, female participation has remained s... Read more...