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Filter by May, 2016

On the pulse ‐ 2016 United Nations International Year of the Pulse

Few might know, but the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of the Pulse. What of it, you ask. And what is a pulse anyway?   The (food‐related) term ‘pulse’ is used to describe the seeds of legumes. They include lentils, chickpeas, faba beans, broad beans, field peas and lupins. They are a traditional dietary staple in many parts of the world, and the main reason for the UN’s declaration is to highlight this food group’s potential ability to address global health, nutrition, food security and sustainability issues. Increases in production and consumption of pulses could provide a low cost source of nutrient‐ dense food for people in many parts... Read more...

A smaller ‘Indo-Pacific’: more detail on Australia’s 2015–16 aid cuts

In the wake of further reductions to Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs in the 2016–17 Budget, recent government responses to Questions on Notice (QoN) from Senate Additional Estimates hearings reveal more about where previous cuts have been applied. Read more...

Future Fund: budget treatment

Future Fund (FF) net earnings (gross earnings less associated costs) are currently excluded from the underlying cash balance measure of the budget outcome. This will change on 1 July 2020 when payments from the FF begin. Then, all FF expenses and earnings will be included in the underlying cash balance. The magnitude of the effect on the underlying cash balance will depend on the amounts paid from the FF and its earnings. Read more...

Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission refuses access to union membership records

On 11 May 2016, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) overturned the FWC General Manager's (GM) decision to authorise two FWC employees to inspect the membership records of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) for the purposes of aiding an investigation by the Office of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate (FWBII). The Full Bench held that the GM’s decision was an invalid exercise of the power conferred by the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (FWRO Act). Background Section 348 of the FWRO Act allows the GM to issue a certificate that states whether a person is a member of a specified organisation, and sets out the legal effect of ... Read more...

Less Bangkok, more Geneva? Security cooperation, human rights and Australia–Thailand relations

In the same week that Australia co-hosted regional peacekeeping exercises with the Thai military, which seized power in a May 2014 coup, it also raised concerns at a United Nations (UN) review about the worsening human rights situation in Thailand. This comes at a time when Thailand’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is alleging that a Thai woman has committed royal defamation, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail under the country’s strict lèse majesté law, by failing to reprimand her son for a Facebook message he sent her. In December 2015, a Thai man was charged for allegedly insulting the King’s dog. Read more...

Aged Care Roadmap: a guide to the future of aged care?

The Aged Care Roadmap (the Roadmap), released in April 2016 by aged care advisory body, the Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC), has recommended significant aged care reforms over the next seven years. The Roadmap is intended to ‘generate discussion across the aged care sector and government regarding future reforms to aged care’. With the first four years of the Living Longer. Living Better aged care reforms now largely implemented in a bipartisan manner (with some notable exceptions such as workforce and dementia funding), there is growing interest in the next round of changes that may be ahead for aged care. Read more...

The electoral fortunes of MPs who left major parties and contested the next election as Independents

In early April this year, sitting member Dr Dennis Jensen failed to win Liberal Party preselection for his Western Australian seat of Tangney. A month later, he announced that he would contest the seat in the 2016 election as an Independent. In support of his chances of winning the seat, Dr Jensen cited the examples of West Australians Paul Filing and Allan Rocher who both did so after losing preselection and standing as Independents at the 1996 federal election. Over the last 50 years there have been 17 MPs from major parties who contested their seats as Independents after leaving their parties. Only five of these (Sam Benson, Graeme Campbell, Allan Rocher, Paul Filing and Bob Katter) succ... Read more...

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