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  • The vulnerability of Native Title?

    Posted 19/06/2015 by Kirsty Magarey

    Queensland v Congoo [2015] HCA 17, a recent High Court case, has implications for Native Title holders throughout the country.  It may also have implications for the High Court’s management of cases with an even number of judges.

    Recent changes in personnel within the High Court have led to a number of decisions being made with a bench of six, rather than the full seven, judges.  This has in turn led to some decisions being made with a 3:3 split.  In such cases, under section 23 of the Judiciary Act 1903, the decision being appealed from is left intact. The resulting judgments may be referred to as having a ‘statutory majority’, which offers less precedential value than a traditional, numerical majority. 

    While the existence of a statutory majority in the Congoo case makes the lessons we can learn from it more precarious, the judgments still offer illumination. Thus Congoo provides an understanding of Native Title as a more robust form of title that can survive particular forms of temporary occupation.

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    TAGS: High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title

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  • Aboriginal advantage: an insider look at an Aboriginal community

    Posted 9/06/2015 by Fiona Caldwell
    Dr Lawrence Bamblett
    In his National Reconciliation Week lecture to the Parliamentary Library, Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, proposed an alternative way of understanding life in Aboriginal communities through the concept of Aboriginal advantage. He declared, ‘You can all do a lot to help us by changing the way that you talk about us’. Dr Bamblett’s academic, teaching and community development work explores relati... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous education

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  • What is a census-able way to run a census?

    Posted 23/04/2015 by Aaron Greenup

    This is part of a series of FlagPosts exploring what the Census is, why it’s important, how other countries run censuses and what the alternatives—either officially proposed or informally discussed—may be (Part 1: Potential changes to the Australian Census: could it kill the goose that lays the statistical golden egg?).

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    TAGS: Census, Australian Bureau of Statistics, statistics

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  • Israeli election 2015: six stand-outs

    Posted 27/03/2015 by Marty Harris

    Following a typically lively 14-week campaign, Israelis went to the polls on 17 March. Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will almost certainly remain in that post, most probably forming a right-wing/religious coalition.

    Read more...

    TAGS: Middle East, Australian foreign policy

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  • Procurement strategy for Indigenous business: The Canadian experience, and lessons for Australia

    Posted 27/03/2015 by Philip Hamilton

    It has been estimated that, in 2012–13, Indigenous businesses secured only 0.001% of the overall Australian Government spend (around $6.2 million of the $39 billion spent). This is despite a specific provision in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) to encourage procurement from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with at least 50 per cent Indigenous ownership. The ANAO will report on the administration of current procurement initiatives in support of Indigenous Australians in a performance audit to be tabled around June 2015.

    Following up on a recommendation made in Creating Parity (the Forrest Review), on 17 March the Government announced that by 2020 the Commonwealth will have three per cent of its procurement contracts with Indigenous suppliers.

    The Government has indicated that Canada has ‘successfully used procurement to significantly drive economic development for First Nations people.’ Since 1996, the Canadian Government has operated a Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB). How does the PSAB work? What are the lessons for Australia?

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    TAGS: Canada, procurement, Australian Public Service, indigenous Australians

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  • ‘Diplomatic terrorism’: Palestinian statehood, the United Nations, and Australia’s voting record

    Posted 5/12/2014 by Marty Harris

    The issue of Palestinian statehood is once again before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In September 2011, the Palestinian Authority submitted an application for full UN membership. Needing UNSC approval for such a bid, the application was eventually withdrawn or not fully pursued, under the public threat of a US veto. Now, with a new application possible, a look back at Australia’s voting record on this issue provides some hints as to how Australia might vote if an application for Palestinian United Nations membership is made before 31 December.

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    TAGS: Middle East,Australian foreign policy

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  • Voting online? Don’t count on it

    Posted 25/11/2014 by Philip Hamilton

    In the 2013 Federal Election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) lost 1,370 ballot papers. Subsequent inquiries examined the selection of polling locations, the transport and storage of completed ballot papers, and the recruitment and training of temporary staff in short timeframes.

    The logistics are challenging, but are they necessary? We already do our banking and shopping online – why not voting?

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    TAGS: Australian Electoral Commission, election results, elections, voting, disability

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  • Still room for improvement at the Australian Electoral Commission

    Posted 24/11/2014 by Philip Hamilton

    The Federal Election of 7 September 2013 was notable in a number of respects, not least because the loss by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) of 1,370 ballot papers resulted in a new election for WA Senators being held on 5 April 2014.

    In the wake of the loss of ballot papers, the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, committed to conducting three performance audits of the AEC, the first of which was tabled in May 2014. The second follow-up audit was tabled on 5 November 2014, with a finding that the AEC had not adequately addressed the recommendations of an audit in 2009–10.

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    TAGS: Australian Electoral Commission, election results, elections, voting

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  • Federal Court upholds the legality of the “joint” AFL-ASADA investigation into Essendon

    Posted 13/11/2014 by Jaan Murphy

    The ‘joint investigation’ by ASADA and the AFL into the potential use of prohibited substances was legal, the Federal Court decided. The 123 page judgment was handed down in September 2014, but has been appealed.

    Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency, World Anti-Doping Agency, Sport, ASADA, Federal Court, WADA, ADRV

    Comments (0)
  • ABS Labour Force revisions: a botch job or short term pain for long term gain?

    Posted 20/10/2014 by Aaron Greenup

    Prior to releasing the September Labour Force Survey (LFS) results this month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced they were taking the unusual step of dropping the seasonally adjusted Labour Force estimates for July, August and September. Many users of the monthly survey results have since expressed concern about the quality and reliability of the estimates. Some of the commentary has suggested the recent issue with the estimates was due in part to budget cutbacks to the statistics agency. However, the recent volatility in the seasonally adjusted estimates is more likely to be associated with the changes the ABS has made to the LFS program rather than any budget pressures they are currently facing.

    Read more...

    TAGS: Employment, Australian Bureau of Statistics, statistics

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