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  • Recent Senate electoral reform proposals

    Posted 8/02/2016 by Damon Muller

    Reform of the Senate electoral system is once again in the news, with reports that the Government wants to pass legislation enabling reform before the budget sitting (that is, effectively by 17 March). Other reports are suggesting that the Australian Greens will produce their own Senate voting reform legislation.

    Unlike other recent discussions about Senate electoral system reform, the approaches currently being discussed do not follow the May 2014 recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM), which were outlined in a previous Flagpost.

    This Flagpost examines some of these new proposals with a particular focus on what constitutes a valid vote.

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    TAGS: elections, Electoral reform, voting, Senate

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  • Double dissolution election: implications for the Senate

    Posted 29/01/2016 by Rob Lundie
    Senate chamber
    Prime Minister Turnbull has a number of triggers and potential triggers should he opt for a double dissolution election. If the Prime Minister decides to call a double dissolution election prior to the Budget (10 May), both Houses of Parliament would need to be dissolved, and the writs issued no later than Monday 4 April, for an election on Saturday 7 May. Read more...

    TAGS: Double dissolution, Senate, Senators, Elections

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  • Reducing Red Tape in the public service 1: committees and the Senate

    Posted 21/12/2015 by Philip Hamilton

    'This needs a sledgehammer,' I declared. 'We must cut through the red tape.' ... Bernard piped up again. 'You can't cut tape with a sledgehammer, it would just...' and then he made a sort of squashing gesture.

    Rather than Jim Hacker’s sledgehammer in Yes, Minister,  the recommendations of a recent review of Red Tape in the Commonwealth public service evoke the accuracy and precision of a scalpel. The vast majority of the review’s 134 recommendations can be implemented administratively within the public service. However, full implementation of about 10 per cent of the recommendations will require action by the Parliament. This FlagPost provides summary information about recommendations that will require consideration by a parliamentary committee or the Senate; a separate FlagPost discusses recommendations that will require legislative amendment.
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    TAGS: Australian Public Service, public service reform, accountability, regulation, Senate,

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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.

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    TAGS: elections, electoral reform, Senate

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  • First time former opposing state/territory leaders in the same chamber

    Posted 17/06/2015 by Simon Speldewinde
    Senate chamber
    Gallagher’s appointment marks the first time since Federation (despite the numerous State and Territory politicians who have moved into federal politics over time) that a Premier or Chief Minister has faced their former adversary—the opposition leader during their time in office—in the same Chamber during the same Parliament. Read more...

    TAGS: Parliament, Senate, ACT

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  • The disputed 2013 WA Senate election

    Posted 20/11/2013 by Rob Lundie
    The initial count of the Senate vote in Western Australia gave the last two Senate seats to Palmer United Party (PUP) candidate Zhenya Dio Wang and ALP candidate, sitting senator Louise Pratt. However, the closeness of the result (14 votes separated two minor parties at an important point in the count) was challenged by defeated candidates sitting senator Scott Ludlam (Australian Greens ) and Wayne Dropulich (Australian Sports Party). As a result on 2 October, the Australian Electoral Commission... Read more...

    TAGS: election results, Senate

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  • What happens to the House and Senate if an election is called early in 2013?

    Posted 15/11/2012 by Brenton Holmes
    Recently the possibility had been raised that an election may be called for only the House of Representatives in the early part of 2013. Usually, a half-Senate election would also be held. But according to the Australian elections timetable prepared by the Parliamentary Library, the earliest that a half-Senate election can feasibly occur is 3 August 2013.The termination of ParliamentFor an election to be held, the existing (43rd) session of Parliament must first be terminated. This is formally d... Read more...

    TAGS: elections, Senate

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  • Resignation of Senator Bob Brown

    Posted 13/04/2012 by Sophia Fernandes
    On 13 April 2012, Senator Bob Brown announced his retirement as leader of the Australian Greens and resignation from the Senate with the intention to leave the Senate when a candidate for the vacancy has been found. Senator Bob Brown entered Federal Parliament as a Senator for Tasmania in 1996, he was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2007. Senator Brown has had a long parliamentary career, having served in the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Denison from 1983 to his resignation in 1993. He was Pa... Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Greens, Senate

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  • Casual vacancies in the Senate

    Posted 5/03/2012 by Janet Wilson
    On 27 February Labor Senator Mark Arbib announced his intention to resign from the Ministry and the Senate. His resignation from the Ministry took effect from 2 March, and he resigned from the Senate on 5 March. This FlagPost lists recent casual vacancies and describes the steps for filling them.The most recent Senate casual vacancy followed the resignation of Senator Helen Coonan on 22 August 2011. At a joint sitting of the two Houses of the Legislature of New South Wales held on 13 October 201... Read more...

    TAGS: 43rd Parliament, ALP, Parliament, Senate

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  • Hung parliaments and minority governments

    Posted 7/02/2011 by Nicholas Horne
    A recent Parliamentary Library paper examines the hung Commonwealth Parliament, the formation of the minority ALP Government, and voting dynamics in the House of Representatives together with a number of related issues such as the next federal election and hung parliaments and minority governments at the state/territory level.After a hung Parliament emerged from the 2010 federal election (the first in almost 70 years), both the ALP and the Opposition engaged in negotiations with the cross-bench ... Read more...

    TAGS: elections, federal election 2010, Parliament, Senate

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