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  • Oil and water: natural resources and Timor-Leste’s development challenges

    Posted 18/12/2013 by Cameron Hill
    Ongoing international arbitration proceedings arising from allegations of Australian espionage during the 2004 negotiations over the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) Treaty with Timor-Leste have highlighted the latter’s dependence on petroleum revenues to finance its future development. Less well-known are the concerns that have been raised about the long-term sustainability of these revenues and what this means for Timor-Leste’s broader development and stability challenges... Read more...

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  • The Hung Parliament: procedural changes in the House of Representatives

    Posted 25/11/2013 by Joy McCann
    Image source: Wikimedia
    On 5 August 2013 the 43rd Commonwealth Parliament—the first hung parliament since the early 1940s—was officially prorogued ahead of the federal election to be held on 7 September 2013. Whilst there has been considerable commentary on the performance of the Government, the Opposition, the parties and the cross-bench during the 43rd Parliament, there has been much less discussion about the nature of the hung parliament itself. However, the 43rd Parliament was characterised by a range of new arrang... Read more...

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  • Total recall: the 2006 Papuan asylum seeker incident and Australia-Indonesia relations

    Posted 20/11/2013 by Cameron Hill
    Image source: Wikimedia commons
    In the wake of recent allegations that Australia spied on the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife, and a group of his advisors in 2009, Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, and is ‘reviewing’ current bilateral cooperation. The last time Indonesia recalled its ambassador was in 2006 following the Papuan asylum seeker incident.This earlier diplomatic crisis was sparked by the arrival by boat of 43 Papuan asylum seekers in northern Australi... Read more...

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  • The US Debt Ceiling – some historical background and key links

    Posted 11/10/2013 by Tarek Dale
    Data from: US Treasury Monthly Statement of Public Debt.
    The United States (US) Treasury has funds available to cover outgoing expenses until approximately 17 October. It cannot borrow more because of a legislative limit on borrowing (the ‘debt ceiling’). While a major default by the US Treasury would be unprecedented, historical examples do provide some insight into the costs caused even by delays in raising the debt ceiling. The US has a budget deficit (with less revenue than expenditure), and US Government spending depends in part on borrowing to f... Read more...

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  • Protecting seafarers in Australian waters: the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention

    Posted 23/09/2013 by Jaan Murphy
    The Maritime Labour Convention (Convention) was adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2006. It is the result of tripartite negotiations between governments, employers and workers and consolidates and updates over 68 existing ILO conventions. The Convention came into force in Australia on 20 August 2013.How is the Convention enacted in Australia? The Convention was implemented in Australia by Schedule 13 of Marine Order 11 (Marine Order), a legislative instrument made under th... Read more...

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  • Exiting quantitative easing – the need for a deft touch and some luck

    Posted 18/06/2013 by Robert Dolamore
    Image source: Wikimedia commons
    In recent weeks, speculation the United States Federal Reserve may begin tapering its quantitative easing (QE) program has sparked volatility in bond and currency markets. This has underscored the uncertainty and risks associated with QE and the possibility that, if exiting QE is not handled well, it could have adverse implications for the global economy.With official interest rates close to zero monetary authorities in the United States, Europe, Japan and the United Kingdom turned to unconven... Read more...

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  • U.S Presidential Election

    Posted 30/10/2012 by Sophia Fernandes
    The U.S. general election will be held on Tuesday 6 November 2012 where ballots will be held to not only elect the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators that will form the 113th Congress but also to elect the 45th President. President Barack Obama (Dem) as incumbent President is seeking a second and final term running with incumbent Vice President Joe Biden. They will be challenged by Republican nominees Governor Mitt Romney and running mate Congressman Paul Ryan. The key to the Presidential elec... Read more...

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  • Speaker's resignation

    Posted 10/10/2012 by Cathy Madden
    Mr Slipper resignedmid-term as Speaker on 9 October 2012. A mid-term resignation by a Speaker is not unique, although in this instance the circumstances maybe seen as such. Mr Slipper resigned in the wake of a motionby the Leader of the Opposition to remove the Speaker under section 35 of the Constitution. The motion was narrowly defeated, 70 to 69, which meant the Speaker could continue in office. Mr Slipper had stood aside from his role as Speaker in the House on 8 May 2012 following allegatio... Read more...

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  • Do refugees really receive higher welfare benefits than pensioners?

    Posted 2/10/2012 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    The short answer is no. A series of emails have circulated in recent years asserting that refugees settling in Australia are entitled to higher rates of social security payment than other Australian residents, including pensioners. The emails also often claim that refugees receive free 'gifts' in the form of household items and even houses.However, as is explained in this updated Parliamentary Library Background Note, such claims are completely wrong. What's more, the original emails on which ma... Read more...

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  • Australian elections in the next four years

    Posted 30/05/2012 by Rob Lundie
    There are between four and seven elections at the federal, state/territory or local government level each year. From now to the end of 2015 there will be one federal election, eight state or territory elections and seven local council elections. This does not include supplementary elections, by-elections or separate legislative council elections. By the end of 2012 there will have been three state/territory elections (Queensland in March, the Northern Territory in August and the Australian Capit... Read more...

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