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  • Resignations, retirements and by-elections...and more to come

    Posted 3/11/2014 by Joy McCann
    Resignations and retirements have resulted in a spate of by-elections in state and territory parliaments this year, including two each in NSW (Newcastle and Charlestown), Queensland (Redcliffe and Stafford) and the Northern Territory (Blain and Casuarina), and one in Western Australia (Vasse). Another two by-elections are to be held shortly in South Australia as a result of the death of one MP and the resignation of another (in the electorate of Fisher on 6 December 2014 and Davenport at a date ... Read more...

    TAGS: by-elections, state and territories, parliament

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  • Women in Australian parliaments

    Posted 23/07/2014 by Joy McCann
    House of Representatives Chamber
    Across Australia women continue to be significantly under-represented in parliament and executive government, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers. The Parliamentary Library has recently published an updated research paper, Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014. It presents the latest data on women serving in Australian vice-regal, government and parliamentary leadership positions, ministries and parliamentary committees, as wel... Read more...

    TAGS: women, parliament

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  • Women in Australian parliaments

    Posted 19/02/2014 by Joy McCann
    Women's suffrage time capsule at Parliament House, Adelaide. 19 February 2012
    By User:JimOwensPMP (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
    A Parliamentary Library publication, Women parliamentarians in Australia 1921 ̶ 2013 written by Janet Wilson and David Black, has been updated to include women elected to federal, state and territory parliaments to 31 December 2013. Part 1 consists of tables listing all women elected to Commonwealth, State and Territory parliaments since 1921. The lists are presented in chronological order of election and include the age at which the women took their seats, their party affiliation, electoral d... Read more...

    TAGS: women, parliament

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  • 'That's it, you're out': disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives

    Posted 12/12/2013 by Rob Lundie
    On Wednesday 11 December 2013, 10 Labor MPs were ordered to withdraw from the House of Representatives for one hour ('sin binned') by the Speaker, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop. Seven of these were during Question Time, two during a motion to suspend standing orders which occurred at the end of this period and one during a ministerial statement later in the evening. Each 'sin binning' occurred during questions and debate about the automotive industry.As many as this may seem, it is not the most number ... Read more...

    TAGS: disorderly conduct, Parliament, parliamentary procedure

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  • Which Minister?: Answering questions during Question Time

    Posted 6/12/2013 by Sophia Fernandes
    During Question Time on 5 December 2013, the member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, asked the Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey, a question. Halfway through his response to the question, Mr Hockey invited the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Warren Truss to finish the answer. The Speaker ruled that this was in order and by doing so upheld precedence.While transferring the responsibility for the answer of a question seems highly unusual, House of Representatives Practice (6th ed., p.550) states that it is e... Read more...

    TAGS: parliamentary procedure, question time, speaker

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  • Legislation and the financial initiative: what happened to the Opposition amendments to the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills?

    Posted 27/11/2013 by Sophia Fernandes
    The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and other related Bills passed the House of Representatives on 21 November 2013 with no amendments. While this is not an unusual occurrence, what is notable is that Opposition amendments to the package of bills were not debated during the consideration-in-detail stage.The Speaker, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, made a ruling prior to the commencement of the consideration-in-detail stage of the Bills, that the amendments could contravene standi... Read more...

    TAGS: carbon tax, constitution, parliamentary procedure, standing orders

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  • Question Time: Questions directed to non-government members

    Posted 29/05/2013 by Sophia Fernandes
    In Question Time on 28 May 2013 the Leader of the House, the Hon. Anthony Albanese, moved a Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders (SSSO) to allow the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott, to address the House. The SSSO was moved to provide the Leader of the Opposition the opportunity to answer a question during Question Time – a rare and highly unusual occurrence.The member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, directed a question to both the Prime Minister and with the indulgence of the Hous... Read more...

    TAGS: parliamentary procedure, question time, suspension of standing and sessional orders

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  • Tweeting from the Chamber

    Posted 14/03/2013 by Sophia Fernandes
    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 Q... Read more...

    TAGS: Parliament, parliamentary procedure, social media, speaker

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  • Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Indigenous federal voting rights

    Posted 24/05/2012 by Brenton Holmes


    It is 100 years since the right and responsibility to enrol to vote became enshrined in Australian law and 50 years since all Indigenous Australians became entitled to vote in federal elections. (Some, but not all, adult Indigenous Australians, were able to vote prior to 1962.) Celebrations are in order.
     In March 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was amended to enable Indigenous people to enrol to vote in federal elections, but it was not compulsory for them to enrol. It was made an offence for anyone to use undue influence or pressure to induce them to enrol. Once they enrolled, however, voting was compulsory.
     The story of Indigenous enfranchisement is a long and complex one. There are two valuable accounts available on the Australian Electoral Commission website here and here.
    This year has been  designated the 2012 Year of Enrolment and the AEC will be running a number of activities to remind people of their electoral rights and responsibilities and to check that their enrolments up to date. These will include a mid-year mail-out to all Australian households, along with a public relations and online advertising campaign.
    Major celebratory events include a National Indigenous Youth Parliament.  Together with the YMCA, the AEC is sponsoring a week-long gathering of fifty young Indigenous people from all States and Territories.  A centrepiece will be a formal sitting of the Youth Parliament on the weekend of 26–27 May where bills addressing Indigenous issues will be debated. Bills agreed by the Indigenous Youth Parliament will be presented to the Government and Opposition.
    In preparation for the parliament, participants have already been mentored through the process of writing a bill, and will spend their week in Canberra learning how government works and how laws are made. They will participate in professionally-led workshops, developing their public speaking abilities and honing their media skills.
    Under the banner of its Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP) the AEC has been renewing its efforts to encourage more Indigenous Australians to enrol and vote. This includes the production of a DVD, Louder than One Voice ,that outlines the history of the Indigenous vote and includes interviews with Indigenous Australians about their strong belief in the values of democratic participation.
    Some estimates indicate that less than 50 per cent of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be enrolled to vote.  On 2006 census figures that means there are probably more than 140 000 Indigenous people who are eligible to vote are not enrolled to do so. Of all Australians, an estimated 1.5 million eligible voters are not enrolled —the equivalent to having an extra 15 electorates or another state the size of Western Australia.
    Australian citizens aged 18 years and over can enrol and vote, change their address or check their enrolment details by going to the AEC website.


    Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Electoral Commission, indigenous Australians, YMCA, youth, youth parliament

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