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  • 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.

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    TAGS: Employment, Australian Bureau of Statistics, statistics

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  • Parliamentary Library analysis of the latest counter-terrorism Bill

    Posted 17/10/2014 by Cat Barker

    On 5 August 2014, the Government announced significant reforms to counter-terrorism laws. The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014, introduced on 24 September 2014, proposes extensive amendments to a range of Commonwealth legislation as part of the Government’s response to the increased threat of terrorism posed by Australians engaging in, and returning from, conflicts in foreign States. The Parliamentary Library’s Bills Digest provides independent analysis of the Bill, and identifies the following key issues for debate.

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    TAGS: terrorism, terrorist groups, criminal law, Bills

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  • G20 targets impact of corruption on economic growth and resilience

    Posted 15/10/2014 by Genevieve Butler

    Ahead of the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting in Brisbane in November, G20 engagement groups are calling for the countries involved to take strategic anti-corruption and integrity action.

    Australia is the current chair of the G20, which was set up in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.  Australia’s host year will culminate in a Leaders' Summit in Brisbane on 15-16 November 2014.

    G20 engagement groups—civil society (C20), business (B20), labour movement (L20), young people (Y20) and thinktanks (T20)—are recommending that anti-corruption measures remain at the forefront of G20 action plans.

    The proposed 2014-2015 priorities include transparency of corporate ownership, foreign bribery and other corruption law enforcement and whistleblower protection.

     

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    TAGS: corruption, anti-corruption, integrity, fraud, bribery, transparency, corporate ownership, whistleblower, G20, economic reform

    Comments (0)
  • Where to for science policy?

    Posted 10/10/2014 by Matthew L James
    At a time when the position of science in Australia appears low – with public spending cuts, the political hostility to science-based issues, no actual ‘science’ minister for the first time in many years, and with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane telling scientists to “make yourself relevant” – where lies the future for our science? Of course, good science continues here, as exemplified by the release of the 25th anniversary of the Australian Museum Eureka P... Read more...

    TAGS: science, innovation, research and development

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  • Changing motor vehicle and fuel standards

    Posted 10/10/2014 by Matthew L James
    European Fiat model not available in Australia

    Motor vehicle specifications in Australia are being reviewed, and a private senator’s bill about improving fuel emissions has  been tabled.. These developments raise the question of the vehicle standards used in Australia. Can we do better? Can we also make our fuel go further?

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    TAGS: transport, standards

    Comments (1)
  • Security arrangements in Afghanistan from 2015 and beyond

    Posted 8/10/2014 by Nicole Brangwin
    While the foreign military presence in Afghanistan continues to decline, the number of civilian casualties is on the rise. By the end of 2014, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will take full responsibility for security across the country when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission comes to an end. A much reduced foreign military presence will remain in Afghanistan post-2014 and despite warnings anticipating increased threat levels from 2015–2017, the existing force of 352,000 ANSF personnel are expected to be reduced to 228,500 by the end of 2017—as agreed at the 2012 Chicago Summit. Read more...

    TAGS: Afghanistan, Australian Defence Force, NATO, United States

    Comments (0)
  • Mental health week--5 to 12 October

    Posted 2/10/2014 by Amanda Biggs
    Mental Health Week, commencing on 5 October, provides an opportunity for a national focus on mental health issues and coincides with World Mental Health Day which falls on 10 October. A range of community events are being planned and coordinated at the state level to raise awareness and help build mental well-being. Events are diverse and include morning teas, art exhibitions, sporting activities, workshops, balls, seminars and fundraisers and will be held in schools, workplaces, community facil... Read more...

    TAGS: Mental health

    Comments (1)
  • Use of social media by MPs in the Chamber

    Posted 24/09/2014 by Brenton Holmes
    Inside Parliament House, Canberra

    On 12 March 2013, the then Manager of Opposition Business (Christopher Pyne MP) 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. Mr Gibbons had tweeted:

    @SteveGibbonsMP ‘Looks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjectors 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 Question Time.

    The following day Speaker Anna Burke responded, stating that it was outside her role and responsibilities to monitor private communications or the use of social media ‘when it is thought that they have come from the chamber’.

     

     

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    TAGS: social media, Members of Parliament

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  • Scotland votes to remain with the United Kingdom

    Posted 22/09/2014 by Brenton Holmes

    The question on the ballot paper was a simple one: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ ...  The answer from Scottish voters was ‘No’: 55 per cent against independence, 45 per cent in favour.

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    TAGS: Scottish referendum

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  • More funding for early childhood education: an update

    Posted 16/09/2014 by Marilyn Harrington
    The Government has announced that it will provide $406 million for the continuation of support for universal access to early childhood (preschool) education in the year before full-time schooling in 2015. This is the same level of funding that was provided for 2014 in the 2013–14 Budget. There is also a new condition placed on the funding; namely, that state and territory governments use the universal access funding to also fund preschool services provided in long day care centres (LDCs). ... Read more...

    TAGS: early childhood education

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