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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.

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    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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  • Mandatory minimum sentences proposed for firearms trafficking

    Posted 23/03/2015 by Cat Barker

    The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2015 (2015 Bill), listed for debate in the House of Representatives this week, includes amendments to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for firearms trafficking that failed to pass the Senate in an earlier Bill. The Government has linked these new amendments to the review of the Martin Place siege.

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    TAGS: firearms, criminal law

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  • Closing the gap in Indigenous health

    Posted 19/03/2015 by Dr John Gardiner-Garden
    19 March is National Close the Gap Day, an annual event coordinated by Oxfam Australia to highlight the significant gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For the origin of the day, the non-government campaign behind it and the Council of Australian Government (COAG)’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) and its ‘Closing the gap’ strategy see an earlier FlagPost. Extent of the gap According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wel... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous health

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  • High Court rules on ACMA powers

    Posted 18/03/2015 by Tyler Fox

    The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to determine whether a licensee has committed a criminal offence when deciding whether to bring enforcement action, according to a High Court ruling.

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    TAGS: constitution, criminal law, High Court

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  • Who owns the seat - the party or the individual?

    Posted 16/03/2015 by Deirdre McKeown

    On Thursday 11 March 2015 Senator Glenn Lazarus became the third senator since September 2014 to leave his/her party and sit as an independent in the Senate. Senator Lazarus announced his decision to leave the Palmer United Party (PUP) on Facebook citing ‘a different view of team work’ as the reason for his move. He confirmed this decision in a statement to the Senate on 16 March 2015.

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  • iVote, therefore I am

    Posted 16/03/2015 by Damon Muller

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis popularised the idea of the states being the ’laboratories of democracy‘, which seems like a good way to describe the moves towards electronic voting in NSW state elections. The 2015 NSW state election to be held on 23 March will involve what will be one of the largest binding elections involving remote internet voting in the world.

    While remote internet voting was used in the NSW state election in 2011 on a smaller scale, the NSW Electoral Commission estimates that up to 200,000 voters will use iVote in the 2015 election. The success of the iVote system will be keenly watched by those with an interest in electronic voting.

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    TAGS: e-voting, elections, internet voting, nsw, state elections

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  • International Women's Day 2015

    Posted 6/03/2015 by Hannah Gobbett
    Portrait of Vida Goldstein
    Image in collection of National Library of Australia : sourceWikimedia Commons
    With the theme ‘Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!’, International Women’s Day 2015 was celebrated internationally on 8 March with thousands of events to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. This Flagpost documents the current state of play of female participation in Australian state and federal politics, and how Australia compares internationally. According to Australian Parliamentary Library data (as of February 2015) Austral... Read more...

    TAGS: 44th Parliament, women, Parliament, 2015, International Women's Day

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  • A comparison of key assumptions and outcomes over four intergenerational reports

    Posted 5/03/2015 by Kai Swoboda

    The 2015 intergenerational report (IGR), released more than one month after the legislated timeframe in the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998, is the fourth such report. Previous IGRs have been published in May 2002, April 2007 and January 2010.
    The basis for conducting such an analysis is the principle of intergenerational equity—that actions benefiting current generations should not compromise future generations.
    The purpose of the IGR is to examine the impact of population ageing on the Commonwealth’s financial position while holding the expenditure policy settings unchanged over a 40-year timeframe. All of the analysis is largely on the expenditure side, with this IGR—as well as previous IGRs—assuming that revenue as a share of GDP remains constant over the period extending beyond the most recent budget forward estimates period.

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  • Australia's proposed foreign investment framework

    Posted 4/03/2015 by Kali Sanyal
    On 25 February 2015, the Government released an options paper titled ‘Strengthening Australia’s Foreign Investment Framework’  that proposes a series of new policy positions regarding acquisitions of real estate property, farm land and businesses by foreigners. The proposed changes include the introduction of a new fee paying foreign investment application regime, enabling Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to enforce a penalty regime and reducing monetary thresholds for screening of investment applications for certain agricultural land and business by foreign private investors, both from free trade agreement (FTA) and non-FTA partner countries. Read more...

    TAGS: public policy

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