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  • Grappling with the productivity slowdown

    Posted 22/07/2015 by Robert Dolamore
    Australia orthographic projection map
    By Ssolbergj [ GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

    The Productivity Commission (PC) recently released its latest Productivity Update, which provides a detailed analysis of Australia’s productivity performance in 2013‑14. The good news is that labour productivity and multifactor productivity (MFP) both increased in 2013‑14. However, as the PC’s Chairman Peter Harris warns Australia’s current productivity growth remains well below what is needed to ensure living standards will continue to increase as quickly as they have in the past. This comes at a time when a number of factors are weighing on Australia’s growth prospects including an ageing population and structural adjustment as the mining investment boom recedes. However, among the world’s economies, Australia has not been alone in facing a productivity slowdown in recent years.


    TAGS: Productivity

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  • Cancellation of Australian citizenship built on shaky foundations?

    Posted 21/07/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Whether dual nationals or citizens who engage in terrorist activity should be stripped of their Australian citizenship is unlikely to be the focus of extensive discussion when Parliament resumes after its winter recess. That is because both sides of politics appear to broadly agree that they should. Rather, it is the breadth and mechanics of the three new cessation provisions (automatically triggered when a person either engages in prescribed conduct, serves or fights for a terrorist organisatio... Read more...

    TAGS: citizenship, Parliament, immigration

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  • Australian Defence Force - future international engagement

    Posted 13/07/2015 by Nathan Church

    The ‘Army’s future force structure options’ conference (convened by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, ASPI) was recently held on 24–26 June. A key topic among many of the prominent speakers was the issue of the Army’s role in the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) international engagement, particularly regarding the benefits obtained through such interactions and the potential scope to increase these efforts. 


    TAGS: Defence

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  • The Euro's periphery: Greece compared with Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland

    Posted 2/07/2015 by Robert Dolamore
    The global financial crisis (GFC) sparked a sovereign debt crisis in a number of Euro area countries, most notably Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. This flagpost uses data from the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) World Economic Outlook database to look at the impact of the crisis on these Euro members and their public finances. The data shows the Greek economy contracted by much more than the other Euro area periphery economies. Despite this, Greece’s fiscal co... Read more...


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  • Where to for income management?

    Posted 25/06/2015 by Don Arthur

    Patrick McClure’s February 2015 report on welfare reform urged a cautious approach to the expansion of income management, arguing that it should be used ‘judiciously’ and recommending that any changes should be informed by evaluations.

    The evaluation research released so far suggests that income management is most effective when it is voluntary or is applied to participants after considering their individual circumstances. However experience shows that assessing clients individually is time consuming and costly and that relying on volunteers limits numbers. Both could prevent the scheme achieving economies of scale.


    TAGS: income management,

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  • Highest levels of global forced displacement on record—World Refugee Day 20 June 2015

    Posted 22/06/2015 by Janet Phillips

    On World Refugee Day—celebrated on 20 June every year—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports on global displacement trends using data collected over the previous calendar year. This time last year the UNHCR reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide had exceeded 50 million people for the first time since World War II. This year, in its publication Global Trends 2014, the UNHCR is reporting the highest levels of displacement on record—59.5 million people (19.5 million refugees, 38.2 million internally displaced people and 1.8 million asylum seekers).


    TAGS: refugees, asylum seekers

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  • The vulnerability of Native Title?

    Posted 19/06/2015 by Kirsty Magarey

    Queensland v Congoo [2015] HCA 17, a recent High Court case, has implications for Native Title holders throughout the country.  It may also have implications for the High Court’s management of cases with an even number of judges.

    Recent changes in personnel within the High Court have led to a number of decisions being made with a bench of six, rather than the full seven, judges.  This has in turn led to some decisions being made with a 3:3 split.  In such cases, under section 23 of the Judiciary Act 1903, the decision being appealed from is left intact. The resulting judgments may be referred to as having a ‘statutory majority’, which offers less precedential value than a traditional, numerical majority. 

    While the existence of a statutory majority in the Congoo case makes the lessons we can learn from it more precarious, the judgments still offer illumination. Thus Congoo provides an understanding of Native Title as a more robust form of title that can survive particular forms of temporary occupation.


    TAGS: High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title

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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 Department of Immigration: from building the nation to managing the border

    Posted 12/06/2015 by Harriet Spinks
    Department of Immigration and Border Protection

    On 1 July 2015 the Australian Border Force (ABF) will commence operations within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which will formally merge with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service on the same date. This will be the culmination of an integration process begun by the Abbott Government almost immediately upon taking office, when responsibility for customs and border protection was moved from the Attorney-General’s portfolio to the Immigration portfolio. The creation of the ABF, which was announced in the 2014–15 Budget, also marks a key milestone in the process of change which has seen the Department of Immigration shift its focus from nation building and migrant settlement, towards a greater emphasis on border security.


    TAGS: immigration,

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  • Aboriginal advantage: an insider look at an Aboriginal community

    Posted 9/06/2015 by Fiona Caldwell
    Dr Lawrence Bamblett
    In his National Reconciliation Week lecture to the Parliamentary Library, Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, proposed an alternative way of understanding life in Aboriginal communities through the concept of Aboriginal advantage. He declared, ‘You can all do a lot to help us by changing the way that you talk about us’. Dr Bamblett’s academic, teaching and community development work explores relati... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous education

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