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  • Prime Minister Modi visits Fiji

    Posted 21/11/2014 by Ravi Tomar

    After his much publicised and successful bilateral visit to Australia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Fiji on 19 November 2014. Apart from addressing the Fijian Parliament he also attended and addressed a specially convened meeting of the leaders of all fourteen Pacific Island countries and made a series of commitments of assistance, both financial and technical. This was the first prime ministerial visit from India since Indira Gandhi visited Suva in 1981, some 33 years ago.

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    TAGS: Fiji India

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  • The 'mind-body problem' and proposed DSP reforms

    Posted 18/11/2014 by Matthew Thomas
    The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System led by Patrick McClure was released on 29 June 2014. The report contains proposals for significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). The reforms would see the DSP reserved for people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. Those people with a partial capacity to work would be placed on a lower tiered working age payment and provided with support to improve their employment capacity. The proposals r... Read more...

    TAGS: Disability Support Pension, mental health, disability employment, welfare reform

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  • Chinese President to Visit Tasmania

    Posted 13/11/2014 by Geoff Wade

    Chinese President Xi Jinping will be making a short visit to Tasmania following his participation in the G20 meeting in Brisbane and his address to a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament on 17 November. The choice of destination is unusual and certainly not one which dignitaries visiting Australia often consider. So why Tasmania?

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    TAGS: Tasmania, Antarctica, China, Diplomacy

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  • Federal Court upholds the legality of the “joint” AFL-ASADA investigation into Essendon

    Posted 13/11/2014 by Jaan Murphy

    The ‘joint investigation’ by ASADA and the AFL into the potential use of prohibited substances was legal, the Federal Court decided. The 123 page judgment was handed down in September 2014, but has been appealed.

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    TAGS: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency, World Anti-Doping Agency, Sport, ASADA, Federal Court, WADA, ADRV

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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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  • 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

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  • 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

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