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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Filter by October, 2013

What is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and how does it work?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 27 September the first instalment of its eagerly anticipated Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). As with past reports, this one is likely to spark ongoing discussion about the threat from climate change and how to deal with it. But what is the IPCC and what exactly does it do?What is the IPCC?The IPCC is an intergovernmental body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation in 1988 to provide the world with a clear statement of the current scientific knowledge of climate change, and potential environmental and socio‑economic impacts.Open to all member countries of the United Natio... Read more...

Getting the balance right: U.S. perspectives on Defence reform

Australia and the United States share significant defence interests, especially regarding regional security across the Indo-Pacific. However, both nations also share a similar defence dilemma: the need to maintain appropriate defence capabilities despite facing increased financial constraints. A recent report by the U.S.-based Stimson Center provided almost 30 recommendations to reduce the U.S. Defense Department’s heavy financial burden, without (theoretically) jeopardising required capability. Despite the inherent differences between the Australian and U.S. defence organisations in terms of scale and scope, could the report’s recommendations be conceptually applied to the Australian contex... Read more...

A close-run thing: the narrowest of margins [UPDATED]

The Australian Electoral Commission has announced that the electorate of Fairfax will proceed to a formal recount in the 2013 federal election. Clive Palmer (Palmer United Party) leads with a margin of seven votes following the full distribution of preferences. Just how unusual is this outcome, and how many other close results have there been in Australian electoral history?The closest recent result was in the Victorian seat of McEwen in the 2007 federal election, where the full recount altered the result from a six vote win for Rob Mitchell (ALP) to a 12 vote victory for Fran Bailey (Liberal). A subsequent challenge in the Court of Disputed Returns further increased Fran Bailey's lead to 3... Read more...

Electing the party leader

On 8 July 2013, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced proposed changes to the way in which the Australian Labor Party elects its leader. The changes included votes by the party membership and votes by the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party (FPLP), weighted at 50% each, and processes for when and how a leader can be challenged and the amount of Caucus support needed to mount a challenge to the leader. The special meeting of Caucus on 22 July 2013 endorsed the proposals but agreed that a petition challenging the leader should require 60% Caucus support rather than the 75% proposed by Rudd. It was also agreed that, in the period between the federal election and the ALP election of its leade... Read more...

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