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Filter by November, 2012

What happens to the House and Senate if an election is called early in 2013?

Recently the possibility had been raised that an election may be called for only the House of Representatives in the early part of 2013. Usually, a half-Senate election would also be held. But according to the Australian elections timetable prepared by the Parliamentary Library, the earliest that a half-Senate election can feasibly occur is 3 August 2013.The termination of ParliamentFor an election to be held, the existing (43rd) session of Parliament must first be terminated. This is formally done by the Governor-General on the advice of the Government. The Governor-General can terminate a session of Parliament in three waysby dissolving the House, or by simultaneously dissolving the House ... Read more...

Australia in the Asian Century: regional security and foreign policy dimensions

On 28 October, the Prime Minister released the Government’s ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper.  The Parliamentary Library has released several publications examining different aspects of the White Paper and the reactions to it:  Australia in the Asian Century: aiming for the ‘top ten’Australia in the Asian Century: improving university rankingsAustralia in the Asian Century: Asian studies in schools This piece discusses the regional security and foreign policy dimensions of the White Paper (chapters eight and nine).  Regional security Whilst acknowledging serious challenges, the White Paper adopts a largely optimistic view of the region’s geo-political future.  It is a future in ... Read more...

Hunger strike on Nauru

The hunger strike which commenced on Nauru on 1 November is continuing. Initial reportswere that 170 people were participating although more recent estimates by the Refugee Action Coalition suggest around 300. Commencement of the hunger strike was in responseto the attempted suicide on October 31 and in protest to the lack of certainty about when processing will begin. This follows previous reports of self harm on Nauru and suicide attempts (see reports from 11 October, confirmed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) at Estimates on 15 October 2012 at p. 100 of Hansard, and 27 October). DIAC has said that it does ‘not keep a tally’ of how many self-harm incidents have occu... Read more...

Australia in the Asian Century: Asian studies in schools

The White Paper, Australia in the Asian Century, commits all governments to improving access to Asian studies in schools through the Australian Government’s National Plan for School Improvement. The Prime Minister has announced that Asian studies will be embedded across the Australian Curriculum, students will have access to at least one priority language (Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian and Japanese), and all schools will ‘engage with’ at least one school in Asia to support teaching of a priority Asian language. History of Australian Government support for Asian studies in schoolsThe White Paper’s proposals for Asian studies in schools are not entirely new. The history of Australian Governme... Read more...

Australia’s efforts against foreign bribery – an update

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its latest assessment of Australia’s implementation of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention) in October 2012. Outlined below is an overview of the positive and negative findings and their implications for the Australian Government.The Anti-Bribery Convention was adopted in 1997 to address the widespread phenomenon of bribery in international business transactions. It entered into force on 15 February 1999 and has been ratified by all 34 member countries of the OECD (of which Australia is one) and five other countries. The ... Read more...

Australians eat poorly, are overweight and unfit: but it’s not all bad news

The Australian Health Survey, a regular survey of Australia's health, shows that most Australian adults have a poor diet, are either overweight or obese and don’t get enough exercise. These unhealthy habits put us at greater risk of a range of adverse health outcomes including the development of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.The first results, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on 29 October 2012, cover health status, health risk factors and long term health conditions. Results to be released later will cover health service use, more detailed information on dietary intake, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, biomedical health measures, and representa... Read more...

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