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Opposition Youth Allowance Bill inquiry to report next week

An issue facing Parliament on return next week will be the Youth Allowance. The Senate may need to decide if it will debate the Private Member’s Bill introduced by Senator Nash in October last year. The Social Security Amendment (Income Support for Regional Students) Bill 2010 seeks to fulfil a Coalition election commitment to ‘relax the eligibility criteria for the Independent Youth Allowance which will be extended to students in the Inner Regional Category’. The Government’s reforms of student income support were implemented in March 2010 with the passage of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support for Students) Bill 2010. The Bill passed after an agreement was r... Read more...

New paper on revenue forecasting accuracy and the independence of forecasters

Thiess Buettner and Bjoern Kauder have released a paper in the September 2010 edition of the journal Fiscal Studies on government revenue forecasting practices and the consequences of forecasting performance. The object of analysis is the one-year ahead deviation of the forecast from the actual outcome, and various descriptive statistics. Revenue forecast errors for twelve OECD countries (including two competing institutions in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office which deals with the legislative branch of government, and the Office of Management and Budget, which is a part of the executive branch) are examined using panel data estimation techniques.The countries examined are: ... Read more...

10th anniversary of the landmark UN convention on Women, Peace and Security

October 2010 marks two important anniversaries for the United Nations (UN)—the 65th anniversary of the UN’s establishment (24 October), and the 10th anniversary of a landmark UN Security Council Resolution (SCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security (31 October). Australia’s priorities and actions towards implementing and promoting SCR 1325 are outlined below. On 12 October 2010, the Australian Government committed in a statement (that was also co-hosted with Canada and New Zealand) to the UN's Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committee to develop a national action plan on women, peace and security. This is, in part, consistent with the recommendations made in Augu... Read more...

Australia joins the Asia-Europe Meeting

In what was Prime Minister Julia Gillard's first international key leaders' meeting, Australia became a member of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on 4-5 October, fourteen years since ASEM's inauguration. The Russian Federation and New Zealand also joined the biennial 8th ASEM Summit (ASEM8) at Head of State and Government level, which was conducted under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (EU). A key theme of the gathering was reform of the international economic institutions towards more effective global economic governance. What is ASEM?ASEM was established by the EU and several Asian countries and held its first summit meeting in Bangkok in 1996. It is an 'inform... Read more...

Government losing a vote on the floor of the House

The House of Representatives Practice, states, on p. 318:“It has been claimed that the loss of control of the business of the House is a matter over which Governments should resign ... During 1962 and 1963, when the Menzies Government had a floor majority of one, it suffered a number of defeats and, although it did not resign, its precarious majority was a factor which led to the early dissolution of the House.“ The votes lost by the Government in 1962 were:• A closure motion on 21 August 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 194)• A closure motion on 3 October 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 217)• Opposition’s dissent from Chairman’s ruling on 27 November 1962 (Votes and Proceedings, p. 307-8)• ... Read more...

Key Issues for the 43rd Parliament

The federal election of 2010 produced the first hung parliament since 1940. The Gillard Labor Government retained power by the smallest possible majority with the support of three independents and the Australian Greens. To secure a governing coalition, the Australian Labor Party committed to a series of wide-ranging parliamentary reforms with the Australian Greens and the Coalition including new procedures for Question Time in the House of Representatives, enhancing the authority of the Speaker, strengthening the role of committees, increasing the prominence of private members’ business and establishing a Parliamentary Budget Office and Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner.Key challenges bef... Read more...

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