A Parliamentary committee has recommended a referendum for constitutional recognition of local government be held this year – for the third time in the past 40 years. There was a referendum on the matter in 1974, and one again in 1988, neither of which carried.
The call has been made by the Joint Select Committee (the Committee) on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government in its recently released report (the Report): Preliminary report on the majority finding of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government: the proposal, timing and likely success of a referendum to amend Section 96 of the Australian Constitution to effect financial recognition of local government.
The popular media’s treatment of immigration as a “hot-potato issue” belies Australia’s legacy of placing migration policy at the heart of Government and economic planning. Even while it has been mired in political controversy, it has continued to evolve to meet economic needs.
At a time of tight labor markets, businesses should be aware of the immigration policy drivers, especially given the policy is now strongly focused on meeting business needs, and ask whether they address their own employment issues.
One of the least remarked upon elements of the agreement that gave Julia Gillard the Prime Ministership in 2010 is likely to provide a central character in 2013, now that the election date is set.
Phil Bowen, who was appointed to the position of Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) in mid-2012 to head the small office that was created to independently assess the policy costings of all parties, and to assist all Members and Senators to scrutinise the budget.
Mr Bowen was the Australian Director of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) prior to taking up his present job.
Swimming. Sand. Surfing. Spending time with your family and friends. Generally, taking it easy. Oh, and cricket on the radio.
For me, the summer break means a chance to re-acquaint myself with an old and dear friend, the newspaper. In this brave and bold new digital world, I venture to say that newsprint is far better equipped to cope with the rigours of the summer sojourn than any digital companion.
NOTE: This article, written by CPR’s David Forman, was orginally publish on ABC’s The Drum on Janurary 10, 2013. Link: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4458428.html
Tony Abbott has left no doubt about his intention to scrap the carbon tax should he become prime minister. But it is not going to be easy, and there’s every chance carbon pricing will stay in place, writes David Forman.
The issue of carbon pricing has one more electoral cycle to run, but it will be dead either by December 2013 or late 2015, depending on the result of this year’s election.
Either way, few politicians will lament its disappearance from the political front line.
A skateboarding rhino dubbed Spike has become an unlikely and quirky poster beastie for tram safety in Melbourne. Part of a campaign for public transport company Yarra Trams, the skateboarding rhino reminds pedestrians and commuters to take care, because a tram weighs as much as 30 of Africa’s most famous horned megafauna, and you will come off second best in a collision. The idea is to deliver message cut through to an audience that is literally deaf to safety warnings – plugged in and wired Gen Ys who are so distracted by their iPods and phones that they are liable to wander in front of a tram, with catastrophic consequences.
Public transport advertising campaigns in Melbourne have a chequered history. Who could forget train company Connex’s “Dr Martin Merton”, a fictional etiquette expert who enlightened us on being nice to your fellow passenger by, amongst other things, not farting on the train? Or government authority The Met’s facile “BATBYGOBSTOPL” campaign, which featured a cheesy retro-styled jingle (watch here) about the great new acronym, short for “Buying A Ticket Before You Get On Board Saves Time Or Problems Later.”
There is something profoundly disturbing about what the furore surrounding US politician Todd Akin – but it’s not what he is being hammered for by other politicians and commentators.
Akin, an 11-year veteran of the US Congress and committed anti-abortion campaigner said in a live TV interview at the weekend that he believed women were unlikely to become pregnant after suffering legitimate rape.
The resulting shock and fury has continued unabated with everyone from the President down belting Akin. President Obama’s comments epitomised the popular angle of attack – that it was unacceptable for rape to be parsed into categories of legitimate and illegitimate.
This blog is dedicated to Gore Vidal who once said:
As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
Springsteen and the battle of ideas
Before you are next tempted to lament the lack of conviction of modern politicians, consider taking this challenge for a day. Go through the major daily newspapers, watch the television news and listen to the radio and find one – just one – article that begins with an idea.
There will be plenty of articles that describe conflicts between individuals – real or invented. You’ll find plenty of “color” stories, and a lot that are glorified race calls based on polls or someone’s assessment of “the numbers” in one party or another.
It used to be said that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrap.
That was before we realised that there were probably healthier condiments for fried fish than newsprint, but the underlying truism – that news lasts a day then it becomes history – continues to hold.
In fact, among practitioners of journalism, this seems to have been taken to extreme and unhealthy lengths.
It has become popular to lament the lack of “real leaders” and to suggest that they have been displaced by “poll-driven politicians”. But there is evidence that it is the leading daily newspapers that are now the most poll-driven organisations in Australia. And worse, that they are led by inadequate and improperly interpreted polling.
On the day South Australian Treasurer Jack Snelling handed down his second budget – a day which many felt would begin the phony war before the 2014 State election – the battle lines for election were drawn, literally.
The South Australian Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission, clearly in a move to toy with the mental state of local political advisors and journalists, chose the day to announce the redistribution of the state’s electorates, as is required every four years.
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