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Democratic Audit Update 19 March 2008

By Democratic Audit
Created 19/03/2008 - 20:07

by Democratic Audit Australia [1]

This is the first Democratic Audit Update from the Audit’s new home at the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology. Readers won’t notice any dramatic changes – the Audit will continue to draw on a network of researchers around Australia, including the team at ANU, who’ve kept up a remarkable flow of reports, papers and news over the past six years. Particular thanks to Marian Sawer, Peter Brent, Norm Kelly and Norman Abjorensen for helping with a smooth transition. Contributions to future newsletters are welcomed; please send them to Brian Costar – bcostar@swin.edu.au [1].

Democratic Audit submission to NSW inquiry

The Audit’s Dr Phil Larkin has made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Electoral and Political Party Funding, highlighting three issues: the relationship between funding regimes; the timeliness of donation disclosures; and the structure of the Election Funding Authority.

Read the full submission here [2]

Colin Hughes on political funding

The former Electoral Commissioner, Professor Colin A. Hughes, has told the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Electoral and Political Party Funding that “[t]he essential components for an election finance system without which the system must be suspect are, first, machinery to enforce, monitor and recommend, and second, continuous, comprehensive and total disclosure of both income and outgo. All else is bells and whistles.”

Read the full Hughes submission here [3]
Visit the inquiry’s webpage here [4]

JSCEM members announced

The membership of the federal parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) has been finalised: the chair is Labor’s Daryl Melham MP and the deputy chair is Liberal MP Scott Morrison.

A full membership list is here [5]

McEwen goes to the Federal Court


The contested result in the federal division of McEwen is set down for a directions hearing in the Federal Court of Australia (Melbourne) on 28 March 2008, before Justice Tracey.

Foreign political donations


In this briefing note Senator Andrew Murray argues that Australia – like countries including the United States, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom – should ban foreign donations to domestic political parties to stop foreign influence in domestic political affairs.

Read this paper here [6]

Dear Minister, ignore public service experience at your peril


Writing in the Public Sector Informant supplement to the Canberra Times, Patrick Weller argues that the public service prospers when it is well led by ministers who know what they want and how to use the skills of the public servants who work with them.

Read page 1 of this article here [7]
and page 2 here [8]

Politics/Media Conference proceedings

Convened by the Media and Communications Program, University of Melbourne, on 12–13 February 2008, this conference brought together researchers and practitioners in Australian politics, media and political communication. Conference papers covered political reporting from both a research and practitioner point of view, with a number focusing on the 2007 federal election campaign and others taking a broader view of political communications in both theory and practice. The full text of most papers in available at The Soapbox, an elections database established by the Media and Communications Program.

Find the papers here [9]

Will the latest aNiMaLS be CUTSies or go CaCTUS?

In 1996 the infamous National Media Liaison Service (known as “aNiMaLS”) became the equally infamous Government Members’ Secretariat. Will the Rudd government’s Caucus Committee Support and Training Unit perform the same role, asks Mark Davis in the Sydney Morning Herald on 25 February 2008. Not so, says Senator Robert Ray: there will be “no media monitoring; no research on the Opposition; no direct campaigning in elections and the like…”

Read Mark Davis’s article here [10]

Branch stacks and smokestacks

Linton Besser, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald on 8 March 2008, reveals branch stacking to influence candidate pre-selection has played a roll in the troubles besetting the Wollongong City Council.

Read the full article here [11]

The Everyday Democracy Index

Demos in the UK has developed this index as “a tool for assessing the democratic health of European countries across many different dimensions”. According to a paper launched on 31 January, everryday democracy “includes not just formal dimensions of democracy but also more everyday features of democracy – how important democratic principles and practices are to the cultures of workplaces, to people’s community life, to the way they interact with public services, and even to the way they talk to their friends and family.”

Read the full report here [12]


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