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Democratic Audit Update May 2009

By Democratic Audit
Created 16/05/2009 - 13:34

by Democratic Audit Australia [0]

The latest update from the Democratic Audit program at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, on how our democracy is working.

 

The state of Australian democracy

Australia: The State of Democracy [1], by the Democratic Audit’s Marian Sawer, Norman Abjorensen and Phil Larkin, will be published on 15 June by Federation Press.

Redistributions submissions released

The Australian Electoral Commission has released public comments on suggestions received for the Queensland 2009 Redistribution [2] and public suggestions for the New South Wales 2009 Redistribution [3].

Museum of Australian Democracy opens

Former prime minister Bob Hawke opened the Museum of Australian Democracy [4] in Canberra’s Old Parliament House on 9 May 2009. Remarks made by the special minister of state, Senator John Faulkner, can be read here [5]. On Radio National’s The National Interest [6] recently, Peter Mares explored the museum.

Brimbank City Council probe

Investigation Into the Alleged Improper Conduct of Councillors at Brimbank City Council [7] was tabled in the Victorian parliament on 7 May 2009. The state Ombudsman investigated whether councillors at Brimbank City Council had conspired with each other to breach public trust, misuse information, mismanage public resources and perform their functions as public officers dishonestly. According to the report, [click to continue… [8]]

The Audit’s Brian Costar writes about the report and its implications on Inside Story [9].

Whistleblower protection in NSW

In a new report, Public Interest Disclosures [10], Jason Arditi from the Research Service, Parliament of New South Wales, looks at new legislative protection proposals for whistleblowers in New South Wales. The report aims to identify the circumstances in which whistleblowing is recognised as a public good (and in some respects, a requirement) which warrants protection and encouragement by the law. The paper also lays out the matrix of relevant laws currently in effect in NSW and outlines suggested proposals for reforming the regime.

Chatsworth challenge proceeds

The Liberal National Party candidate’s legal challenge to the state election result in the seat of Chatsworth will proceed after a Supreme Court judge refused an application to have it struck out, reports the Brisbane Courier-Mail [11].

Bridging the gap

How effectively do Australian governments engage with the community, asks Marian Sawer in this article for the Canberra Times Public Sector Informant supplement, republished on Australian Policy Online [12].

Policy and democracy

Writing for Inside Story [13], the Audit’s Norman Abjorensen argues that the federal government’s reversal on climate change is another example of the corporate colonisation of society.

Donations and dislosure in Victoria

The Parliament of Victoria’s Electoral Matters Committee [14] has published its very detailed report, Inquiry Into Political Donations and Disclosure [15]. The committee recommended that: [click to continue… [16]]

Electoral law debate

Writing for Inside Story [17], the Audit’s Peter Brent examined the criticisms of the electoral roll by the opposition’s Senator Michael Ronaldson.

Members’ interests under scrutiny in Victoria

The Victorian Parliament’s Law Reform Committee [18] is reviewing the Members of Parliament (Register of Interests) Act 1978. The closing date for submissions is 29 May 2009.

Senate committees: back to the future

The Senate Procedure Committee has released its report, The Senate Committee System [19], which makes a proposal to change the membership of the legislative and general purpose standing committees. “Basically,” says the committee, which is chaired by the Liberal senator Alan Ferguson, “this proposal involves restructuring the committees to return to the system that was in effect from 1994 to 2006, whereby in each of the eight subject areas of the standing committees there is a legislation committee and a references committee.”

Direct democracy guide

From International IDEA comes Direct Democracy: The International IDEA Handbook [20]. At a time when citizens around the world are showing a growing disenchantment with politicians, this handbook explains how people are increasingly turning to other ways of influencing their governments. [click to continue… [21]]


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