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Democratic Audit Update June 2009

by Democratic Audit Australia

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


ACT campaign advertising inquiry

The Audit’s submission to the ACT Legislative Assembly’s Select Committee on Campaign Advertising is now available, as are submissions from a number of other organisations. Public hearings will be held in July 2009.

The shadow cabinet in Australia

In the Shadows: The Shadow Cabinet in Australia, a new report by the 2008 Australian Parliamentary Fellow, Joel Bateman, discusses the roles, functions and procedures of the modern Australian shadow cabinet.

Campaign finance forum

The Democratic Audit is co-hosting a forum on campaign finance reform in Melbourne on 27 July 2009 at Parliament House. The forum will be broadcast on the ABC Radio National program, The National Interest. Further details to follow.

A modest democracy

On the one-hundredth anniversary of the creation of Australia’s modern political party system, Paul Strangio writes for Inside Story about two very different landmarks – Alfred Deakin’s Point Lonsdale holiday house and the new Museum of Australian Democracy.

Ministers: Ludwig replaces Faulkner

Following the departure of Senator John Faulkner to the defence portfolio, the new Special Minister of State is Senator Joe Ludwig. Senator Faulkner initiated a series of legislative and policy development initiatives during his eighteen months as minister, which were welcomed by the Audit. The new minister has an extensive background in union advocacy and industrial law.

House of Reps committees under review

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Procedure is conducting an inquiry into the effectiveness of the House committees, examining: the number, subject coverage, membership and means of appointment of committees; the type of work being undertaken by committees; the appropriateness of current Standing and Sessional Orders; the powers and operations of committees; and factors influencing the effectiveness of House committees, including resources and structural issues. Submissions are sought by 3 July 2009.

Forthcoming elections

The Parliamentary Library has released a new edition of its Australian Elections Timetable, which provides n overview of the rules for determining the next Commonwealth, state and territory elections. The paper lists the date of the next election where this is fixed, or, where applicable, the earliest and latest possible dates on which it may occur.

Electoral school decision criticised

In a media release, a series of interviews and an article in the Sunday Age, the Audit’s Brian Costar has criticised the decision of the federal government to withdraw funding from the Australian Electoral Commission’s Electoral Education Centre in Melbourne. Audit contributor Dean Jaensch wrote about the issue for the Adelaide Advertiser, and the closure was discussed at the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee’s Estimates hearing on 28 May (see pages 35–41 of the Hansard transcript).

The state of Australian democracy

Australia: The State of Democracy, by the Democratic Audit’s Marian Sawer, Norman Abjorensen and Phil Larkin, originally due in mid-June, will now be published on 3 July by Federation Press.

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