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Democratic Audit Update 18 July 2008

by Democratic Audit Australia

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



Donations and disclosures in Victoria

The Democratic Audit of Australia has made a submission to the inquiry by the Victorian Parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee into political donations and disclosures. The submission makes the case for an internet-based regime of disclosure similar to that operated by the NY City Campaign Finance Board.

Read the Audit submission here

Read other submissions here

Auditing campaigns

The Special Minister of State, Senator John Faulkner, and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, have issued new guidelines for federal government advertising under which all ad campaigns costing over $250,000 will be scrutinised by the Auditor-General.

Read the 2 July media release

JSCEM 2007 election inquiry

The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) has advertised a series of public hearings relating to its inquiry into the conduct of the 2007federal election.

Further information is available here

Whistleblower inquiry

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is inquiring into whistleblowing protections within the Australian Government public sector to develop a preferred model. Interested organisations and individuals are invited to make submissions by Friday 8 August 2008.

More information is available here

A new Indigenous representative body

Tom Calma, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, has released Building a Sustainable National Indigenous Representative Body: Issues for Consideration, an issues paper examining the issues that need to be considered in the formulation of a new representative body. The report does not propose a model for the body itself.

Read the report here

Constitutional consequences

Reforming our Constitution, a new report from the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, examines the consequences of the lack of reform to the Constitution in recent decades. It recommends that all intergovernmental agreements are referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny, and advocates greater public debate on constitutional reform – particularly on issues such as whether the Constitution should be revised to “acknowledge where we as Australians have come from”;set out rights and protections as well as practical national governance structures; andarticulate aspirations for a nation.

Read the full report here

The business of the House

The House of Representatives Procedure Committee is inquiring into the conduct of the business of the House of Representatives. The inquiry will focus on options for sitting hour reform, speaking times for legislation and other debates, the length of time allocated to items of business, and options for managing the competing demands on members’ time posed by chamber duties, party meetings and parliamentary committee meetings.

• Further information available here

Parliamentary remuneration

Parliamentary Allowances, Benefits and Salaries of Office is a new report by the Parliamentary Library’s Leanne Manthorpe. It looks briefly at benefits and focuses on allowances and salaries, explaining the legislative basis and fixing and linking mechanisms.

The report is available here

Also released by the Parliamentary Library is The Annual Allowance for Senators and Members, also written by Leanne Manthorpe, which explains the legislative basis, fixing and linking mechanisms for the allowance.

This report available here


Australia is the subject of the cover featurein the latest edition of Federations magazine, published by the Forum of Federations: The Global Network on Federalism. The article was written by Anne Twomey, associate professor of law at the University of Sydney.

Download the full June–July 2008 edition of Federations here

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