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Topic: Senate
Care about out democracy? Read this & spread the word

Care about out democracy? Read this & spread the word

If you are only going to read one thing about how Australia’s federal Parliament works – and more importantly how it doesn’t work – read this fabulous piece by the long-standing Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans. Among many things, he highlights the fact that the supposed ‘Westminster system’ we are repeatedly told Australia has, […]

Barnaby & the future of the Nationals

Barnaby & the future of the Nationals

The Nationals’ Senate Leader, Barnaby Joyce, gave an address to the National Press Club yesterday where his key theme was the need for the Nationals to more clearly distinguish themselves from the Liberals. He said “the 2007 Federal election loss was a devastating event for the Federal National Party, not only because it saw us out […]

Putting families first by keeping political donations secret?!

Putting families first by keeping political donations secret?!

It’s probably redundant to express bafflement at Steve Fielding’s actions in the Senate, so instead I’ll state that I’m flabbergasted at the Family First Senator’s decision this week to block an attempt to restore some transparency to political donations in Australia.  It’s hard to see how Australian families benefit from enabling the wealthy to keep […]

Senate debate starts on workplace law changes

Senate debate starts on workplace law changes

Given public statements made by both the Coalition and the Greens, it is very hard to see a majority of the Senate insisting on any amendments it makes, should the government reject them in the House of Representatives. This means Labor will make the eventual decision on what type of amendments, if any, they are willing to wear and the Senate debate will serve mainly as a vehicle for the various parties to do some positioning on what is still a politically significant issue.

Reviewing the Senate’s Question Time trial

Reviewing the Senate’s Question Time trial

Back in November, I wrote about the Senate’s decision to use the final two sitting weeks to trial new procedures for Question Time, with the aim of making the process more relevant and effective.  In short, questioners were given an extra supplementary question, Ministers had less time for their initial answer (2 minutes instead of 4) […]

Evidence of creative genius

Evidence of creative genius

It may sound implausible, but I have to admit that since leaving the Senate, I haven’t managed to find the enthusiasm (or the time) to follow every single debate that has occurred in that illustrious Parliamentary chamber.  So I have to admit the following heartfelt declaration of adoration for the beauty and majesty of the […]

Trial reform of Senate Question Time

Trial reform of Senate Question Time

Not long after the new Senate was sworn in back in August, there was a brief flurry of coverage about the possibility of some significant reforms being made to Question Time, with a few people finally having the honesty to acknowledge it was basically a waste of time as an accountability or information gathering mechanism. […]

Senate likely to produce large reject pile

Senate likely to produce large reject pile

We have now seen the first two sitting weeks of the new Senate. Most attention was given to the rejection of the government’s legislation increasing the tax on luxury cars, with Family First’s Steve Fielding joining with the Coalition to knock off the Bill at the Second Reading stage, before any attempts could be made […]

Senate bashing makes a welcome return

Senate bashing makes a welcome return

It only took one Bill being defeated in the Senate for the hand-wringing to start about mandates and legitimate government actions being frustrated by an obstructionist Senate. Paul Kelly went into hyperbolic overdrive in The Australian, going even further than Paul Keating in some gratuitous Senate bashing.  Apparently, the new government is being “undermined by […]