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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Rudd Government Faces First Question Time

The Rudd Government has faced its first Question Time in the new Parliament.

The Opposition Leader’s first question was about petrol and food prices. It required a Dorothy Dixer from the government’s backbench for the stolen generations apology to be raised.

Julia Gillard delivered the most assured and polished performance, emphasising the government’s mandate on industrial relations when asked about the legislation introduced today to dismantle the Howard government’s WorkChoices. [Read more…]


John Faulkner: Balancing Government Effectiveness With Oversight And Scrutiny

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a wide-ranging speech on Senate reform to The Sydney Institute.

Faulkner, the ALP Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, said the Senate had evolved into an effective house of review but the task now was to ensure that governments can carry out their electoral promises whilst maintaining oversight and scrutiny.

Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s Address to the Sydney Institute on Senate Reform.

FaulknerLadies and Gentlemen, in June this year the Prime Minister announced his Government’s intention to reform the “deadlock provisions of the Constitution in section 57.”[1]

For Mr Howard constitutional reform is a newfound interest. For Labor, constitutional reform is a long held conviction, reforms not solely about the moment, reforms not solely about advantaging the Government in power. Unlike John Howard and the Liberal Party, Labor has been committed to restricting the powers of the Senate since Federation. [Read more…]


Howard Claims Better Record In Question Time Than Keating, Hawke Or Fraser

More questions have been asked during Questions Without Notice during the six years and three months of the Howard Government than during the prime ministerships of Paul Keating, Bob Hawke or Malcolm Fraser, indicating a greater commitment to accountability and parliamentary democracy, according to John Howard.

John Howard, Prime MinisterThe Prime Minister was responding to a question from the Liberal member for Casey, Tony Smith, during Question Time in the House of Representatives.

Howard gave figures which show that proportionally his government’s ministers have responded to more questions without notice than the governments of Paul Keating (1991-96), Bob Hawke (1983-91) and Malcolm Fraser (1975-83).

This is mainly because Question Time has been extended under Howard to allow for a minimum number of questions each sitting day. Question Time often lasts for up to 90 minutes, whereas for decades it was restricted to 60 minutes. [Read more…]


Making The Bastards Honest: Democrats’ Accountability Package

This is the Australian Democrats’ Accountability package.

The documents includes policies on political parties; the public service and Freedom of Information laws; government appointments; ministerial code of conduct; politicians’ entitlements, including superannuation; and corporate accountability.

The document was released by the party’s leader, Senator Meg Lees. [Read more…]