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Domestic policies

Is a referendum on local government needed?

Bede Harris's picture

The need for a referendum to reference local government in the Australian Constitution is debatable according to Dr Bede Harris. The senior lecturer in Law at Charles Sturt University asks why more important constitutional issues are not being addressed.

Are senior Australians being squeezed by the cost of living?

Tim Adair's picture

The cost of living remains a major political and social issue for older Australians. The rising cost of health care in particular is a concern for an ageing population, says Dr Tim Adair from the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre.

Still a long way to go for Australia’s gun laws

Sam Lee's picture

After the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania 17 years ago, Australia’s gun laws were significantly tightened. With Firearm Consultative Committees full of pro gun lobby groups, there is still a lot to be done, says Samantha Lee from Gun Control Australia.

The NDIS levy – a new era for tax, trust and open government?

Craig Wallace's picture

After the government announcement to increase the Medicare levy to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia, focusses on what this means for broader debates around taxation and accountability.

Are Abbott’s careful words a smokescreen on RU486?

Lee Rhiannon's picture

After the announcement that the abortion drugs RU486 and Misoprostol could be approved for tax subsidy by the government, Greens senator for NSW Lee Rhiannon questions the motives of Tony Abbott’s careful reaction.

Where New Zealand has led Australia will follow

Rodney Croome's picture

After the New Zealand parliament has passed legislation to make same-sex marriage legal, Rodney Croome, national director of Australian Marriage Equality, argues why Australia should follow suit.


Canberra passes new law on workplace gender equality

Parliament House CanberraThe Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, passed on 22 November by federal parliament, is a landmark development on the journey to gender equality in Australian workplaces. It promotes equal pay between women and men and  the elimination of discrimination on the basis of family and caring responsibilities.  Under the Act, non-public sector organisations with 100 or more employees must report to the Government on actual gender equality outcomes.

Giving a voice to the community

Peter Fritz's picture

In a democratic society, every voice should have equal weight. Peter Fritz argues that it is not the institutions or formal titles that give individuals the power to make a difference, but an active participation in policy discussions.

Self-sustaining leviathan

Robert.Carling's picture

When Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spoke off the cuff about American welfare recipients not paying tax, he drew a lot of criticism, even though he was factually correct. Robert Carling looks at the situation in Australia.

Why the silence on cuts to public education?

Maurie Mulheron's picture

There has always been public approval for programs that increase Australia's educational standards, with the public buying into the notion of upskilling in a competitive global economy. Maurie Mulheron comments on the recent announcement by the NSW government to cut funding to public schools.