Federal Government

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When Treasurer Joe Hockey presents the budget next week it will be worth reviewing the language he and Prime Minister Tony Abbott use about government spending. Lukas Coch/AAP

Busting the myth that Australia has ‘big government’

Despite the rhetoric that Australia needs to reign in government spending, we're actually out of step with other developed economies.
Are Queensland’s cassowaries being let down by Canberra’s officialdom?. Dave Kimble/Wikimedia Commons

Cassowaries and chaplains: how to avoid Canberra’s conservation overreach

What do school chaplains and cassowaries have in common? Both highlight the degree to which federal governments struggle to devolve quality public decision-making to the right level. Our schools and our…
Furniture retailer Harvey Norman has been targeted by activists, in a campaign described by the federal government as dishonest. AAP Image/The Last Stand/Matthew Newton

Boycotts are a crucial weapon to fight environment-harming firms

In October 2000, I was driving through downtown Boise, Idaho, and nearly careered off the road. Just in front of me was a giant inflatable Godzilla-like dinosaur, well over 30m tall. It was towering over…
Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal-state reform: is Abbott offering the real deal?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced on the weekend that a government he leads would adopt a new approach to relations between the Commonwealth and the states. He has promised to meet with the state…
Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. AAP

A long slide towards debt leads to Wayne’s budget swansong

How did the Australian economy, which boasts the best performance of the major advanced economies, end up with an estimated budget deficit of A$19 billion this year and an estimated debt of $178 billion…
Soon after revealing his plans to build a replica Titanic, Clive Palmer has set his sights on becoming Australian Prime Minister. EPA/Jason Szenes

Titanic ambitions: Palmer’s federal push shouldn’t be lightly dismissed

Queensland has a habit of raising the eyebrows of our southern cousins when it comes to politics “our way”. Visits to friends and family down south always have required explanations about Joh Bjelke-Petersen…
Another funding shake-up: the University of South Queensland and others are concerned about cuts to student funding and scholarships. USQ/Grace Yu

Students to pay the price for reduced university funding

Losing A$200 a student doesn’t sound like a major cut for a multi-billion-dollar industry - so will the new university funding…
Changes to 457 visas by the Gillard government has divided political and public opinion in Australia. AAP/Lukas Coch

How the 457 scheme is changing Australian immigration

The current public debate over temporary employment 457 visa holders has thrown a spotlight on a major shift in Australia’s migration program. Historical context Prior to the introduction of the Temporary…
Single mothers on welfare need support for further education, not a cut to government payments. Single mother image from www.shutterstock.com

Single mothers need education, not welfare cuts

Unpopular Government cuts, introduced last year that have pushed more than 100,000 sole parents onto lower support payments, has left many families reeling with single mothers experiencing particular disadvantage…
We need to look beyond bikies for a solution to tackle organised crime in Australia. AAP/NSW Police

Targeting bikies won’t fix organised crime

Last week, the High Court upheld Queensland’s controversial criminal association laws, which had been challenged by the Gold Coast Chapter of the Finks Motor Cycle Club and Pompano Pty Ltd. The challenge…
After surviving two challenges to her leadership, Julia Gillard faces a desperately tough fight in the upcoming election. AAP/Alan Porritt

The remains of the day: where to for Gillard?

After one of the more bizarre days in Australian politics, Julia Gillard remains as the prime minister of Australia. The question of leadership of the Labor Party has been a constant problem for the party…
There are many issues affecting the volume of clinical trials conducted in Australia. AAP

More work required to boost clinical trials

A new Federal Government website providing information on clinical trials has been welcomed by doctors, but they say it fails…
Craig Emerson may be well regarded as Trade Minister, but he can’t sing. AAP/Lukas Coch

Singing, dancing politicians: don’t do it, unless you can

It is a clear and incontrovertible case for the Deparment of Community Services and the public must immediately demand intervention. We cannot allow the suffering of the children to continue. I am of course…

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