Senate Committee Recommends Referendum on Dual Citizenship

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The Senate Committee that examines election issues has spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how best to ensure the citizenship crisis of this parliament never repeats itself.

In a report released today, the committee argues strongly that a referendum should be conducted to adjust section 44, following the introduction of dual citizenship in the 1970’s. More than half the nation possess some form of dual citizenship, meaning this is an issue that will not go away.

The report finds the members of our defence forces may possess dual citizenship, but not parliamentarians.

The Government argues that a referendum would be to difficult to win, and instead is working with the AEC to beef up the application process, which may include producing renunciation paperwork with a candidates application to stand for election.

Budget 2018 | Arts


$14.2 million dollars over four years will be spent boosting the services of the office of the eSaftey Commissioner. The funding will be used to establish a new process to report non-consensual sharing of inappropriate images. It also continues several information campaigns.  

The government is forcing the ABC to find efficiencies in its organisation by pausing the indexation payment in its funding. The broadcaster receives $3.16 billion dollars every three years so the equivalent of $84 million dollars over the next three year will not be provided to them. $17.6 million will be given to SBS for radio and television production.  

$140 million dollars over four years will be spent attracting blockbuster movies to produce their films on the gold coast. Movies in the Marvel franchise and Pirates of the Caribbean have been filmed on the Gold Coast previously under similar funding programs. It’s a small price to pay for a lot of industry investment.

The place of Captain Cook’s landing is set for a refresh with $50 million dollars for a new monument and museum at Kurnell in Sydney. The controversial landmark will cater to student groups and partner with local indigenous communities in its design and layout.

We don’t really have any other place to stick this, but we’d thought you’d like to know that craft beer will receive a cut in its excise. To cut a long story short, the government will now reduce the excise payment for smaller barrels, which means that brewers can expand their businesses into local pubs and clubs in greater number.

Cheers to that!




Budget 2018 | Energy


$40 million dollars will be spent over the next five years on various measures that seek to improve energy affordability reliability and sustainability.

The funding will implement the recommendations from the recent Finkel review, which seeks to improve the regulation of Australian gas market and support the work of COAG in securing a National Energy guarantee. The next COAG Meeting on Energy is scheduled in August.  

The funding will place the nations gas market under the microscope, by improving the way it operates. It will investigate the current regulations and recommend changes. Gas supply has been an issue over the last 12 months and has been a factor in increasing prices for consumers.

The government is continuing with the Snowy Hydro expansion and it has reached a crucial hurdle in the budget – it has acquired 100% of the project at a cost of $6.3 billion dollars. Up until now, Victoria, New South Wales and the Federal Government were joint owners of it. When completed it will be able to store enough energy to power 500,000 homes for a week.

There is also additional funding for the Bureau of Meteorology for additional equipment purchasing and upgrades. It hasn’t been purchased yet so the amount allocated to spend is not for publication (NFP).

Budget 2018 | Regional Development


Infrastructure and health initiatives are prominent in this year’s budget for the regions.
More than $200 million dollars over four years will be invested in community infrastructure. Just under a quarter of this will be spent on projects that will benefit tourists to visit the regions – hopefully with their large wallets.
$120 million dollars will be given to regional universities over the next five years, to support more places for students to study. This should allow for several thousand more places for students to study where they live.
The regions will receive over $80 million dollars in the next five years in a new strategy to target health services. The funding will encourage young doctors to head to the regions in an attempt to build the health workforce across the country. In addition to expanding training programs, the money will also be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations.
Regional airports will continue to benefit from a $28 million dollar program over fours year that improves the conditions of Regional Airstrips. The safety upgrades enable more specialist medical aircraft to land in more rural locations across the country. The Royal Flying doctor service will receive additional funding, to provide dental and mental health services.




Budget 2018 | Social Services


The government intends to place pressure on lawbreakers using welfare payments. It will pass laws giving Centrelink the ability to suspend the welfare payments of folks who have outstanding arrest warrants. It will also continue to target welfare fraud, expecting to raise $300 million dollars over three years in Centrelink debt repayments.
The controversial cashless welfare debit card trial in WA and SA has been extended until June 2019. The government will also spend $50 million dollars over the next year to address the call waiting times – It’s estimated that thousands of calls go unanswered each week.
Support for domestic violence services continues with $11.5 million dollars over the next two years for 1800RESPECT. Workers in the front line of domestic violence services will receive extra training and support with a $7 million dollar investment.
Also under the microscope is carer support – the various support services for carers will be streamlined over the next five years to produce a consistent national program. To pay for this, the government will introduce an income test, meaning that those earning more than $250,000 per year will no longer receive carer support payments




Budget 2018 | Enviroment


More than half a billion dollars will be invested into the Great Barrier Reef. With the Government facing pressure across the nation and the globe, there are several areas of spending in reef protection over the next five years.

Scientists will promote the growth of coral that is resilient to changes in weather and bleaching. There is more money to continue the program of eradicating the crown of thorns starfish, a pest that eats coral.

The government is also working with the agricultural sector to limit the runoff of chemicals and pesticides in the river systems, which eventually rests in the reef. Money has also been committed to expand programs that manage the reef and research programs that are investigating how coral can adapt to rising temperatures. The reef will receive $535 million dollars in funding.

The government is also providing $35 million dollars over the next four years to continue scientific research in Antarctica. The funding extends the research program to 2020, and establishes a new initiative, known as the ‘Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative’.



Budget 2018 | Sport


Local Communities are big winners this year with grants to improve local sports grounds. $147 million dollars will be spent over the next two years to expand the popular Sporting Schools Program. Local sporting groups are also big winners with up to 500 grants of up to $500,000 to improve facilities across the nation.

The Drug and Alcohol Foundation will be given $10 million dollars over two years to continue its education campaign on healthy living to local sporting clubs. Anti-doping measures will also receive additional funding with the regulator, ASADS, receiving and additional $10 million dollars.

Australia will bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. The Football Federation of Australia will receive $4 million dollars over two years to bid for the new international sporting event.




Budget 2018 | Science


For the first time Australians won’t just be looking at the stars, we’ll fly past them.

$50 million dollars has been allocated in seed funding for the creation of Australia’s first space agency. We follow nations like Canada, India and New Zealand who are all developing their own agencies.

Almost $30 million dollars will be spent in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The money will establish a research centre that engages business and government together in developing ways Australia can harness this emerging science.

The Government is also encouraging more women to enter the field of science with a $4.5 million dollar investment over the next four years. The funding will produce information and resources for women who are considering a career in STEM. 


Budget 2018 | Health & Medicare


A major winner in this year’s budget is the aged care sector. The nation is looking down the barrel of a serious aged care crisis, with not enough places in aged and respite care. The budget will begin to tackle the growing waiting list of more than 100,000 people who are seeking to access in-home care, with a package that will increase the number of places available by 14,000.

There’s been a major change to the way the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be funded into the future. In 2017 the government announced it would partially fund the NDIS via a half a percentage increase to the Medicare levy. Just a year later, the increase has been scrapped as the Government argues it can afford this without extra taxation.

Despite this assurance, there is no doubt this will cause nervousness within the disabled community – the levy provided a permanent source of revenue. In ten years time, the NDIS is expected to grow to a $32 billion dollar program.

Whooping cough continues to be problematic. The budget has allocated $40 million dollars to provide free vaccinations to all pregnant women. Lifeline will also receive a crucial funding boost of $34 million dollars, to continue to provide services to vulnerable Australians. Several life-saving medications have also been listed on the PBS, making treatment for some families now a reality.


By-election bonanza

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Three Labor MP’s and a Centre Alliance MP resigned moments ago, following the crystal clear judgement from the High Court.
They will all recontest their seats at by-elections, with the dates are yet to be set. They are likely to be joined by WA MP Tim Hammond, who announced his resignation for family reasons last week.
This will be the first time in the nation’s history that 5 by-elections are contested in one day.