Monthly Archives: March 2011

New GST review: Will it be successful?

The federal government has commissioned a review of the distribution of GST revenue to the states and territories. The announcement coincided with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to Western Australia yesterday – a state which says they’ve been penalized because of the mining boom.

The government says the review will lead to a simpler, fairer,  more predictable and more efficient GST distribution to states and territories… but will it ?

Catherine Zengerer was joined by Professor John Quiggin from the University of Queensland to discuss the issue. She asked Professor Quiggin what Treasurer Wayne Swan means by the term “horizontal fiscal equalisation.”

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How can you make your vote count?

A public hearing was held yesterday by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters about the conduct of the 2010 Federal election. The meeting was held as part of an inquiry into concerns that voters are not making their votes count.

2010’s Federal Election had 5.55 per cent of informal votes which has risen from past years. This means that over seven hundred and twenty thousand votes were not counted in the 2010 Election.

The public hearing aimed to help people understand how to make their votes count and reduce the level of informal votes at the next election.

To discuss yesterday’s hearing, Catherine Zengerer was joined by New South Wales MP Daryl Melham. She asked Mr. Melham why the level of informal votes is on the rise.

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Libya Update

Australia has recently declared their support for the formation of a NATO-led international contact group to provide leadership and political guidance in Libya.

A summit was held in London earlier this week, after the formation of the United Nation’s National Security Council Resolution 1973, which introduced a no-fly zone over Libya and reconfirmed an opposition to escalating violence.

Although Australian representative John Dauth suggested the conference will have a positive outcome, others believe the leaders’ summit “struggled to devise an endgame” for the Libyan violence.

The first meeting of the contact group is due to be held in Qatar with participating countries taking rotating chairmanship.

Meanwhile, in the US, President Barack Obama gave a speech explaining the limits of America’s role in Libya. He defended America’s position and their commitment to the new NATO command.

To discuss the current situation in Libya, Catherine Zengerer spoke to Dr. Matthew Grey, Senior Lecturer of the Australian National University, who specialises in Arab and Middle Eastern issues. She asked Dr. Grey for his opinion on the current situation in Syria.

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What does a ‘sustainable population policy’ mean for our cities?

Yesterday, Urban Taskforce Australia held a panel discussion on “What does a ‘sustainable population policy’ mean for our cities?”

A recent report was also commissioned by the Urban Taskforce, titled ‘People Power’, which looks at the issue of population growth within our cities.

This report came about after concerns that the Federal Government’s forthcoming “Sustainable Population Strategy” may conclude that some cities have reached their “carrying capacity”.

Urban Taskforce are concerned that this strategy may seek to freeze Australia’s capital cities at their current size. The report considers the economic impact of such a government policy decision.

To talk about this issue, Catherine Zengerer was joined Aaron Gadiel, Chief Executive of Urban Taskforce Australia. She asked Mr Gadiel what this ‘sustainable population policy’ actually means, and whether economic growth, vibrant city and population growth all go hand-in-hand.

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Security guard injured in armed hospital robbery

This week on London Calling, Catherine Zengerer spoke to our regular UK correspondent Dermot Smyth about the promotion of Irish foods in Europe. First up, we find out about the security guard injured in an armed robbery at the Belfast hospital where the robbers dressed as patients!

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Mining Tax back in the Headlines

The federal government’s controversial Mining Tax has been back in the headlines the last few days, after The Greens announced they do not back the decision to decrease company tax.

While the Greens support the Mineral Resource Rent Tax it was planned that the tax would fund a decrease the corporate tax rate by one percent.

Julia Gillard says the government will push ahead with corporate tax cuts, despite Bob Brown saying the money could be better spent on small businesses.

Catherine Zengerer asked Crickey’s Canberra Correspondant Bernard Keane is this is simply a ploy for Labor and The Greens to seem like they aren’t in cahoots with each other.

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Radioactive water threatens Japanese People

Earlier this week, highly radioactive water and plutonium were found for the first time outside Japan’s Fukishima nuclear plant.

According to plant operator TEPCO the water leaked out of the turbine building of the number two reactor.

Despite this, the Japanese government are saying that they have no choice but to continue flooding the reactors with water to keep them from overheating.

Catherine Zengerer asked Professor John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit of National Nuclear Corporation UK, just how toxic the water is.

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Australia and China come together on Climate Change

The first Australia-China Climate Change Forum is being held today at ANU and will have addresses by Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet, and the man responsible for China’s climate change policies, Xie Zhenhua.

The pair met yesterday for the third meeting between the two countries regarding climate change, from which they issued a paper outlining Beijing’s latest 12-year plan for the country’s environmental policies.

Catherine Zengerer asked Professor Will Steffen, Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute Professor about Beijing’s 12 year plan.

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Perth residents head to Curtin Detention Centre

The latest incident of a death at Curtin detention centre has highlighted the need to urgently assist refugees suffering for mental health issues, including depression.

A group in Western Australia are planning to help.

Breakfast producer Jordan Archer caught up with Clare Middlemas from the Refugee Rights Action Network and asked her what the group plans to do this weekend during their Skill Share in the Park session.

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Community concern over planned water allocations

 The State Government could restrict water use from private dams under a new plan being considered for the Adelaide Hills.

Last night a public dinner meeting on the proposed Water Allocation Plan was held in the Strathalbyn Town Hall and was chaired by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

Another independent member also in attendance was the Hon. John Darley and Catherine Zengerer spoke to him about the Water Allocation Plan and what concerns were raised at last night’s meeting.

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