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Decipher: The Balance of Power in the Senate

You may have heard news reports referring to the Balance of Power in the Senate. This is an important factor in the legislative process, one that can determine whether or not a Bill is passed at all.

In essence, the balance of power in the Senate is the control held by minor parties or independents who can, by cooperating with the governing party, ensure the government has a majority in the Senate. Alternatively, they can cooperate with the Opposition to block government bills in the Senate.

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Decipher: Ministers, portfolios and the Cabinet

In the news, you will often hear politicians referred to as the “Minister for Defence” or the “Minister for Education.” These titles refer to government members who have been assigned portfolios, which means that they are in charge of a certain area of policy.

We have discussed the legislative aspect of Australian government. Ministers, portfolios and the Cabinet all fall under the executive branch.

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How will the 2014-15 Federal Budget affect the Uniting Church’s Community Service Providers and those they serve?

The 2014-15 Federal Budget has been released, revealing the Government’s policy and spending priorities.

This Budget will have many effects on the Uniting Church’s service providers (UnitingCare agencies), as well as those who require the support and help of the UnitingCare network.

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Decipher: The Australian Federal Budget, Part 2

In part 1 of Decipher: The Australian Federal Budget, we discussed the lead-up to the presentation of the Australian Federal Budget. In part 2, we will discuss what happens afterwards.

Deconstruction and commentary

On the night of the Federal Budget, the news is dominated by analysis and commentary.

Various groups dissect the Budget documents, extract the government’s outlook and priorities, and attempt to predict the effect the new Budget will have on Australia.

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Decipher: The Australian Federal Budget, Part 1

Every year, the Australian government prepares the Federal Budgeta statement outlining their intended income and expenditure over the following year. This is a good time to find out what a government’s priorities are by examining the way they divide up the country’s spending.

In order to follow the Budget, we will return to our fictional politician, Reginald Personson MP of the Generally Pleasant Party, as he watches the budget process in regards to one of his areas of interest, the Federal Manners Commission.
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Decipher: Parliamentary Committees

One of the best ways for the community to have input in political discussion is through submissions to parliamentary committees. Organisations and individuals can submit letters and reports to groups of backbenchers investigating specific topics, or considering the future of bills in parliament.

In order to find out what a committee is and what their function is, let’s return to our fictional politician, Reginald Personson MP, Member for Houghnice.

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Decipher: Who Is Your Member of Parliament?

Talking to your local Member of Parliament is sometimes the best way to have your say in federal politics. But what is a Member of Parliament? How did they get to that position?

To answer some of these questions, we have created a fictional character. His name is Reginald Personson, and he lives in the town of Civilton, which is in the federal electorate of “Houghnice”.
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Decipher: Energy Poverty in Australia

What is energy poverty?

For some disadvantaged households in Australia, paying gas and electricity bills means sacrificing other essentials such as food, medical care, and transport, and/or self-rationing their heating, hot water and electricity. Energy bills take up a larger percentage of the total pay-check for lower income households, even though they use less electricity and gas.

The reasons behind this are many and complex.

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