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Local politics: Here’s what you missed this fortnight

By Richard Fox - 13 August 2015 15

legislative assembly

Canberra’s homelessness problem increases

There was a 65 per cent increase in the number of Canberrans contacting homelessness services between 2009 and 2014.

More than 1,000 young Canberrans, aged 15 to 24, contact these services each year.

These are two statistics that, combined with the cold winter, should make you stop and think.

The ACT Government’s major reforms into the homelessness sector have been evaluated after five years, and things aren’t great at all. According to Minister for Housing Yvette Berry, the reforms focused on access to services and housing, increasing outreach and developing more intensive support for hard to help groups.

Those statistics do suggest people are accessing services, which is what the government wants. But as a pure number, it’s pretty heartbreaking, especially when Berry’s media release includes that young people “now represent only 31% of those assisted”. Only.

The Opposition’s housing spokesperson (and former Homelessness Australia CEO), Nicole Lawder, said the government must offer more assistance to those in danger of losing their homes, as well as target the growing waiting lists.

With house prices not coming down any time soon and jobs pretty hard to come by, the government must offer more temporary accommodation and rent assistance to those desperately in need.

Whatever Bronwyn can do, Vicki can match

There’s something about the position of Speaker in Canberra. Slipper and Bishop have dragged the House of Reps position through the mud, while Vicki Dunne could be doing something similar in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Dunne took her husband to a conference in Malaysia and billed the taxpayers. This was in direct defiance of advice from Assembly Clerk Tom Duncan, who banned such a move.

But Dunne is no stranger to ignoring the rules. In April last year, Dunne again ignored Tom Duncan by taking a staff member on a trip to Europe with fellow Liberal Giulia Jones. Duncan had said such a move was unjustified. Dunne did it anyway.

And while Dunne has been cleared to travel to Taiwan later this month with fellow Liberal Andrew Wall and Labor’s Chris Bourke, the lack of remorse or apology is strikingly similar to her Liberal colleague Bronwyn up on the Hill.  It should end in the same response with her job, too.

Bipartisanship continues on domestic violence

One of the (very few) bipartisan topics in ACT politics is on domestic and family violence. All parties have been working extremely hard to raise awareness, increase prevention education and expand support services. The ACT’s response to this has been commendable.

On top of this, Opposition leader Jeremy Hanson has suggested a specially appointed, full-time magistrate in a dedicated family violence court. The magistrate would only deal with domestic violence cases. Hanson suggests this tactic would help cut legal backlogs and increase expertise in the area.

And it does have merit. The initial response to Hanson’s proposal has been welcoming. Attorney-General Simon Corbell said he will consider having a dedicated magistrate but not a family violence court. Corbell will also consider including civil protection orders into the job description of the dedicated magistrate.

It’s genuinely good to see a consensus on such an important issue.

Labor MLAs go for the infographics

When you have a message to sell, using as few words as possible certainly helps in politics. A certain prime minister knows that lesson well.

So when the ACT Government announced its second wind power auction on Monday, its ministers rolled out a series of colourful, snappy infographics to sell the message.

ACT Government infographic

The next day, as the government passed its 2015-16 Budget, Labor MLAs posted more infographics, designed to convey the more dreary topics in engaging fashion.

ACT Government infographic

And they worked. Social media was full of them. They got shared around well, which is the whole aim. It’s a good way of breaking complex policy messages into digestible grabs. But like most fads, an over-reliance on them will soon see them looking pretty lame.

For more ACT politics news, visit thepoliticalact.wordpress.com.

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15 Responses to
Local politics: Here’s what you missed this fortnight
dungfungus 2:17 pm 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

Neither am I but that is the way of the media lately – they are really over the top in the way they attack Abbott and the Liberals.

Unless of course they are News Limited publications. They’re over the top in the other direction. Personally, I think the media is a critical part of our democractic system. We don’t want a cheer squad media, we want one that will keep our elected and unelected officials honest.

News Limited doesn’t have any publications in Canberra. We are discussing a local issue, right?

I think we traversed to another issue.

Look over there – is that a unicorn?

Richard Fox 2:15 pm 19 Aug 15

Wow, how to stray off topic.

Fair point about the cage indecent, the official silence on this one is pretty concerning.

As for the petty News Limited etc comments, let’s discuss why 1,000 under 24 year olds in this small city are contacting homelessness services each year or something else worthwhile.

Nilrem 1:31 pm 19 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

Neither am I but that is the way of the media lately – they are really over the top in the way they attack Abbott and the Liberals.

Unless of course they are News Limited publications. They’re over the top in the other direction. Personally, I think the media is a critical part of our democractic system. We don’t want a cheer squad media, we want one that will keep our elected and unelected officials honest.

News Limited doesn’t have any publications in Canberra. We are discussing a local issue, right?

I think we traversed to another issue.

dungfungus 1:21 pm 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

Neither am I but that is the way of the media lately – they are really over the top in the way they attack Abbott and the Liberals.

Unless of course they are News Limited publications. They’re over the top in the other direction. Personally, I think the media is a critical part of our democractic system. We don’t want a cheer squad media, we want one that will keep our elected and unelected officials honest.

News Limited doesn’t have any publications in Canberra. We are discussing a local issue, right?

Nilrem 11:41 am 19 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

Neither am I but that is the way of the media lately – they are really over the top in the way they attack Abbott and the Liberals.

Unless of course they are News Limited publications. They’re over the top in the other direction. Personally, I think the media is a critical part of our democractic system. We don’t want a cheer squad media, we want one that will keep our elected and unelected officials honest.

dungfungus 10:57 am 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

Neither am I but that is the way of the media lately – they are really over the top in the way they attack Abbott and the Liberals.

Nilrem 10:42 am 19 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Not sure why it would be unfair to them.

dungfungus 9:58 am 19 Aug 15

Nilrem said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

It may not be fair to some people if it was made public by me on this forum.
Shame there isn’t a Liberal government in power in the ACT at present because the Canberra Times would be announcing everything and baying for blood (Abbott’s fault again).

Nilrem 9:09 am 19 Aug 15

bigred said :

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

Yes, very easy to find out about the cage and the absolute beat up that followed. Also not hard to find out about the current crisis in leadership in that directorate. Very disturbing.

So if it’s not subject to a court order, which it isn’t, and it is in the public interest to let people know, why is everyone so reticent about it?

bigred 10:14 pm 18 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

Yes, very easy to find out about the cage and the absolute beat up that followed. Also not hard to find out about the current crisis in leadership in that directorate. Very disturbing.

Nilrem 5:45 pm 17 Aug 15

Oh well, I guess I don’t get to be like everyone.

Nilrem 10:21 am 17 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

So where was it? I don’t know which school it was. As a parent of school-age children I don’t think it was reasonable to withhold it.

dungfungus 8:11 am 17 Aug 15

mr_pink said :

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Perhaps that cage should have been better used for an aspiring, foul-mouthed Canberra tennis player?
Canberra being Canberra, everyone already knows which school it was at and it was no big deal.

mr_pink 11:33 pm 16 Aug 15

Well, we didn’t miss that we still have a school principal who put a kid in a cage is still collecting a wage from ACT taxpayers and is still registered to teach!!! Where’s that report you promised us months ago Ms Burch???

Steven Bailey 9:07 am 13 Aug 15

Great write-up Richard. Speakers must embody the highest principles of democratic representation and if they don’t, they should remove themselves. Australia’s parliaments are full of snobbish and prejudiced Speakers who put their own sense of self-importance before democratic ideals. Dunne should resign. I am surprised by the lack of scrutiny aimed at Dunne. Here’s an interview I did on the matter:

http://2cc.net.au/11-podcasts/3812-steven-bailey-takes-aim-at-mla-expenses.html

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