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In this RawCut Podcast special Rhys sits down with MP Rebekha Sharkie, (NXT) to discuss why she ran for election and what her plans for the Electorate of Mayo are.

Rebekha Sharkie was elected at the 2016 election to represent the people of Mayo, to the surprise of the political establishment. Her election disrupted the Liberal Party reign over the seat since 1984, when the seat was established.

Stay tuned to rawcut.com.au and @RawCutAU on social media for video of the interview.

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Lorraine Finlay, Murdoch University

The ongoing legal controversies surrounding Western Australian senator Rod Culleton – described by a Federal Court judge as “something approaching a carnival, if not a circus” – took a new turn on Wednesday. Senate President Stephen Parry made the constitutional step of notifying the WA government of a Senate vacancy due to Culleton’s disqualification following a long saga over his eligibility to sit in the upper house.

Culleton’s disqualification comes after Parry received formal notification of Culleton’s status as an undischarged bankrupt.

Even before the 2016 election results were formally declared, questions were being asked over whether Culleton was actually eligible to be a senator. Since that time, two key constitutional issues have emerged.

The Court of Disputed Returns

The first issue relates to a larceny charge in New South Wales concerning a A$7.50 tow truck key. Culleton was convicted in March 2016. However, the conviction was annulled in August, meaning it “ceases to have effect”.

While Culleton later pleaded guilty at a rehearing in October, no conviction was ultimately recorded.

In November, the Senate referred this conviction’s constitutional impact to the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns. The issue is whether Culleton’s election was valid under Section 44(ii) of the Constitution, which provides a person is incapable of being a senator if they have:

… been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a state by imprisonment for one year or longer.

The larceny conviction falls squarely within this section’s scope. The critical question is whether Culleton had actually been convicted at the time of his election (and was therefore ineligible), given this was subsequently annulled.

The central issue concerns the word “annulment”. If the Court of Disputed Returns holds that the conviction never existed then this issue falls away. If, however, the effect of an annulment is not retrospective then Culleton was never eligible to be elected.

At the conclusion of hearings on December 7 the court reserved its decision. It is not scheduled to sit again until January 30.

There is no guarantee that a decision will be handed down at the next sittings, or before the Senate next meets on February 7. However, the court has previously recognised the public interest in this matter being resolved expeditiously.

Culleton’s bankruptcy proceedings

The second issue concerns bankruptcy proceedings filed against Culleton.

On December 23, 2016, a Federal Court judge ordered that Culleton’s estate be sequestrated (or seized to pay his debts). All proceedings under the order were stayed for 21 days; this stay was due to be lifted on January 13.

Culleton continues to assert he is not bankrupt, and is able to pay his debts. However, the Federal Court judge dismissed this. He noted that, despite assertions made before the court, there was “no material evidence” produced to support these claims. An appeal against the sequestration order was filed on January 11, but no date has yet been set for the appeal hearing.

The effect of a sequestration order is that the debtor becomes a bankrupt. In Culleton’s case, this then enlivens sections 44 and 45 of the Constitution. These provide that an undischarged bankrupt is incapable of sitting as a senator, and their Senate position becomes vacant.

Parry’s statement indicated he has received from the inspector-general in bankruptcy and the Federal Court registry documents recording Culleton’s status as an undischarged bankrupt. The necessary constitutional implication is that Culleton’s Senate position is vacant.

What happens next?

This saga still has some way to go before its conclusion. But it is almost certain that Culleton will not be able to continue as a senator.

Even if he successfully appeals the sequestration order and the Court of Disputed Returns rules in his favour, Culleton still faces further constitutional hurdles. Another creditor’s petition is yet to be heard by the Federal Court, and a stealing charge is listed for trial in Perth in September 2017. These could each result in Culleton being constitutionally precluded from sitting as a senator.

From a constitutional perspective, however, it is critical that the correct grounds for disqualification are established. This will affect how a replacement senator is chosen.

If the Court of Disputed Returns rules that Culleton was never eligible to be elected, then – based on precedent – the most-likely outcome is that the second-listed One Nation candidate from the 2016 election will be declared elected. This happens to be Culleton’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou.

If, however, Culleton was initially eligible but is subsequently disqualified as an undischarged bankrupt, then a casual vacancy would arise to be dealt with under Section 15 of the Constitution. In this case, One Nation would recommend a party member to fill the vacancy, and the WA parliament would formally appoint this replacement.

If the WA parliament is not in session – which is a distinct possibility given a state election will be held on March 11 – then the WA governor will make the appointment, which must then be confirmed at the next state parliamentary sittings. One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has already tweeted that she has selected a “great person” as a replacement if a casual vacancy is declared.

Given these possibilities, it would be prudent to wait until both the existing bankruptcy appeal and the Court of Disputed Returns’ decision are finalised before taking any steps to fill the vacancy. This is far from ideal given both the close numbers in the Senate and that WA will be under-represented in the “states’ house” for as long as the position remains unfilled.

However, the removal of a senator who was duly elected by the people only six months ago is not something to be done lightly. And it is certainly not something to be done on anything other than conclusively determined constitutional grounds.

The Conversation

Lorraine Finlay, Lecturer in Law, Murdoch University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Disclosure statement: Lorraine Finlay is affiliated with the Liberal Party of Australia, being a member of the WA Division and a candidate for the South Metropolitan Region at the upcoming WA State Election.

Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:JJ_Harrison

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In this episode of The RawCut Podcast Rhys and new guest Flik Schemmer from http://flikdesign.net, talk about Trump’s election. Also we learn why it’s never been a more exciting time for a rich Australian, and how new technologies can change CO2, into Ethanol. Plus we explore why some finance statistics that the government pushes, may not be the best measure of economic growth for the average Australian.

All that and more in this episode of The RawCut Podcast.

Theme Music By: http://teknoaxe.com/


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Here at RawCut we decided to roam the polling booths of the Adelaide Hills to see what the locals thought about the candidates they voted for, and why. Below is a collection of videos from our Facebook page, which you can like at https://www.facebook.com/RawCutAU/ .

What Dose Briggs Deliver?

Interview With Greens Candidate Nathan Daniell

What is Echunga Voting For?

What is Mylor Voting For?

Why was Get Up at polling booths?


Our videos are also available on Twitter, so follow us: https://twitter.com/RawCutAU/

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Did you know that legalised bribery is a problem in Australia too? Well in this episode of The RawCut Podcast we discuss political donations, how the political parties are monitoring you with public funds, and find out what RawCut is doing to help inform you this election.

All that and more on this episode of The RawCut Podcast.

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Article From: Andrew Holmes, University of Melbourne; Cheryl Praeger, University of Western Australia, and Les Field, UNSW Australia

Nobody can yet predict exactly what the ramifications will be now the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but UK science commentators are already foreshadowing Brexit Mark 2 – a Brain Exit of researchers.

Brexit has created incredible uncertainty. The potential disruption that it may cause to the many international collaborative research programs involving the UK is something the international scientific community could certainly have done without.

Whatever form the Brexit negotiations take, and however long the timeline, the disruption is real. It will be more so if Brexit causes still wider political and economic instability.

Aftershocks in Australia

There will likely be some aftershocks felt here too for some considerable time given the extent that Australian researchers engage in collaborative programs with both the UK and the rest of Europe.

Firstly some facts. UK researchers are among the most internationally collaborative in the world. Around 60% of the roughly 120,000 research articles published each year by UK-based authors are co-authored with international collaborators. More than half of these are in the EU.

According to the 2013 report on International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, more than 70% of UK researchers working between 1996 and 2012 published papers while affiliated with non-UK institutions.

Unsurprisingly, the more internationally collaborative researchers are significantly more productive than those researchers who stayed at home and were more inwardly focused.

About 28% of academic staff in UK universities are non-UK citizens. Again, more than half of these are from the EU.

If, as has been suggested, the UK ramps up restrictions on mobility and work entitlements, it is possible that many of these researchers will choose or be forced to leave.

Until now, Britain has been a very significant net beneficiary of EU research funds. It received an estimated €8.8 billion funding between 2007-2013 on the strength of an estimated €5.4 billion contribution. This made it the second most successful nation behind Germany.

Looking forward, it is estimated that UK research could be £1 billion worse off each year as a consequence of the decision to leave the EU.

Beyond the horizon

The most significant impact could potentially be felt by research programs funded through the Horizon 2020 program.

This 30-year collaborative research and innovation framework is by far the largest research funding mechanism in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. In the current funding cycle that runs from 2014-2020, an estimated €80 billion funding would flow to researchers in EU member states and associated nations.

While some non-EU members have negotiated eligibility to apply for Horizon 2020 funding, eligibility is conditional upon the free movement of people. In the UK’s case, continued access to the Horizon 2020 program may need negotiation.

Australia may participate in Horizon 2020 projects as a non-associated industrialised third country. But projects are not automatically eligible for funding. Accordingly, much of Australia’s access to European research and research funding is leveraged through collaborations in the UK.

Potential benefits for Australia

We should also note that there are large numbers of research students from EU member nations studying in the UK, a significant proportion of the research workforce. There are concerns that these students might now be categorised as “international” students and face significant fee increases to study in the UK.

If this does take place and the UK does become a more expensive destination for European research students, it is likely that higher education institutions in Australia, the United States and Canada will all benefit as alternative English-language study options for European students.

There are strong natural links between Australia and the UK. It is possible that the UK decision to leave Europe may actually provide new opportunities for Australian researchers.

The UK will now be potentially more open to the rest of the world. Having the UK as part of the EU has often meant that there was preferential access to positions, resources, collaborations and so on for those who were part of the EU. The lifting of that restriction may well provide new opportunities for Australia.

The Australian Academy of Science is recommending the expansion of Australia’s bilateral and multilateral collaborations with a variety of partner countries in regions including Asia, East Asia, the Americas and the EU.

The Conversation

Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science, Laureate Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne; Cheryl Praeger, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Western Australia, and Les Field, Secretary for Science Policy at the Australian Academy of Science, and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UNSW Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.