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High court decides on wa senate election to move to cap number of seats held

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The Federal Parliament has been given permission to form a new senate to avoid a power struggle with the crossbench that would threaten the country’s future as it tries to avoid a double dissolution, the top court has ruled.

The Federal Court has given the government until April 15 to form a new Senate, after a Federal Court judge said she could not rule on a petition from a political party challenging the creation of the Senate.

In February this year, the Australian Electoral Commission removed the Australian Senate from the Federal Parliament’s list of constituent institutions after its president, Stephen Conroy, became embroiled in a row with Liberal MP Tony Windsor.

Mr Windsor also refused to acknowledge the Senate’s role as a body for “independent thought and debate” and demanded it must not be “a mechanism in which the will of any single person can override the decisions of another”.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Windsor had argued that the Senate was a body that was under no obligation to support his views or his party.

But yesterday, Justice Patrick Gleeson found that the Senate, with the approval of the Senate voting members, could be formed “under the provisions of this Constitution that may be found to be inconsistent with or contrary to the Senate constitution”.

“That the question of creation of a new Senate for federal electorates, and hence for the purposes of the Constitution, is one of incompatibility has been admitted by the parties,” Justice Gleeson said.

“A distinction is therefore now made as between the Parliament and the Senate. That distinction has been rejected in the present case.”

The ruling means the Australian Senate can not, by January 31, be used as a “non-parliamentary body” in the sense of the constitution, the Court of Disputed Returns, the Federal Court of Australia, which is the body tasked with making determinations about whether a change has been made to an institution, will not be required to “reject a petition for the creation of a new Senate”.

The judgment said the “non-parliamentary nature” of the Senate did not mean it was under no obligation to support any particular party.

Topics: alp, federal-government, elections, government-and-politics, federal-parliament, canberra-2600

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Wage rises remain low, but there have been a number of small increases from the March 2013 numbers. There has been little change since April 2011 when employment rates were 2.5% and 3.8%.

In May 2012, employment rates fell by 0.5 percentage points to 32.7%, or 12.3% of all workers, the lowest rate since the recession.

Average weekly earnings

Workers can earn as much as £16.50, or £8.10 if they are working on a part-time basis.

An earlier article looked at average weekly earnings among those aged 20-24, and a graph showing the change in weekly earnings since 2010. This information was also published on the UK’s employment rate page (link).

Average weekly earnings are the share of total earnings for people aged 16-24 and employed on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.

The ONS provides statistics for all workers aged 16-24 from the start of the survey period up to 31 December and workers aged 25-34 for the month of February 2014.

To see more data about average weekly earnings in this category, visit the Labour Force Survey data tables page.

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