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So you wanna be a lobbyist …

Reading headlines about ICAC and Eddie Obeid might have you thinking successful lobbying is mostly graft with some slippery footwork thrown in. But Alistair Nicholas, senior adviser in the government relations and public affairs practice of Weber Shandwick Australia, says there’s quite a bit more to it.

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Labor could have headed chaplains off at the pass

The High Court’s declared the federal government’s funding of chaplaincy programs in state schools unconstitutional. It’s another sign the constitution needs serious reform.

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Crikey readers slash the government

Crikey readers add their own suggestions of what the federal government’s Commission of Audit should cut.

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Hockey’s Pendulum: Coalition tea party comes back to bite

Joe Hockey is struggling to swing from the opposition to government, write Crikey’s Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer. The rhetoric from the Treasurer isn’t consistent.

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Off with their heads! Which civil servants will lose their posts?

Tony Abbott is unlikely to take an axe to the public service, as John Howard did when he became PM. There are just two senior civil servants who should be nervous, writes governance expert Stephen Bartos.

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What now? The challenges Rudd has to form government

Can Kevin Rudd form a government? What role will the Governor-General play? And who’ll staff the notoriously frantic new Prime Minister’s office? Crikey outlines the scenarios.

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Rudd’s scrappy pre-election cabinet: who’ll serve with him?

Kevin Rudd will need to appoint a caretaker cabinet if he becomes prime minister again. Crikey gazed into the crystal ball to pick who’s left to serve with him.

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Order in the House: the who, what and why of question time

Order, order! Bond University students dust off Hansard and discover who is asking what during parliament’s question time. The number one topic might not surprise you — but why is no one asking about indigenous affairs?

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The Power Index: who’ll really decide the federal election?

The wonks, the flacks, the hacks and the headkickers — here are the people who are doing their damnedest to get Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott into the Lodge. The Power Index names the string-pullers.

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Hope for Gillard in British Columbia? Incumbent wins in upset

The opinion polls proved wrong in British Columbia, where the incumbent Liberals won in a major upset. But their first-past-the-post voting system doesn’t give much hope to Julia Gillard.

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Budget delivered on the wings of the dollar

A new-found conservatism in Treasury estimates means the economy could grow faster than expected, especially if the Australian dollar continues to fall. Former Labor economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas comments.

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Baby bonus dumping a ‘sensible, calm and responsible’ cut

The baby bonus has been thrown out with the bath water, as part of Treasurer Wayne Swan’s “sensible, calm and responsible” cuts.

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Community broadcasting: no cash for digital radio stations

The digital community radio sector needed $1.4 million in funding from the federal budget, but all it got was radio silence.

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What the Treasurer said: Wayne Swan’s budget speech

A transcript of the speech Wayne Swan delivered to Parliament in handing down the 2013-14 federal budget.

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Public servants to be cramped and sacked in grim budget

The government is turning the screws on bureaucrats, reducing office space as part of savings measures in the 2013-14 federal budget.

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Space debris, a pot plant tax and bullet experts: budget quirks

At least the Treasurer is protecting Australia from UFOs. Crikey dug deep into the budget papers to find the detail you won’t read in the papers.

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The steep price Australia is paying for tax cuts

A key graph from the budget papers explains the challenge Wayne Swan has faced as Treasurer — one he has failed to address despite having the power to, writes Australia Institute executive director Richard Denniss.

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Swan leaves us guessing with confused budget

Is the Treasurer serious when he says he wants to spend more, tax less and get the budget back into surplus as quickly as possible? Australia Institute executive director Richard Denniss investigates.

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Savings and spending: the key budget initiatives

As in previous budgets, a huge chunk of Wayne Swan’s savings are actually tax rises or the closure of tax loopholes. He’s also targeted some relatively painless areas — big companies, public servants — for squeezing.

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Swan’s Way: incoherent political strategy for a strong economy

Treasurer Wayne Swan’s 2013-14 budget reflects his time as Treasurer: great economic outcomes, but delivered in a confused and incoherent way, writes Bernard Keane.

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Swan song: budget heads in right direction but lacks courage

Wayne Swan’s sixth and likely final budget charts a path to surplus, but fails to take enough tough decisions to rein in spending, writes Bernard Keane.

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Budget 2013: what we know before the papers are delivered

We know plenty about what’s in Wayne Swan’s sixth — and probably last — federal budget, thanks to media leaks and strategic drops. Crikey provides a pre-budget cheat sheet …

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Partly cloudy with a chance of … banks? Ads start on govt website

Here’s a first: there’s paid advertising appearing on a federal government website (the Bureau of Meteorology). Does this pose a problem — and who might be next?

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Crikey Clarifier: local government recognition in the constitution

Would recognising local government in the constitution protect essential services or undermine states’ rights? Public policy and governance expert Stephen Bartos answers Crikey’s questions.

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The Power Index: carbon cutters, Jane Sargison at #10

There are a lot of solutions on the cusp,” says up-and-coming engineer Dr Jane Sargison on the task of reducing carbon emissions. Now she’s stepped out of her Hobart laboratory to lobby for the cash and commitment in Australian boardrooms to make them happen. Sargison comes in at #10 on The Power Index list.

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