Articles – Kim Fischer

Belconnen and Gungahlin may soon get their own federal parliamentarian

In my Canberra Times article, I discuss the likelihood of the ACT getting a third seat in the Federal Parliament at the next election:

With strong growth taking Canberra’s population past 400,000, the ACT may be allocated a third federal seat this year. Like in 1996, there is a chance that this third seat will only exist for a single parliamentary term. Any new representative will have a strong incentive to ensure Canberra continues to thrive and grow, so as to lock in this extra seat.

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Open up empty government offices to the homeless

In my latest Canberra Times article, I argue that there is a compelling argument for reusing empty government offices in the ACT as temporary housing for the homeless instead of being left idle:

As the repurposing of the Addison Hotel in Sydney shows, we can make better use of vacant buildings to address homelessness. It would certainly be a far more effective use of taxpayers’ money than letting leased buildings remain idle. All that is needed is political determination, some smart planning and willingness to act.

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National Capital Authority needs to rethink its purpose

We need to have a broader discussion about how the NCA can work better for us. In my latest Canberra Times article I outline the challenges for the NCA in finding a new role:

The National Capital Authority is at a crossroads. For it to maintain a legitimate oversight and governance role in Canberra, it needs to step up and become a strong voice for local residents and the ACT government within the federal government.

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Benefits of expanding the Assembly

The 2016 Legislative Assembly will be a really positive turning point for the Territory, with its expansion to 25 members and 5 electorates. I am genuinely excited to see the results:

I have to admit I find it baffling and frustrating that nearly 30 years on, people are still hoping for a return to the days of the NCDC when we had no democratic representation on decision-making. The rivers of gold from the Federal Government were going away anyway. At least under self-government we have the ability to vote for people who can represent our hopes and desires for Canberra.

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Fairer Federal representation for the ACT

I discuss a topic I have been passionate about for more than 10 years – fairer representation for the ACT in the Federal Parliament:

The ACT does not have any [guarantees to representation] in the Constitution (like all other Territories including the Northern Territory, Christmas Island, and Norfolk Island). For years, Territories have been under-represented despite the implicit constitutional goal of providing all States and Territories with fair rights to representation.

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More to do on affordable housing

In my latest RiotACT article, I discuss some of the things being done by the ACT government to improve the status of affordable housing, and what more can be done:

The ACT government is ahead of the game in implementing the majority of the changes recommended by the 2015 Federal Government Senate Committee on housing affordability: reducing stamp duty, implementing shared equity schemes and land rent schemes, and supporting increases in community housing programs.

We can always do more. With high office vacancy rates in Canberra at the moment, the ACT Property Council has pointed out that other capital cities convert lower-grade office space into “apartments, hotels, and senior’s housing developments” …

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Understanding bad online behaviour

In my latest RiotACT article, I discuss why some people feel they can say things on the Internet that they wouldn’t say in person:

After the fact, many people claim that the posts were “just a joke” or “taken out of context” or even that “someone hacked my computer”. While not excusing their behaviour, they may have been subject to what the US psychologist Dr John Suler calls the online disinhibition effect.

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Why Sunday penalty rates should stay

Penalty rates have been a feature of Australian life for over 100 years. In my latest RiotACT article, I look at the case for keeping Sunday penalty rates:

Even though Sunday working participation rates have more than doubled, still only 20% of currently employed working age people work on a Sunday compared with 80% on weekdays … working on Sundays reduces family leisure time by over two hours, inclusive of reduced parents’ time with their children and reduces leisure time in the company of friends by an hour and a half.

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The ancient art of shopping

In this week’s RiotACT article I talk about the different experiences of shopping in a mall versus a local shop:

Local shops [are] important too, encouraging greater physical activity for nearby residents and providing a sense of community and “place” that is simply missing from our globalised and homogenous shopping centres. People may be able to find a recognisable McDonalds store anywhere in the world, but the experience of visiting Little Oink in Cook or the local hairdressers in Florey is both unique and personal.

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