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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Filter by August, 2016

Working age population welfare dependence continues to fall

Relatively low unemployment rates and the effect of a series of changes to eligibility for some payments has seen the proportion of the working age population receiving income support continue to decline, since peaking at over 25% in 1994. Read more...

When data walks out the door

In the wake of the 2016 Census, there has been much discussion about maintaining data integrity and the ability of computer systems to withstand cyber attack or targeted disruption. However, one of the biggest threats to the security of an organisation’s data is typically far less technically sophisticated—but no less damaging. It is one which over half of all respondents in a recent government survey identified as the cyber threat of most concern, and one which generally speaking, the Attorney-General has described as ‘the most likely source of a breach’ capable of causing ‘enormous damage’. It is also one to which the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS... Read more...

The gender composition of the 45th parliament

Following the 2016 election the total number of women in Parliament has risen slightly from 69 (31 per cent) to 73 (32 per cent). The number of women in the House of Representatives has risen to 43 (29 per cent), up from 40 (27 per cent) at the end of the 44th Parliament. The number of women in the Senate has increased by one since the end of the 44th Parliament to 30 senators (39 per cent). As is the case in many parliaments around the world, women remain significantly under-represented in the Australian parliament. The Australian figures are similar to those of comparable countries such as Canada, where women make up 29 percent of the parliament, and New Zealand, where women make up 31 per... Read more...

The Dairy Industry - an update

The dairy industry continues to feature prominently in the media with the ABC’s Four Corners program a recent example. The focus has largely been on the conduct of the major milk processors, Murray Goulburn (MG—a dairy cooperative) and Fonterra (a New Zealand dairy cooperative), which retrospectively lowered the prices paid to dairy farmers, imposing additional debt on farmers, many of whom were already troubled by declining milk prices. The focus on the processors tells only part of the story, however, with the dairy market affected by low prices worldwide brought on by over-supply.  A recent Parliamentary Library flagpost provides some background to the topic. Dairy indust... Read more...

The 2016 Census of Population and Housing

The 2016 Census of Population and Housing is scheduled to be held August 9 (next Tuesday). This will be the first Australian Census in history where more people are expected to complete it online than on paper. The Census and Statistics Act 1905 (the Census Act) provides for the Census to be held every five years. Read more...

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