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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 September, 2014

Use of social media by MPs in the Chamber

On 12 March 2013, the then Manager of Opposition Business (Christopher Pyne MP) asked Speaker Anna Burke to make a ruling on a tweet by Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons during question time, asking for the Member to withdraw. Mr Gibbons had tweeted: @SteveGibbonsMP ‘Looks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjectors in the public gallery. A new low even for the Libs!’. Mr Gibbons had tweeted this after two people had been ejected from the public gallery in succession, for interjecting during Question Time. The following day Speaker Anna Burke responded, stating that it was outside her role and responsibilities to monitor private communications or the us... Read more...

Scotland votes to remain with the United Kingdom

The question on the ballot paper was a simple one: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ ...  The answer from Scottish voters was ‘No’: 55 per cent against independence, 45 per cent in favour. Read more...

More funding for early childhood education: an update

The Government has announced that it will provide $406 million for the continuation of support for universal access to early childhood (preschool) education in the year before full-time schooling in 2015. This is the same level of funding that was provided for 2014 in the 2013–14 Budget. There is also a new condition placed on the funding; namely, that state and territory governments use the universal access funding to also fund preschool services provided in long day care centres (LDCs). The announcement follows repeated assertions by the Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, that the future of Australian Government funding for early childhood education would be determined on... Read more...

Malaysia: beyond the sound bites

Bilateral discussions during the Prime Minister’s recent flying visit to Malaysia apparently centred on the two Malaysian Airlines flights—MH370 and MH17—and the ‘deeper relationship’ the two tragedies have forged between Australia and Malaysia. Mr Abbott thanked his host, Prime Minister Najib Razak, by saying ‘I could not have asked for a wiser or a stronger friend and counsellor in these tough and difficult times’. The flexibility which diplomatic cant allows—indeed requires—makes Mr Abbott’s comments understandable in the current global circumstances. However, this sound-bite endorsement of Malaysia’s leadership obscures m... Read more...

Say that again: Iraq and the terrorist threat

On 1 September 2014, the Prime Minister delivered in parliament a Statement on Iraq in which he condemned the ongoing violence and outlined the next phase of the Government’s humanitarian intervention. However, in declaring that would-be terrorists ‘don’t hate us for what we do; but for who we are and for how we live’, Mr Abbott has revived a key element of the Howard Government refrain from over 10 years ago that Australia’s involvement in the US-led ‘War on Terror’ and the conflict in Iraq did not make Australia more of a terrorist target. Read more...

Unknown costs a challenge for the class of 2014

As universities around the country hold Open Days, and closing dates for applications for 2015 entry loom, spare a thought for this year’s crop of Year 12 students. Not only do they have the usual challenges of deciding what course they want to do, and considering what Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) they might get, they also have no idea how much a university course might cost them.  Read more...

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