FlagPost

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

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Filter by

Date

Syndication

Tag cloud

Filter by August, 2010

Making sense of migration statistics

Many statistics on both permanent and temporary migration are often used incorrectly and add to the confusion and misinformation regarding migration levels and population growth. This new Background Note, Migration to Australia since federation: a guide to the statistics, offers an easy entry-point to the relevant data on migration flows to Australia. The guide also offers background information on Australia's migration programs and on the reliability and use of different statistical sources. The Background Note shows that the rate at which Australia's population has grown has increased significantly over the last five years, largely driven by an increase in net overseas migration (NOM). NOM... Read more...

Early election

The House of Representatives that is emerging from the 2010 election, and the fact that the next government will be a minority government, raises the spectre of the electorate going to the polls well before the next federal election would otherwise be expected. If an election takes place prior to mid-2013 it will only be for the House of Representatives and the territory senators; the rest of the Senate will not be in play unless there is a double dissolution.It has been reported that both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have committed to not having an election before August 2013. The fact remains, however, that a Prime Minister can request an election at any time (electi... Read more...

Asia and the Australia-US alliance

What challenges lie in wait for Australia-US relations in the aftermath of the federal election? Although the alliance relationship has been historically close, the Asia-Pacific region is one issue over which Australia and the US appear to have divergent approaches.Dr Satu Limaye, director of the Washington-based East-West Center, recently spoke at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's (ASPI) Global Forces 2010 conference dinner on 18 August about the challenges and opportunities for bilateral relations presented by the rise of Asia. Dr Limaye observed many similarities in the respective foreign policy and strategic outlooks which characterise the long-standing alliance between Austral... Read more...

Addressing poorer health in rural areas

During the election campaign, the National Rural Health Alliance released its Election Charter 2010. The metropolitan media paid little attention to this document and its proposed 10 key priorities to address rural health problems. Top of the list was the priority to improve the sustainability of rural communities; other top priorities included equity in funding, improvements to primary care services, workforce development and improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples. With some of the rurally based Independent MPs reportedly citing health services in the bush as a priority, the issue of rural health services may gain national prominence.But just how poor is the h... Read more...

Coastal properties feel climate change price signal

The NSW Valuer-General has announced a significant cut in the valuation of beachfront properties at Belongil Beach on the Northern NSW coast. Although this will only affect the the calculation of rates and levy land tax, it sends a signal to those living in these areas and their insurers. This assessment by the Valuer-General comes after the release of the NSW coastal planning guidelines, which states that'Where possible, new urban developments and coastal subdivisions should be located outside coastal risk areas' and'Where zones are identified as being subject to coastal risks it may be appropriate to include an additional objective for that zone requiring the accommodation of the projected... Read more...

Hung Parliament

The last hung Federal Parliament occurred after the election on 21 September 1940 when Labor and the Coalition of the United Australia Party and the Country Party emerged with 36 seats each in the House of Representatives. The balance of power resided with two independents, Alex Wilson and Arthur Coles, who supported the Coalition and thus enabled the Menzies Government to remain in office (it was sworn in on 28 October). The independents' support lasted until late 1941 when they voted against the budget of the now Fadden-led Coalition Government, leading to the resignation of Fadden and the commissioning of the Curtin Labor Government on 7 October 1941.The UK election on 6 May 2010 resulted... Read more...

The major parties and ‘corrosive’ welfare

Where do the major parties stand on welfare policy? In what direction can we expect welfare policy to be taken throughout the course of the next parliament? One thing clear from the election policy announcements of the major parties is that there is likely to be a further strong emphasis on addressing what each describes as the ‘corrosive’ effects of welfare. This would continue the recent focus of both Labor and the Coalition on the idea that while welfare is necessary for the alleviation of disadvantage, it also has a role in maintaining or even causing disadvantage.Labor’s main welfare policy document commits a re-elected Gillard Government to modernising Australia’s welfare system throug... Read more...

Carbon Farming Initiative to fill a policy gap

The Government has announced that if re-elected it will introduce a new regime for landholders, the Carbon Farming Initiative. This will encourage farmers to either minimise carbon emissions or maximise carbon sequestration by altering their forestry and agricultural practices. The initiative would fill the policy gap that has existed since the termination of the Greenhouse Friendly scheme in July 2010. Greenhouse Friendly was initially established as an Australian carbon offset standard with credibility in the voluntary carbon market, but was terminated as part of the Government's planned CPRS introduction. This was to avoid any form of double-counting between the two schemes. Coinciding wi... Read more...

Parliamentary Budget Offices

According to research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) there has been a growing trend towards greater involvement of national legislatures in budgetary matters in order to increase transparency and accountability of budget processes. The OECD's 2007 project, the International Budget Practices and Procedures database, indicated that out of the 97 countries surveyed, 29 countries had a specialised budget research office and 61 did not. In particular, the survey found that more than half of all the countries included in the study had a larger budgetary role than they had a decade earlier.On 23 June 2010, the Coalition announced that it would introdu... Read more...

NATO at the crossroads: where do Australian interests lie?

Do Australia and NATO have common interests? Given the geographic divide, this might not be an obvious issue, but it was perhaps the central question emerging from a public lecture delivered on 2 August 2010 at the Australian National University by the Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo di Paola. The Chairman emphasised the growing political dimension of the alliance, which finds itself at a strategic crossroads.At the recent public lecture, Chairman di Paola noted positive steps towards further collaboration, on issues such as Somali piracy, between NATO and Australia’s most populous neighbour and key trading partner, China. Th... Read more...

Top