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 October, 2010

Opposition seeks changes to eligibility for Youth Allowance for inner regional students

The House of Representatives has passed by 74 votes to 70 a motion by Opposition whip Nola Marino ‘requiring’ the Government to introduce legislation that would make it easier for students in inner regional areas to qualify for independent Youth Allowance. Meanwhile, in the Senate, National Party Senator, Fiona Nash, has introduced a private members bill that seeks to introduce a measure along the same lines as that proposed in Ms Marino’s motion.This issue has its origins in substantial changes to student assistance that the Rudd-Gillard Government introduced through the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support for Students) Bill 2009. As explained in the Parliamentar... Read more...

10th anniversary of the landmark UN convention on Women, Peace and Security

October 2010 marks two important anniversaries for the United Nations (UN)—the 65th anniversary of the UN’s establishment (24 October), and the 10th anniversary of a landmark UN Security Council Resolution (SCR 1325) on Women, Peace and Security (31 October). Australia’s priorities and actions towards implementing and promoting SCR 1325 are outlined below. On 12 October 2010, the Australian Government committed in a statement (that was also co-hosted with Canada and New Zealand) to the UN's Third (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) Committee to develop a national action plan on women, peace and security. This is, in part, consistent with the recommendations made in August 2008... Read more...

Parliamentary Library Vital Issues Seminar—Australia’s role and commitment in Afghanistan

This seminar, held on 20 October 2010, featured distinguished speakers Major General Jim Molan AO DSC and Mr Geoffrey Barker who provided contrasting perspectives on Australia’s continued involvement in Afghanistan. The seminar was chaired by Senator Russell Trood.Major General Jim Molan (Retd) MAJGEN Molan presented a speech entitled ‘Flying in the face of history, graveyard of empires’. MAJGEN Molan commented that Afghanistan is arguably the most invaded and occupied nation on the planet and that contrary to popular belief not all of these invasions have failed! He noted, however, that the difference between previous conflicts and now is that the objective of the current war is not to occu... Read more...

Child protection income management in the Northern Territory

The Gillard Government recently announced that child protection income management was being rolled out in the Northern Territory (NT). Under this program, child protection workers in the NT will be able to refer parents to Centrelink for compulsory income management when children are being neglected or are at risk of neglect. Provision for child protection income management to be introduced into the NT was created through changes  to the NT Emergency Response earlier this year.Income management refers to arrangements whereby a percentage of the income support and family payments of certain people is set aside to be spent only on ‘priority goods and services’ such as food, housing, clothing, ... Read more...

The future of multiculturalism

Recent events in Europe have called into question the future of multiculturalism as a policy approach in increasingly diverse societies. In Australia, public debate in relation to migrants has, more recently, been focused on issues relating to population growth and asylum seekers but there have been calls for a greater articulation of the Government’s approach to multiculturalism and the issues faced by marginalised groups in the community. A new Parliamentary Library Research Paper examines the history of multiculturalism in Australia and offers context to debates in Australia and overseas.The situation in Europe Multiculturalism has recently been described as an utter failure by the Germa... Read more...

Seeking asylum from Afghanistan

What is the situation globally? Afghanistan has been the leading country of origin of refugees for the past three decades with up to 6.4 million of its citizens having sought international protection during peak years. At the end of 2009, there were more than 2.9 million Afghan refugees and one out of four refugees in the world was from Afghanistan. In total there were over 3.6 million people of concern to the UNHCR for Afghanistan at the end of 2009. (See the UNHCR's 2009 Global Trends and Global Report 2009–Afghanistan for more details on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.)What is the situation in our region? Due to the various conflicts in the Middle East and South West Asia our ... Read more...

Building the Education Revolution – Private Member’s Bill

The Opposition has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish a judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Building the Education Revolution (BER). The Bill is the result of ongoing complaints and concerns about the BER’s administration and implementation. It also comes amidst a number of other BER inquiries and reports into various aspects of the BER’s operation, the chief focus of which has been the Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) element of the BER. If the Bill is passed, the Commission of Inquiry would become the fifth BER inquiry or report at the national level.In effect, if the Bill is passed, it would enact a recommendation of the interim report of the Senate committee in... Read more...

Developments in refugee law and policy 2007-10 Labor's first term in office

One of the first things the newly elected Labor Government did upon taking office in 2007 was to stop processing asylum claims in the small Pacific Island State of Nauru—which the then Minister described as a 'shameful and wasteful chapter in Australia's immigration history'. However, in retaining the former Coalition Government's excision policy (which removes the right of asylum seekers to apply for a visa) and use of its purpose built immigration reception and processing centre on Christmas Island, the Government attracted criticism from refugee advocacy groups and academics alike—Adjunct Professor Michael White being of the view that Labor's new approach 'did not fundamentally alter Aust... Read more...

Anti-Poverty Week

This week (from 17 to 23 October 2010) is anti-poverty week. The following information provides Members and Senators with a brief overview of the situation with regard to poverty in Australia.What is poverty?The concept of poverty is difficult to define and, thus, to measure. While there are a number of different and frequently competing conceptions of poverty, these concepts appear to share one element in common. People who live in poverty live in a state of deprivation, a condition in which their standard of living falls below some minimum acceptable standard.Poverty can be broadly defined in absolute or relative terms. Absolute poverty refers to people who lack even the most basic of life... Read more...

Australia's involvement in Afghanistan - frequently asked questions

On 12 October 2010, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced that the Parliament of Australia would debate Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister’s media release said ‘she believed it was important that all Australians understood the critical mission in Afghanistan’ and that the debate ‘will provide an opportunity to fully explain the Government's ongoing support for the current International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan’. The following information has been compiled to assist Members and Senators as they prepare for the debate. 1. What is the history of Australia’s involvement in Afghanist... Read more...