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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 April, 2017

Brexit: Article 50 and beyond

On 29 March 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty: the provision that deals with the process of a member state’s withdrawal from the European Union. The dispatch of the letter marks the formal beginning of the UK’s departure from the EU and, perhaps most significantly, the formal timeframes that apply to the negotiations. This short post explores the background to this and looks at how the Article 50 process may continue. The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in 2009, was the first EU treaty to include provision for a country leaving the Union. The key clauses of the now-f... Read more...

New Bill allows specialists to certify medical exemptions to vaccines

Starting with the 2015–16 Budget, the Australian Government has made significant changes to immunisation policy in recent years. These include removing conscientious objection as a valid exemption to immunisation requirements for certain family payments (the ‘No Jab, No Pay’ policy), and recording immunisation information nationally for people of all ages, rather than just young children. On 23 March 2017, the Government introduced the Australian Immunisation Register and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill) in the House of Representatives. This Bill expands the list of medical professionals who can certify a medical exemption to immunisation, and clarifies that... Read more...

Work for the Dole program to stay

There have been reports that the Government was considering winding up the Work for the Dole program as part of this year’s Budget. However, in a subsequent media release Minister for Employment Senator Michaelia Cash stated that the Government will not be abolishing Work for the Dole. This FlagPost provides a brief overview of the program. Work for the Dole—background In a June 1986 speech, Prime Minister Bob Hawke raised the idea of a work for the dole scheme: First, while society has a responsibility to the unemployed, this is a two-way process. The time has come, we believe, when this two-way responsibility will best be served by providing as far as possib... Read more...

Bob Day found to be incapable of being chosen as a senator

On 5 April 2017 the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, handed down its decision in Re Day [No 2] [2017], HCA 14 regarding former South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day (Mr Day resigned from the Senate on 1 November 2016). The Court found that Mr Day was incapable of being chosen or sitting as a senator by reason of section 44(v) of the Australian Constitution, and ordered that the vacancy be filled by a recount.   Read more...

The ADF Gap Year: progress so far

On 22 March 2017, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan, announced that the 2018 ADF Gap Year program was open for applications, with positions available across the three services of Navy, Army and Air Force. The ADF Gap Year program was revived by the Abbott Government in April 2014, with the first intake commencing at the start of 2015. This article provides an update to the May 2014 Parliamentary Library publication, The Evolution of the Australian Defence Force Gap Year Program, by assessing the outcomes of the program after its first two years of operation.     Read more...

Creeping Normalcy: boots are already on the ground in Syria and Iraq

Almost three years after the first US operations against the Islamic State commenced in Iraq, the US footprint in Iraq and Syria continues to grow, though the contributions of its allies largely remain static. There are now in excess of 5,000 US troops in Iraq, and close to 1,000 in Syria. Reportedly, the Trump Administration is also set to abolish the troop caps officially set by the Obama Administration (5,000 in Iraq and 500 in Syria), enabling even larger deployments.  Read more...

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