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 December, 2015

Reducing Red Tape in the public service 2: legislation

The recent Belcher Red Tape review made 134 recommendations. This second FlagPost on the Red Tape review provides summary information about recommendations likely to require legislative amendments. Read more...

Reducing Red Tape in the public service 1: committees and the Senate

'This needs a sledgehammer,' I declared. 'We must cut through the red tape.' ... Bernard piped up again. 'You can't cut tape with a sledgehammer, it would just...' and then he made a sort of squashing gesture. Rather than Jim Hacker’s sledgehammer in Yes, Minister,  the recommendations of a recent review of Red Tape in the Commonwealth public service evoke the accuracy and precision of a scalpel. The vast majority of the review’s 134 recommendations can be implemented administratively within the public service. However, full implementation of about 10 per cent of the recommendations will require action by the Parliament. This FlagPost provides summary information about recom... Read more...

Changes to bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging face resistance [revised version corrects previously incorrect information]

The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) announced a number of savings in the health budget. Some of the most significant of these are changes to the incentives paid to pathology and diagnostic imaging providers to bulk bill out of hospital services. According to the MYEFO (p. 174) this measure alone will deliver savings of $650.4 million to the budget over four years. Read more...

Closure of Federal Election Polling Places

In evidence to Senate Estimates in October 2015 the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) revealed that it was considering reducing the number of polling places at federal elections by about 800 (out of around 8,000 at the 2013 federal election).  Read more...

Tertiary education providers—more regulation for some and less regulation for others

In the last sitting week of Parliament for the year, the Government changed regulatory requirements for tertiary education providers with the passage of the Education Services for Overseas Students (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015, and the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015. It is timely to take stock of Australia’s fragmented approach to the regulation of the tertiary education sector. Read more...

Presidents of China and Taiwan meet

While it may not match the geopolitical significance of Nixon’s visit to China, the meeting between China’s President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou is noteworthy. Held in Singapore on 7 November, it was the first meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan since Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists abandoned the mainland and retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Today the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC) considers Taiwan to be a rogue province and has reserved the right to compel unification by force if the island issues a formal declaration of independence. Given the long history of enmity between the two sides, during which both h... Read more...

IMF moves to include the Renminbi as a Special Drawing Right currency

On 30 November 2015 the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Executive Board voted to include the Chinese renminbi (RMB) in the calculation of the value of the Special Drawing Right (SDR) currency basket effective from 1 October 2016. This is another significant marker, albeit largely a symbolic one, of the RMB’s growing importance in the international monetary and financial system. The RMB is already increasingly used to denominate and settle cross-border trade and financial transactions. Beyond this, China aspires for the RMB to become a major international reserve currency. The IMF’s decision is likely to give increased impetus to these developments. However, the ... Read more...

Senate agitates for immigration detention reform

When the apparently uncontroversial Migration and Maritime Powers Amendment Bill (No.1) 2015 was introduced into Parliament in September 2015, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton noted that the Bill would simply strengthen and clarify the legal framework so that the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) would be interpreted consistently with the original policy intention. Though the Minister probably would have been expecting the Opposition to support the omnibus Bill, he may not have envisaged they would also support the suite of amendments moved by the Australian Greens. Though the Government took the view that the amendments, which secured passage in the Senate last we... Read more...

$1.2 billion in higher education and welfare savings set to pass

On 26 November, the Government introduced the Labor 2013-14 Budget Savings (Measures No. 2) Bill 2015 which proposes amendments affecting student payments, university funding, university fees and the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP). Similar amendments were proposed in the Labor Government’s 2012–13 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and 2013–14 Budget but were not legislated. The Coalition Government has previously attempted to legislate the measures but the changes were opposed by the Australian Labor Party,  the Australian Greens and some crossbench senators. The Labor caucus has now reportedly agreed to support three out of the five measures.  Read more...

Women in the ADF

Historically, the role of women in the military has been a polemic issue, despite the significant contribution and sacrifice women have made in numerous conflicts. In Australia, the process over time of integrating women into what are considered ‘non-traditional’ military roles is explored in a 2015 Parliamentary Library Summer Research Scholarship paper Women in the ADF: six decades of policy change (1950 to 2011). This research paper highlights the changes to defence policy over the last 60 years that have allowed women to pursue military careers and discusses how policies towards women in the civilian workforce have influenced change for women in the armed forces. In the post-... Read more...

  • First
  • 1
  • Last
Top