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 March, 2015

ZouZou/shutterstock.com

A very big year: asylum claims in industrialised countries reach a new high in 2014

Data released by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) show that 2014 was a big year for asylum seeking, with asylum claims reaching the highest level in over two decades. The UNHCR report Asylum trends 2014: levels and trends in industrialised countries, released on 26 March 2015, provides data on asylum claims lodged in 44 industrialized countries (38 European countries plus the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia). It reveals some significant trends in asylum claims around the world, including that 2014 saw a striking 45 per cent increase from the previous year in the number of asylum claims lodged. This is the fourth consecutive an... Read more...

Funding the Financial Claims Scheme

The Australian Financial Review recently discussed whether the Government will apply a levy on bank deposits to fund the Financial Claims Scheme. This flagpost provides background and key links on the Financial Claims Scheme, and discussion over how it should be funded.  Read more...

The review of universal access to early childhood education

The report of, and government responses to, the Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access (UA) to Early Childhood Education (the NP) have been published by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Education Council. The overall results show that the 2013 performance target for the percentage of children enrolled in a quality preschool program in the year before full-time schooling was met. However, there was noticeable disparity between the achievement of jurisdictions, and many of the NP’s other commitments, including those for Indigenous and vulnerable and disadvantaged children, were not met. Read more...

Norfolk Island: new governance arrangements

The Government introduced the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 on 26 March 2015. This Bill implements changes announced by the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Jamie Briggs, on major changes to the governance arrangements for Norfolk Island. Norfolk Island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but is a self-governing external territory with most of the powers of a national government, granted under the Norfolk Island Act 1979. Norfolk Island is currently outside of Australia's immigration, social security and taxation systems. The Government has long reiterated their intention to integrate the Norfolk Island community into the broader taxation... Read more...

Israeli election 2015: six stand-outs

Following a typically lively 14-week campaign, Israelis went to the polls on 17 March. Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will almost certainly remain in that post, most probably forming a right-wing/religious coalition.  Read more...

Procurement strategy for Indigenous business: The Canadian experience, and lessons for Australia

It has been estimated that, in 2012–13, Indigenous businesses secured only 0.001% of the overall Australian Government spend (around $6.2 million of the $39 billion spent). This is despite a specific provision in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) to encourage procurement from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with at least 50 per cent Indigenous ownership. The ANAO will report on the administration of current procurement initiatives in support of Indigenous Australians in a performance audit to be tabled around June 2015. Following up on a recommendation made in Creating Parity (the Forrest Review), on 17 March the Government announced that by 2020 the Commonwealth will have... Read more...

Mandatory minimum sentences proposed for firearms trafficking

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2015 (2015 Bill), listed for debate in the House of Representatives this week, includes amendments to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for firearms trafficking that failed to pass the Senate in an earlier Bill. The Government has linked these new amendments to the review of the Martin Place siege. Read more...

Closing the gap in Indigenous health

19 March is National Close the Gap Day, an annual event coordinated by Oxfam Australia to highlight the significant gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For the origin of the day, the non-government campaign behind it and the Council of Australian Government (COAG)’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) and its ‘Closing the gap’ strategy see an earlier FlagPost. Extent of the gap According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians ‘start(s) at birth and continue(s) throughout life’ and is best illustrated by differences in life expectancy.... Read more...

High Court rules on ACMA powers

The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to determine whether a licensee has committed a criminal offence when deciding whether to bring enforcement action, according to a High Court ruling. Read more...

Who owns the seat - the party or the individual?

On Thursday 11 March 2015 Senator Glenn Lazarus became the third senator since September 2014 to leave his/her party and sit as an independent in the Senate. Senator Lazarus announced his decision to leave the Palmer United Party (PUP) on Facebook citing ‘a different view of team work’ as the reason for his move. He confirmed this decision in a statement to the Senate on 16 March 2015. Read more...

Top