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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 August, 2013

Western Australia’s gas hopes float away

Last week, Woodside Petroleum confirmed that it was planning to develop its Browse gas field off northwest Western Australia using technology that allows processing at sea. This followed an April announcement that it would not pursue earlier plans to build a processing plant onshore at James Price Point in the Kimberley, which had ignited significant controversy. The Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, reportedly expressed disappointment over the news, citing the loss of jobs associated with an onshore project. But what else does Western Australia stand to lose with floating LNG?  What is FLNG? Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) processing is a new technology that is being devel... Read more...

Some insights into political (dis)-engagement

As Australian voters wrestle with their choice of parties and candidates in the 2013 Federal election campaign, the UK’s Hansard Society has released its annual audit of political engagement in Britain. Unlike Australia, voting in Britain is not compulsory.Turnout at recent UK general elections was: at the 1 May 1997 general election: 71.4%  at the 7 June 2001 general election: 59.54%at the 5 May 2005 general election: 61.4%at the 6 May 2010 general election: 65.1%The date of the next general election in the UK is set at 7 May 2015 after the Fixed Term Parliament Act was passed on 15 September 2011.The 2013 UK Hansard Society Audit shows that the British public are so disillusioned about, di... Read more...

Is an employee who resigns entitled to leave-loading on their unpaid annual leave?

Since the Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) was introduced, there have been differing views regarding how to calculate the amount payable to an employee who has untaken annual leave when they cease employment. Is it calculated using the employee’s base rate of pay, or must it (if the employee is entitled to it) include leave-loading?Stephen Edward Ryan v Whitehaven Coal Mining Pty Ltd (Ryan v Whitehaven)* may be the first case to have considered the issue. The court ruled that where an employee is entitled to leave-loading, the amount payable for any untaken annual leave must include leave‑loading.The NES and leave loadingUnder the National Employment Standards (NES), there is no entitlement to leav... Read more...

Safeguards and anti-dumping: Australia’s food processing industry seeks protection

In April 2013 SPC, the only tomato processor in Australia,   announced that it would cancel the contracts of around 60 fruit-growers in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley region; another 50 would have their orders reduced.The company has been struggling since 2005 when it was bought by Coca-Cola Amatil for $500 million. The company’s management has described SPC’s performance as disappointing' , resulting in the decision to consolidate its three manufacturing plants into two and to write off more than $200 million of the company’s assets. Increased competition on the supermarket shelves from imported private labelled goods has resulted in the gradual decrease of the company’s market share, to its c... Read more...

Two cheers for democracy in Southeast Asia?: recent elections in Malaysia, the Philippines and Cambodia

As Australia approaches its own poll, 2013 has seen three national elections across Southeast Asia. This Flagpost outlines the results and the controversies, and possible implications for Australia’s regional engagement.MalaysiaMalaysia’s 5 May poll saw the return of the ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional—BN) coalition which won a plurality of seats (133 out of 222) over the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat—PR), despite recording the lowest-ever share of the popular vote (46.5%). Criticism of Malaysia’s electoral system and allegations of fraud involving foreign voters featured heavily in the campaign with PR’s leader, Anwar Ibrahim, leading a series of rallies protesting... Read more...

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