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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, 2012

Reform of aged care - a small step

On 20 April 2012, after much anticipation, the Government released its response to the Productivity Commission’s (PC) Inquiry into Caring for Older Australians and put forward its reform plan, Living Longer. Living Better, for aged care. The initial response from stakeholders was largely positive. But as aged care providers and stakeholder groups have had the chance to reflect on the package, there have been claims that the cost of care provided in the home will increase for elderly Australians. Discussions about whether the family home should be included in the arrangements for paying for aged care also persist. The Government has adopted, in part, many of the PC’s recommendations. Its resp... Read more...

Skilled migration flows to Australia

 There has been a distinct shift in the focus of Australia's Migration Program in favour of skilled migration over the last decade or so. As a result, more permanent places are now allocated to skilled migrants than any other category. Migrants entering Australia under the skill stream in 2010–11 accounted for 67.4 per cent of all visas granted to permanent migrants.Perhaps even more significant is the rise in temporary long-term skilled migration to Australia over the last decade with many of these entrants transitioning to permanent residence over time. In 2009–10, 43 390 temporary migrants who entered Australia originally with a long-stay business (subclass 457) visa, became permanent... Read more...

Trading aviation emissions - Part 2

The leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss, has called the EU's inclusion of aviation in its emission trading scheme (ETS) an 'iniquitous tax', siding with a number of countries that oppose the move. In its FlagPost Trading aviation emissions from February, the Parliamentary Library outlined the main elements of the EU's decision and some of the international relations issues that have arisen. Since then, a series of new developments have taken place and the debate is far from resolved. This FlagPost is an update on the situation globally. Preparing for take-offDespite vocal international resistance, the EU is forging ahead with its proposed schedule. On 3 February, the European Commission (E... Read more...

Calls to waive dentists' debts to Medicare

On 19 March 2012, the Opposition health spokesman the Hon. Peter Dutton, introduced the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Bill 2012 into the House of Representatives. The Bill was also introduced into the Senate on 21 March by Senator David Bushby, and immediately referred to the Senate Finance and Administration Committee for inquiry. The Bill proposes to 'redress past and future inequities that have arisen from the operation of subsection 10(2) of the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Determination 2007' (the Determination). This Determination prescribes the arrangements which allow dentists, dental specialists and dental prosthetists to provide Medicare funded services (capped at $4250 ... Read more...

Resignation of Senator Bob Brown

On 13 April 2012, Senator Bob Brown announced his retirement as leader of the Australian Greens and resignation from the Senate with the intention to leave the Senate when a candidate for the vacancy has been found. Senator Bob Brown entered Federal Parliament as a Senator for Tasmania in 1996, he was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2007. Senator Brown has had a long parliamentary career, having served in the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Denison from 1983 to his resignation in 1993. He was Parliamentary Leader of the Greens (Tas.) during his tenure in the Tasmanian parliament and was elected leader of the Australian Greens in 2005. During his tenure, Senator Brown has led the rise of the ... Read more...

Asylum levels and trends 2011

On 27 March 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released the 2011 report on Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries. After analysing asylum application trends in the 44 industrialised countries included in the report (38 European countries plus Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Canada and the USA), the UNHCR found that an estimated 441 300 asylum applications were lodged in 2011—the highest level since 2003. In a press release accompanying the report, the UNHCR noted that ‘rising outflow from older crisis spots such as Afghanistan’ helped contribute to the 20 per cent rise in asylum claims in 2011. Bucking the global trend, Austral... Read more...

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