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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 July, 2014

Distributing GST revenue to the states: Where is the revenue raised and what is a ‘relativity’?

Discussions of the distribution of revenue from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the Australian States and Territories often refer to the GST that a particular state ‘collects’, or GST raised in a particular state. These are actually references to ‘relativities’, a term which describes the portion of GST a state gets relative to an equal per-capita distribution. This flagpost outlines how the location of GST collection differs from the per-capita approach and ‘relativities’ that underlie the actual distribution of GST revenue. Read more...

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia

In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) declared an Islamic Caliphate spanning the area from Syria’s Aleppo governorate in the west, to Iraq’s province of Diyala in the east. The area under IS control now covers up to one third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, which previously had a strong Christian community, but who have now mostly been forced to flee.  Read more...

Women in Australian parliaments

Across Australia women continue to be significantly under-represented in parliament and executive government, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers. The Parliamentary Library has recently published an updated research paper, Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014. It presents the latest data on women serving in Australian vice-regal, government and parliamentary leadership positions, ministries and parliamentary committees, as well as presenting an overview of female candidates in previous Commonwealth elections. Whilst the focus of the paper is on the Commonwealth Parliament, it includes comparative information about women in... Read more...

DFAT

Celebrating 40 years of Australia-ASEAN relations

This year, Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are marking 40 years of multilateral relations. The anniversary will culminate in a leaders’ summit in November in Nai Pyi Taw, Myanmar (the current Chair of ASEAN). Read more...

Can the Government bypass the Parliament over the GP co-payment?

Recently, ABC news online reported that based on advice provided to the Greens from the Parliamentary Library, the Government could bypass the Senate to introduce elements of its GP co-payment proposal. The news story goes on to suggest that the Government could use its regulatory powers to implement at least one element of the proposal—a $5 reduction in the Medicare rebate paid to doctors—without the need for legislation. This Flagpost explains how this might occur. The Medicare rebate is calculated as a proportion of the Medicare Schedule Fee, which is listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. For most out of hospital services, the rebate is calculated at 85% of the Schedule F... Read more...

Repeal of certain family visas

In the 2014-15 Budget, the Government announced its intention to repeal six family stream visa categories–the Parent visa (subclass 103), Aged Parent visa (subclass 804), Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclasses 114 and 838), Remaining Relative visa (subclasses 115 and 835) and Carer visa (subclasses 116 and 836). An amendment to the Migration Regulations giving effect to this move was tabled in the House of Representatives on 2 June and in the Senate on 16 June. The regulation permanently closed the relevant visas classes to new applications as of 2 June 2014, but applications which were submitted prior to this date will remain in the queue and continue to be processed. An attempt by ... Read more...

Afghanistan: case for a 'lessons learnt' study?

On 16 May 2013, the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee tabled its report on The administration, management and objective of Australia's overseas development programs in Afghanistan in the context of the ‘Transition Decade’. On 26 June 2014, more than a year after the report was released, the Government tabled its response. Read more...

Australia’s WTO plain cigarette packaging case: an update

Australia is a respondent in five World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes regarding the introduction of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (TPPA). The disputes were commenced by Ukraine, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Indonesia (the Applicants).  Read more...

Chatham House / Wikimedia Commons

Japan resurgent

This week’s visit to Australia by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marks a further step in the resurgence of Japan as a global power. It is also a key event for both Australia and Japan in affirming new regional roles and relations. Read more...

Fair Work Commission clarifies when an employer can direct an employee to attend a medical examination

The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently handed down a judgment which examined the lawfulness of dismissing an employee who refused to attend a medical appointment, as directed by their employer. Read more...