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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 May, 2013

Regulation of gambling advertising on TV - Live Odds and ACMA

On 26 May 2013, the Prime Minister promisedthat ‘all promotions of odds by gambling companies and commentators will be banned during the broadcast of live sports matches, under new rules’. The Government has demanded that Australian commercial TV broadcasters amend their codes to ensure a reduction in the promotion and advertising of gambling—especially live odds—during broadcasts of sport. Codes of PracticeSection 123 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) provides that a ‘Code of Practice’ may be developed by a group representing a particular section of the broadcasting industry. An industry body, FreeTV,performs this role for commercial television operators and has developed the ... Read more...

Question Time: Questions directed to non-government members

In Question Time on 28 May 2013 the Leader of the House, the Hon. Anthony Albanese, moved a Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders (SSSO) to allow the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott, to address the House. The SSSO was moved to provide the Leader of the Opposition the opportunity to answer a question during Question Time – a rare and highly unusual occurrence.The member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, directed a question to both the Prime Minister and with the indulgence of the House, to the Leader of the Opposition, regarding the issue of man-made climate change. The Speaker, Anna Burke, ruled that the Leader of the Opposition would not be able to answer the question and would ... Read more...

The African Union’s Golden Jubilee: reflections on Australia’s relationship with Africa

On 25 May 2013 (Africa Day), the African Union celebrated its 50th anniversary. Originally established in 1963 as The Organization of African Unity with 30 states, it now has 54 members. In 2010, Australia signed a memorandum of understanding with the AU’s Secretariat, the African Union Commission, and this year’s Golden Jubilee provides an opportunity to reflect on Australia’s diversifying relationship with Africa.The African continent continues to face significant human security challenges, to which Australia has contributed in excess of $0.5 billion in aid annually since 2010–11. African nations (such as Ethiopia and Mozambique) are among the fastest growing in the world, with a combined... Read more...

The effectiveness of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System

Following the release of graphic film footage that depicts the inhumane treatment of cattle in Egyptian abattoirs, questions have again been raised about the effectiveness of Australia’s current live export arrangements.The footage, obtained by Animals Australia, was filmed in October 2012 and April 2013 by Egyptian vet, Dr Mahmoud Abdelwahab and was aired on the ABC's 7.30 report. As a result, Australia suspended all live exports to Egypt on 3 May 2013. While acknowledging the ‘abhorrent abuses’ suffered by the cattle in the footage, the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, the Cattle Council of Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation maintain that animals should continue to be e... Read more...

OECD Development Co-operation Peer Review: Australia 2013

On 6 May 2013, the Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the OECD Development Co-operation Peer Review: Australia 2013. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD carries out peer reviews of member countries’ aid programs approximately every four years. Australia’s last review was undertaken in 2008.The current Review notes that since the 2008 Review, ‘AusAID has gone through the biggest change in its history’ which represents an ‘unprecedented reform of Australian development co-operation’ (p.13). The Review points out that 80 per cent (16 recommendations) of the 2008 Review has been implemented a... Read more...

Food Allergy Week 2013

This week (13–19 May 2013) is national Food Allergy Week, organised by Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA), a non-profit allergy advocacy and support group now in its 20th year. Reflecting what is sometimes referred to as the ‘allergy epidemic’, Australia has one of the highest reported rates of food allergy in the world. Current research suggests that one in ten 12 month old infants in Australia has a food allergy, and according to A&AA, ‘life threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in children aged under five years old have increased five-fold over the last 10 years in Australia’. There are nine foods known to be responsible for 90% of food allergic reactions, with a... Read more...

Paid Parental Leave: Robin Hood or piggy bank?

While there are numerous differences between the Labor and Coalition policies on parental leave pay, the most controversial is the rate of payment. While the current Government scheme is paid at the National Minimum Wage ($606.50 per week), the Coalition proposal is for parents to be paid at their full salary capped at an income level of $150,000.The difference between the two approaches highlights the complicated relationship present in both schemes between the idea of Parental Leave Pay as a workplace entitlement and a payment made through the social security system.Australia's current Paid Parental Leave scheme operates within the framework of social security benefits paid through the Dep... Read more...

Surviving the first day of life

Every year three million babies die within the first month of life, with one million dying on the day they are born.Most babies die from preventable causes such as infections.  Every day, 800 women die during pregnancy or childbirth.These statistics, released this week, are published in the 14th annual State of the World’s Mothers report by the organisation Save the Children. This FlagPost will show that the new born baby is still the most vulnerable and at risk of dying in both the developing and industrialised nations.To determine in which country a baby is most likely to survive, Save the Children have caculated their first ever “Birth Day Risk Index” to identify the safest and most dang... Read more...

Asylum seekers and refugees—how will they be affected by this year’s Budget?

It is expected that there will be several items in this year’s Budget directly affecting asylum seekers and refugees, some of which will require significant increases in expenditure. In particular, funding associated with the cost of intercepting and detaining irregular maritime arrivals (IMAs) is likely to increase significantly. However, other recent Government announcements affecting asylum seekers and refugees will also require additional funding—most notably the Government’s decision to increase the number of places available under the Humanitarian Program and the decision to increase the family reunion stream of the Migration Program by 4000 places for humanitarian entrants (and remove... Read more...

Can means testing of welfare really save the budget?

One suggestion for addressing Australia's budget deficit has been to make cuts to 'middle class welfare'are'—that is, welfare payments made to households other than those with low incomes.The problem with such suggestions is that they are frequently light on details about precisely which welfare payments are the source of the 'problem' and what 'middle class' means. Nor do they tend to address the unintended consequences of making changes to eligibility for payments though tightening of means tests.One way of making cuts to middle class welfare would be to ensure that payments are means tested. The problem with this strategy is that Australia already means tests just about every possible pay... Read more...

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