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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, 2015

The 2015 Canning By-Election

The Speaker of the House of Representatives has announced a by-election for the federal seat of Canning, in Western Australia, following the death of the sitting member, Mr Don Randall, on 21 July 2015. The by-election will be held on 19 September 2015. Read more...

Life Gold Pass

It has been reported that former federal Members of Parliament have lodged a challenge in the High Court to recent legislative changes that reduced their entitlement to the ‘Life Gold Pass’ post-retirement travel benefit and reduced their benefits under the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme. The entitlement of parliamentarians to the ‘Life Gold Pass’ (LGP) has been in operation since 1918. The LGP and severance travel are post-retirement travel benefits currently available to parliamentarians. Retirement travel is governed by Acts of Parliament, determinations of the Remuneration Tribunal, procedural rules, and decisions of the Executive. In 2002 the L... Read more...

Could people stripped of their Australian citizenship be immediately removed from Australia?

The desired outcome of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 is ‘to ensure the safety and security of Australia and its people and to ensure the community of Australian citizens is limited to those who continue to retain an allegiance to Australia’. But is automatic loss of citizenship necessarily the end of the line for those in Australia who are deemed to have repudiated their allegiance to Australia and will they thus be put on the next plane out? One might be surprised to learn that technically, there is nothing in the Migration Act 1958 preventing their removal from Australia, not even if they are entitled to challenge the loss of their cit... Read more...

Parliamentary entitlements: inquiries and reports

On 2 August 2015 the Prime Minister announced the setting up of a committee to develop and propose models to deliver an independent parliamentary entitlements system, co-chaired by Mr David Tune (former Secretary of the Department of Finance) and Mr John Conde AO (President of the Remuneration Tribunal). The announcement comes in the wake of the resignation of the Speaker, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop, after weeks of controversy over travel entitlements. The objective of the committee is to establish a workable system for authorising potentially contentious expenditure before it is incurred. This is the latest in a series of inquiries and audits that have been conducted into MPs’ entitlement... Read more...

China to move production capacity offshore

With the ructions in the South China Sea having monopolised the China headlines of late, a key PRC policy initiative possibly more significant for the expansion of China’s influence regionally and globally has passed under the radar.  In April, at the Lanting forum held in Hebei, PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a speech entitled ‘Promote industrial cooperation for common development’. He noted that the forum was intended as ‘a new platform for provinces and cities such as Hebei to expand exchanges and industrial cooperation with other countries’. Read more...

Australian Government use of the term ‘occupied’ when referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem

In June 2014 a minor diplomatic uproar occurred when, during Budget Estimates hearings, Attorney-General George Brandis stated: The description of East Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ East Jerusalem is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful.... It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language.  Read more...

Susya/Susiya: the Australian connection

In May 2015, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that the Civil Administration—the Israeli governing body in the West Bank—could proceed with its planned demolition of parts of Susiya, a Palestinian village in the south Hebron Hills region. Read more...

Budget impacts of negative gearing

‘Negative gearing’ has been a topic of frequent debate. This flagpost summarises some of the estimates of the impact of negative gearing on the Commonwealth Budget. Read more...

Resignations of Speakers

The resignation of the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP as Speaker of the House of Representatives on 2 August 2015 is the ninth resignation of a Speaker since 1901, and the third such resignation since 2011. There have been 31 Speakers since Federation. The election of a new Speaker by the House of Representatives when Parliament resumes on 10 August 2015 will take the total to 32. Section 35 of the Australian Constitution provides that the House of Representatives must choose a member to be Speaker ‘before proceeding to the despatch of any other business’. Under section 3 of the Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965 (Cth), a Speaker who resigns the office is deemed to continue as... Read more...

Wine Taxation

The release of the Commonwealth Government’s Tax Discussion Paper in March 2015 has re-raised a number of contentious issues about how wine and other alcoholic beverages are taxed. The beverage taxation system in Australia has reportedly been described as a ‘dog’s breakfast’ by former Treasurer, Peter Costello, and as contradictory in terms of policy objectives by the Henry Tax Review. The question of reforming the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) has split the wine industry.  Read more...

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