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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, 2014

The Thai coup amid broader concerns

The recent assumption of political control in Thailand by the military has induced concerns around the world, for diverse but not always openly-expressed reasons. Read more...

Big changes to Queensland’s electoral laws

On 22 May 2014 the Electoral Reform Amendment Bill 2013 was passed in the Queensland Legislative Assembly, amending the Electoral Act 1992 (Qld). Changes effected by the legislation include: a deep cut to taxpayer funding to political parties for campaign and related purposes increasing the percentage of votes parties or independents must attract to receive public funding  from four per cent to six per cent raising the threshold at which donations must be declared from $1,000 to $12,400 which is more in line with Federal electoral law removing the limit on what can be spent on election campaigning in each electorate the publication on the Electoral Commi... Read more...

Changes to payment of leave loading on termination of employment

Changes to payment of leave loading on termination of employment This FlagPost examines the changes proposed by the Fair Work Amendment Bill 2014, in relation to payment of leave loading on unused annual leave when an employee ceases employment, and what those changes would mean for employers and employees. Background Annual leave loading is designed to compensate employees for notional loss of overtime earnings whilst on leave. Despite this, it is relatively common in sectors where overtime payments are infrequent. The Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA) changed the previous long-standing position that leave loading was not payable on termination, unless provided for by an industrial instrument (e... Read more...

Australian aid to PNG: a new paradigm?

While most commentary on Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget for 2014–15 has focussed on the overall outlay, what has largely been overlooked have been the allocations for the two largest recipients of Australian aid—Indonesia and PNG. Read more...

Who watches the waters? The end of the National Water Commission

The National Water Commission (NWC) is to be dissolved, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed on Monday. Established during the millennium drought, the NWC is an independent statutory authority designed to monitor the progress of national water reform, but its role changed and expanded over the years. What has the NWC been doing? Read more...

Shark proposal under assessment

Senator Rachel Siewert has introduced a Private Members Bill, the Save our Sharks Bill 2014, to prevent the Minister for the Environment from granting another exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) to the Western Australian Government to permit the setting of drum lines to catch large sharks and protect local beaches. This follows the unsuccessful attempt by Sea Shepherd Australia to have a judicial review of the granting of the exemption of the activity by the WA Government under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (WA). However this will not prevent the approval of a new drum line proposal. Read more...

Fair Work Commission clarifies differences between a support person and advocate

In February 2014, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a judgement in which the nature and role of a ‘support person’ in discussions relating to a dismissal were discussed.  Read more...

tsaiproject / flickr

The end of ARENA

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed yesterday that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will be discontinued in the 2014-15 Budget. Although it is less than two years old, ARENA is the last in a line of short-lived renewable energy initiatives that span almost a decade. ARENA has attracted little attention in its short life. What exactly is its role?  Read more...

Israel-Palestine: Why the peace talks failed

As the dust settles after the collapse of the latest round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the way forward is unclear. Both sides lay the blame on each other for the failure, and an anonymous US official has been quoted as saying the willingness of US Secretary of State John Kerry—who brokered the talks—to continue his efforts ‘depends on the sides' willingness to show seriousness’.   Read more...

Latest Illicit Drugs Data Report highlights

The Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Data Report (IDDR) provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures and details the current situation, national impact and emerging trends related to illicit drugs in Australia and internationally. Outlined below is a brief snapshot of some of the key findings of the Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13, with a focus on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) other than MDMA (‘ecstasy’). Read more...

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