FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Filter by

Date

Syndication

Tag cloud

Filter by June, 2014

The reintroduction of bills to repeal the carbon and mining taxes

On 23 June 2014, the Government re-introduced a package of Bills to repeal the ‘carbon tax’. A separate Bill was also introduced to repeal the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT). On 24 June 2014, the House agreed to several debate management motions that will have the effect of expediting the passage of the Bills through the House so that they are able to be considered by the Senate when it meets on 7 July 2014. The re-introduced Bills are identical to those rejected by the Senate in March 2014. Read more...

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—consequential amendments

On 1 July 2014, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act) will implement a new financial management framework for the Commonwealth and Commonwealth entities. However, implementation of the PGPA framework requires the enactment of five Bills in June. The first of these was passed on 19 June 2014. The remaining four consequential and transitional Bills were introduced on 24 June and passed by the House of Representatives on 25 June. Read more...

High Court strikes down Minister's decision to cap permanent visas for refugees

On 20 June 2014 the High Court unanimously upheld separate challenges by two asylum seekers who questioned the ability of the Minister to limit or cap the number of protection visas that can be granted. On 4 March 2014 Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, made a determination limiting the number of permanent protection visas that could be granted during the 2013/14 financial year. The limit of 2773 was reached only three weeks after the cap had been set. The principle question before the Court was whether section 85 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act), which enables the number of visas to be granted in a financial year to be capped, was capable of applying to protection visas when the Act s... Read more...

ZouZou/shutterstock.com

World Refugee Day 2014 - highest levels of displacement since World War II

On World Refugee Day, celebrated on 20 June each year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports on global displacement trends based on data collected from the previous calendar year by governments, Non-Government Organisation (NGO) partners and the UNHCR itself. This year, in its publication Global trends 2013, the UNHCR has reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has exceeded 50 million people for the first time since World War II.  Read more...

WTO rules Chinese rare earth minerals export limits breach the GATT 1994

In March 2014 a Panel established by the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that export controls on rare earth mineral put in place by China contravened the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT).  Read more...

High Court gets another chance to have the final word on regional processing

On 18 June 2014, the High Court unanimously ruled that the statutory scheme under which Papua New Guinea (PNG) was designated as a regional processing country is constitutionally valid. This FlagPost examines the events that led up to the Court’s decision.   In May 2011, in the context of increasing numbers of unauthorised maritime arrivals (UMAs), former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced that Australia would enter into an agreement with Malaysia that would see 800 UMAs transferred to Malaysia for refugee status determination; while Australia would resettle 4000 recognised refugees already in Malaysia. The Government also abandoned its previous plan to build a regional proc... Read more...

First Home Saver Accounts scheme closure

In the 2014–15 Budget, the Government announced the end of the First Home Saver’s Account (FHSA) scheme, ‘due to lower than forecast take-up rates’, for a saving of $134.3 million over five years. This Flagpost provides some background on First Home Saver Accounts and the changes announced in the Budget. Read more...

Australia, the United States and China: the debates continue

The Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington, where he urged the Americans to continue their ‘pivot to Asia’, occurred at a time when a range of other voices across Australia is expressing diverse thoughts on how Australia might further adjust its symbiotic relationships with both the US and China. Read more...

Are concessional patients over-using Medicare?

The recent budget proposed measures which are intended to reduce demand on health services, particularly GP services, because of concern free or low-cost services are being over-used and a price signal is needed to keep Medicare sustainable (see Box). Reducing unnecessary GP visits could reduce costs to government and free up resources to treat higher need patients. Evidence suggests that concessional patients use GP services at a higher rate compared to non-concessional patients. A key question is whether the higher use of medical services among concessional patients reflects a genuine need for a health service or that health services provided to this group tend to be free or low-cost, and ... Read more...

What does IMF data say about Australia’s spending and net debt?

On page 3 of the 2014-15 Budget Overview, the Government stated that: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that, without policy change, Australia would record the fastest spending growth of the top 17 surveyed advanced economies and the third largest increase in net debt as a share of the economy. These claims were based on charts published on page 24 of the IMF’s Article IV Consultation—Staff Report for Australia, which was released in February 2014. One of the IMF’s charts appeared to show that Australia had the highest forecast change in real expenditure between 2012 and 2018 amongst all IMF advanced economies. Another chart appeared to show that Australi... Read more...