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

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Known unknowns about the same sex marriage survey

Following its failure to reintroduce the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 to the Senate Notice Paper, the Government has directed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to conduct a survey of all electors ‘about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry’. In the absence of enabling legislation, and with no historical precedent of the ABS running a national survey of all electors, there remain many unanswered questions as to how the vote will proceed, both in terms of law and logistics. Read more...

The departures continue: constitutional disqualification from Parliament

Western Australian Green Scott Ludlam and Queensland Green Larissa Waters are now the third and fourth senators to have left the Senate since the last election due to ineligibility. Prior to the current term of Parliament, only five parliamentarians had ever lost their seats due to Constitutional eligibility reasons. Read more...

Mini-Redistributions: Representational Russian Roulette

A recent newspaper article suggests that the Prime Minister might be forced to call an early election in August or September 2018, however the recent release of the population estimates from the Census may complicate this. Read more...

Gains and losses on the electorate roundabout

The latest population data released today (27 June 2017) by the ABS suggests that, for the next election, the number of divisions in South Australia will reduce by one (from 11 to 10) and the number of divisions in both Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory will increase by one. There will be no change in the number of divisions for any other state or territory. Read more...

Bob Day found to be incapable of being chosen as a senator

On 5 April 2017 the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, handed down its decision in Re Day [No 2] [2017], HCA 14 regarding former South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day (Mr Day resigned from the Senate on 1 November 2016). The Court found that Mr Day was incapable of being chosen or sitting as a senator by reason of section 44(v) of the Australian Constitution, and ordered that the vacancy be filled by a recount.   Read more...

The neighbours go to the polls: upcoming elections in Australia’s region

While much of the global focus in 2017 will be on the implications of a new administration in the US and political contests in countries such as Germany and France, there will also be important elections in Australia’s region. Read more...

So you’ve been prorogued – Common questions answered

On 21 March 2016 the Prime Minister wrote to the Governor-General to ask the Governor-General to prorogue Parliament on Friday 15 April and summon Parliament to sit again on Monday 18 April 2016. This Flagpost examines what proroguing means for the operation of the Parliament and the possible implications for the Senate’s consideration of certain Bills. Read more...

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...

iVote, therefore I am

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis popularised the idea of the states being the ’laboratories of democracy‘, which seems like a good way to describe the moves towards electronic voting in NSW state elections. The 2015 NSW state election to be held on 23 March will involve what will be one of the largest binding elections involving remote internet voting in the world. While remote internet voting was used in the NSW state election in 2011 on a smaller scale, the NSW Electoral Commission estimates that up to 200,000 voters will use iVote in the 2015 election. The success of the iVote system will be keenly watched by those with an interest in electronic voting. Read more...

Voting online? Don’t count on it

In the 2013 Federal Election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) lost 1,370 ballot papers. Subsequent inquiries examined the selection of polling locations, the transport and storage of completed ballot papers, and the recruitment and training of temporary staff in short timeframes. The logistics are challenging, but are they necessary? We already do our banking and shopping online – why not voting? Read more...

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