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

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New rules for media-related activity in Parliament House and its precincts

On 28 November 2012 the Presiding Officers issued new rules for media-related activity in Parliament House and its precincts. The rules will come into effect with the commencement of the 2013 parliamentary sittings on 5 February 2013 replacing the previous rules and guidelines on filming and photography (issued December 2008). The rules will apply to all occupants of Parliament House and visitors to the building and its precincts.The rules are issued under the Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988 (Cth) and operate alongside resolutions of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings. The rules state that media-related activity... Read more...

Women in Australian Parliaments

  A new Background Note, Representation of Women in Australian Parliaments, published by the Parliamentary Library to coincide with International Women's Day, reveals that there are currently more women parliamentarians in the Senate than at any other time since Federation. However, despite occupying several high-profile roles, women are still significantly under-represented in Australian parliaments, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and occupying less than one-quarter of all ministry positions. In addition, whilst the number of women in the Senate reached its highest point after the 2010 Commonwealth election, the number of women in the House of Representatives dec... Read more...

Casual vacancies in the Senate

On 27 February Labor Senator Mark Arbib announced his intention to resign from the Ministry and the Senate. His resignation from the Ministry took effect from 2 March, and he resigned from the Senate on 5 March. This FlagPost lists recent casual vacancies and describes the steps for filling them.The most recent Senate casual vacancy followed the resignation of Senator Helen Coonan on 22 August 2011. At a joint sitting of the two Houses of the Legislature of New South Wales held on 13 October 2011 in accordance with the provisions of section 15 of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, Arthur Sinodinos was chosen as the replacement. Since 1901 there have been 134 occasions when a rep... Read more...

MPs moving straight into the Ministry

On 2 March 2012, the Prime Minister the Hon. Julia Gillard announced Bob Carr would join the Senate and take on the role of Minister for Foreign Affairs. Mr Carr becomes one of only eight Ministers moving straight into ministry on commencement in the Commonwealth Parliament. In two cases the new minister had no parliamentary experience at all; in the six other cases the appointee had prior parliamentary and ministerial experience in a State Parliament.Ministers with no previous parliamentary experienceWilliam Spooner (Liberal, NSW) was elected to the Senate at the 1949 election. His term commenced on 22 February 1950. Spooner was appointed Minister for Social Services in the Menzies Governme... Read more...

The Australian Greens 2008-2011

The Parliamentary Library has recently published a research paper which examines the electoral fortunes and parliamentary activities of the Australian Greens from 2008 to the end of the first year of the 43rd Commonwealth Parliament in 2011. The paper updates and expands on an earlier paper, The rise of the Australian Greens, published by the Library in 2008. It presents a brief introduction to the structure, ideological underpinnings and policies of the Australian Greens, and includes a brief history of the development of Green politics internationally and in Australia.In the 2010 federal election, the Australian Greens emerged with the balance of power in the Senate and shared balance of p... Read more...

A Handbook for the 43rd Parliament

The Parliamentary Library recently published the 2011 edition of the Parliamentary Handbook. The Handbook is a comprehensive guide to the 43rd Parliament. The biographical section includes details of the parliamentary service and political career of each Senator and Member, as well as some personal particulars. The Handbook also provides statistics on the age, length of service, qualifications and previous occupations of the current Parliament, together with data on the 2010 elections as well as a map of federal electoral divisions. Valuable lists and tables concerning the history of the Australian Parliament are provided, such as lists of Governors-General, Presiding Officers, Prime Ministe... Read more...

The hung Parliament: the first year

On 7 September 2010 an agreement was formulated between the ALP, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor which, together with other agreements, gave the Labor Party the support it needed to form a minority government. A major component of the agreement with Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor was an annex, Agreement for a Better Parliament: Parliamentary Reform, which was negotiated by the ALP, the Coalition and the independents. The Agreement for a Better Parliament identified a range of changes to House of Representatives procedure and practice, many of which were subsequently implemented through changes to the House of Representatives Standing Orders. The Parliamentary Library has recently released a ... Read more...

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