FlagPost

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

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International Women's Day 2017

Wednesday 8 March 2017 is International Women’s Day: a time to celebrate women’s achievements, to reflect on the challenges faced by women around the world, and to focus on taking action to improve gender equality. Read more...

Rotation of senators following the 2016 double dissolution

Following a double dissolution election, section 13 of the Australian Constitution states that the Senate must decide which of the senators will serve a full six-year term and which will serve a three-year half term and face election at the next federal election.  Read more...

Government losing votes on the floor of the House

On 1 September 2016 the Coalition Government lost three divisions on the floor of the House of Representatives: one motion to adjourn; one motion on closure of debate; and an amendment requiring the House to consider a message from the Senate immediately. Prior to this, the last time a majority Government lost a division in the House was in 1962. In the 43rd hung Parliament (2010-13), the minority ALP Government lost many divisions, mostly on procedural matters and private members’ motions. The votes lost by the Government in 1962 were as follows: A closure motion on 21 August 1962 A closure motion on 3 October 1962 Opposition’s dissent from... Read more...

The gender composition of the 45th parliament

Following the 2016 election the total number of women in Parliament has risen slightly from 69 (31 per cent) to 73 (32 per cent). The number of women in the House of Representatives has risen to 43 (29 per cent), up from 40 (27 per cent) at the end of the 44th Parliament. The number of women in the Senate has increased by one since the end of the 44th Parliament to 30 senators (39 per cent). As is the case in many parliaments around the world, women remain significantly under-represented in the Australian parliament. The Australian figures are similar to those of comparable countries such as Canada, where women make up 29 percent of the parliament, and New Zealand, where women make up 31 per... 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...

Ints Vikmanis / Shutterstock.com

A snapshot of current trends for women in leadership

The recent decision by Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appoint equal numbers of men and women to his cabinet made headlines around the world. The issue of gender representation has also been prominent in Australia this year, with the debate about gender equality escalating across the political divide.  Read more...

Prime ministers and recent Liberal Party leadership challenges

On Tuesday 15 September 2015 Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister. This resulted from a challenge by Mr Turnbull to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership of the federal Parliamentary Liberal Party on the 14 September. Mr Turnbull stated that Mr Abbott had failed to provide economic leadership and called for the restoration of traditional cabinet government. Mr Turnbull also announced that he had resigned his position as Minister for Communications. Mr Abbott called a party room meeting for 9.15 pm on the evening of 14 September for the election of the leader and deputy leader positions, announcing that he would contest the position of leader. Mr Turn... Read more...

Resignations, retirements and by-elections...and more to come

Resignations and retirements have resulted in a spate of by-elections in state and territory parliaments this year, including two each in NSW (Newcastle and Charlestown), Queensland (Redcliffe and Stafford) and the Northern Territory (Blain and Casuarina), and one in Western Australia (Vasse). Another two by-elections are to be held shortly in South Australia as a result of the death of one MP and the resignation of another (in the electorate of Fisher on 6 December 2014 and Davenport at a date still to be decided). The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green has produced an excellent overview of the by-elections held so far, including a profile for each of the electorates and a breakdown... Read more...

Women in Australian parliaments

Across Australia women continue to be significantly under-represented in parliament and executive government, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers. The Parliamentary Library has recently published an updated research paper, Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014. It presents the latest data on women serving in Australian vice-regal, government and parliamentary leadership positions, ministries and parliamentary committees, as well as presenting an overview of female candidates in previous Commonwealth elections. Whilst the focus of the paper is on the Commonwealth Parliament, it includes comparative information about women in... Read more...

By User:JimOwensPMP (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Women in Australian parliaments

A Parliamentary Library publication, Women parliamentarians in Australia 1921 ̶ 2013 written by Janet Wilson and David Black, has been updated to include women elected to federal, state and territory parliaments to 31 December 2013. Part 1 consists of tables listing all women elected to Commonwealth, State and Territory parliaments since 1921. The lists are presented in chronological order of election and include the age at which the women took their seats, their party affiliation, electoral district represented, dates of service, and the way in which their period of service ended (whether they were defeated, retired, resigned, disqualified or died). Part 1 also includes a table showing wo... Read more...