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

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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...

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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 Ab... 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 ... 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 wel... Read more...

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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 d... Read more...

'That's it, you're out': disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives

On Wednesday 11 December 2013, 10 Labor MPs were ordered to withdraw from the House of Representatives for one hour ('sin binned') by the Speaker, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop. Seven of these were during Question Time, two during a motion to suspend standing orders which occurred at the end of this period and one during a ministerial statement later in the evening. Each 'sin binning' occurred during questions and debate about the automotive industry.As many as this may seem, it is not the most number ... Read more...

Which Minister?: Answering questions during Question Time

During Question Time on 5 December 2013, the member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, asked the Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey, a question. Halfway through his response to the question, Mr Hockey invited the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Warren Truss to finish the answer. The Speaker ruled that this was in order and by doing so upheld precedence.While transferring the responsibility for the answer of a question seems highly unusual, House of Representatives Practice (6th ed., p.550) states that it is e... Read more...

Legislation and the financial initiative: what happened to the Opposition amendments to the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills?

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and other related Bills passed the House of Representatives on 21 November 2013 with no amendments. While this is not an unusual occurrence, what is notable is that Opposition amendments to the package of bills were not debated during the consideration-in-detail stage.The Speaker, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, made a ruling prior to the commencement of the consideration-in-detail stage of the Bills, that the amendments could contravene standi... Read more...

Question Time: Questions directed to non-government members

In Question Time on 28 May 2013 the Leader of the House, the Hon. Anthony Albanese, moved a Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders (SSSO) to allow the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott, to address the House. The SSSO was moved to provide the Leader of the Opposition the opportunity to answer a question during Question Time – a rare and highly unusual occurrence.The member for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, directed a question to both the Prime Minister and with the indulgence of the Hous... Read more...