FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

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...

How does Australia’s citizenship test compare?

Following a leaked draft Cabinet document last year which reportedly proposed revamping the citizenship test ‘to strengthen accountability for commitments made at citizenship conferral’, the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, has now suggested through the media that a new test is needed which would ‘more embrace Australian values’ rather than focussing on ‘Australian trivia’. So let’s take a look at Australia’s current citizenship test and what some other countries do. Read more...

Do waiting periods for income support improve employment outcomes? Lessons from Belgium

Since 2013 the Government has sought to introduce a four-week waiting period for the most work-ready new claimants of Youth Allowance (Other) and Special Benefit who are aged under 25 years. During this waiting period, new claimants would be required to undertake a number of job search activities in order to qualify for income support after their waiting period has been served. The stated objective of the waiting period measure is to ‘set the clear expectation that young people must make every effort to maximise their chances of successfully obtaining work’. There are very few international examples of up-front waiting periods for income support. If there could be said to be a &... Read more...

Polygamy, multiple relationships and welfare

Recent media reports have raised an issue with the access to welfare payments by Muslim people in multiple relationships. This FlagPost sets out the status of such relationships under social security law and how such relationships affect social security entitlements.  Read more...

South Sudan: from political crisis to ethnic war—the process of genocide?

…there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide. This assessment of the situation in South Sudan by the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, was backed by the US Representative to the UN, Samantha Power, who led the UN Security Council (UNSC) mission to South Sudan in September 2016. Power described South Sudan as ‘a nation at the precipice’ and stressed that when ‘the UN’s designated Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide reaches the conclusion that genocide could be imminent, it should serve as a wake-up call for us all’. On 18 November 2016, the UNSC ‘strongly c... Read more...

Defence procurement from Indigenous enterprises

In late October 2016 the Australian Government issued a media release highlighting the ‘spectacular success’ of its Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy (CIPP), established just over 12 months prior. The Department of Defence has played a key role in this policy achievement, through its high level of engagement with the program and its status as the government department with the highest level of procurements. Read more...

Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Amendment (New Governance Arrangements) Bill 2016

In view of the Bill’s passage through the House of Representatives on 22 November, and its listing for debate in the Senate on 24 November, this FlagPost has been published in lieu of a Bills Digest. Following the recommendations of a review conducted in 2015, the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority Amendment (New Governance Arrangements) Bill 2016 (the Bill) proposes that the current Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority (OTA) Advisory Council be replaced by a governing Board that also assumes many of the responsibilities currently assigned to the OTA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Read more...

Iraq's humanitarian crisis grows

The operation to retake Mosul has reinvigorated the international community’s interest in the humanitarian dimensions of the conflict in Iraq. This has also resulted in a raft of recent donations to address the coming crisis – many groups estimate up to 1.5 million people could potentially being displaced or affected by the operation to retake the city. However, Iraq’s humanitarian and development needs extend far beyond the immediate requirements in Mosul. Read more...

Regulation of lever-action shotguns

In light of renewed debate over regulation of the Adler A-110 lever-action shotgun, this FlagPost provides a brief overview of the current regulation of lever-action shotguns and recent developments. The Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956 currently prohibit the import of any: lever-action shotgun with a magazine capacity of more than five rounds or firearm magazine with a capacity of more than five rounds for a lever-action shotgun (even if not attached to a shotgun). The prohibition is not specific to the Adler A-110 lever-action shotgun, and only affects imports of that model with a magazine capacity of more than five rounds (there is also a model with a capacity of fi... Read more...

‘Stewardship’: buzzword, inkblot, or a new way to deliver human services?

The concept of ‘stewardship’ features in the Productivity Commission’s recent preliminary findings report on human services. Is stewardship just a buzzword, or is it a new way for governments to oversee client choice in the market-based delivery of human services? Or is stewardship like a Rorschach inkblot test—a poorly-defined collection of features onto which we project our own interpretations and assume that other stakeholders see what we see? This FlagPost discusses stewardship as it emerges in Australia, with reference to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other areas of service delivery. Read more...