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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

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...

Voluntary postal poll on same-sex marriage

On 8 August 2017 the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, announced that the Government would be re-introducing its 2016 legislation for a compulsory plebiscite on same-sex marriage (the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016). The Minister also stated that, should the Bill again fail to pass the Parliament, the Government will conduct a ‘voluntary postal plebiscite’ on same-sex marriage for Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll, with results by 15 November 2017. On 9 August 2017 the Government’s motion to bring the Bill before the Senate failed, and Minister Cormann subsequently indicated that the Government will proceed with the postal po... Read more...

China’s relationship with North Korea

The launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or ‘North Korea’) on 4 July and 28 July of this year induced a rapid reaction from Western states. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described the 4 July launch as ‘provocative’, while the Government referred to the 28 July launch as ‘reckless and menacing’. Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the launches, noting that ‘global action is required to stop a global threat’. Secretary Tillerson further stated that ‘any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military ben... Read more...

Pharmacy Review: change ahead or business as usual?

On 22 June 2017, the last day of the winter session for the Australian Parliament, the Independent Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation released its Interim Report. The release did not receive much coverage in the mainstream media, even though the Report canvasses significant changes for pharmacists and consumers. It has, however, drawn a strong response from key stakeholders. Read more...

What can HILDA tell you about Australia?

The latest results of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey were released in a report published on 2 August 2017. The results relate to data collected from 2001 to 2015. HILDA is a nationally representative longitudinal study of Australian households funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and managed by the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne. The major advantage of the HILDA survey is its longitudinal nature. Since 2001, questions have been asked of the same individuals and households every year— allowing researchers to examine how aspects of these individuals and households’ lives change over time. If the... 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...

The impeachment process in the United States of America

On 12 July 2017 United States (US) congressman Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, formally introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump into the US House of Representatives. The measure was co-sponsored by Texas Democrat Al Green. The articles of impeachment accuse the President of obstruction of justice in relation to the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), including ‘through threatening, and then terminating, [FBI Director] James Comey’. The impeachment measure is likely to meet with substantial opposition in the Republican-controlled House. Read more...

Somalia update

Although it has taken almost two decades since the formation of a transitional government was agreed in 2000, progress towards stability in Somalia is being made. While the situation is far from being considered peaceful and stable, the building of relatively sound foundations has provided some hope that Somalia might progress to becoming a functioning state. Somalia continues to receive significant military, political, financial and humanitarian support from the international community, including Australia. Since 2016, Australia has provided $17 million in humanitarian support. 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...

Census 2016 - Summary of results

The Census of Population and Housing paints a picture of the society in which we live and, when compared with previous censuses, we can see how we have changed.  Read more...

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