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 75th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin

On 19 February 1942 approximately 240 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin in two separate raids, representing the first ever enemy attack on Australian soil. More than 240 civilians and Australian and US service personnel were killed, and eight ships were sunk in Darwin Harbour. This was the first of 64 bombing raids by Japanese aircraft on Darwin between February 1942 and late 1943, although a new book suggests there may have been as many as 77 raids on the Northern Territory alone. A number of other coastal towns in Australia’s north were also attacked during 1942 and 1943. During January 1941 Japan had occupied Manila, resulting in the retreat of American and Philippine forces to the ... Read more...

Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Bill 2017 and Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017

On 13 January 2017, in response to the recent controversy over MPs’ travel entitlements, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the establishment of an Independent Parliamentary Entitlements Authority. The Prime Minister also foreshadowed further legislative reform dealing with business expenses. On 9 February the Prime Minister introduced the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Bill 2017 (IPEA Bill) and a Consequential Amendments Bill. The IPEA Bill is modelled on the British Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Read more...

Back here again - safe zones in Syria

The creation of a safe zone in Syria was consistently ruled-out by the Obama Administration as a fraught, expensive and partial solution to the crisis, despite international calls for action. In a 10 February interview, Syrian President Assad alluded to some of these complexities and rejected President Trump’s plan to establish such an area in Syria.   Read more...

National Apology Day 2017

Today (13th of February) is National Apology Day, the anniversary of then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivering the National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, especially the Stolen Generations, on the 13th of February 2008. The Apology is now considered a defining moment in Australian history. This is a separate occasion from National Sorry Day, the anniversary of Bringing them Home: the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families being tabled in parliament on the 26th of May 1997. This FlagPost covers government responses to Recommendation 5a of Bringing them Home, which recommended both apologies a... Read more...

Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority

In the wake of the recent parliamentary entitlements controversy that culminated in the resignation of Health Minister Sussan Ley, on 13 January 2017 Prime Minister Turnbull announced the establishment of an independent parliamentary expenses authority to administer and oversee the work expenses of parliamentarians, including ministers. He indicated that the model used by the United Kingdom (UK) would provide the direction for the new independent authority. This post provides a brief overview of the UK model—the statutory Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Read more...

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...