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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

Omnibus Bill dropped and new savings Bill introduced to fund child care package

The Government has announced that it will discharge the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 (Omnibus Bill) from the notice paper, if it can secure passage of a new social services savings Bill and an older Bill which provides for the same child care reforms. The new savings Bill, the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Social Services Bill), contains three measures from the Omnibus Bill and a different measure, first proposed in the 2014–15 Budget by the Abbott Government. Read more...

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed with a series of worldwide events on 21 March every year. Proclaiming the Day on 26 October 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).The date of 21 March was chosen to commemorate that day in 1960 when police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid ‘pass laws’. Since those earlier days, the UN observes there has been progress: … the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled... Read more...

Residential aged care funding: recent developments

There have been a number of developments in residential (nursing home) aged care funding since the 2016–17 Budget. This FlagPost briefly outlines key changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), a tool used by aged care providers to determine the base funding they receive to care for each resident. Read more...

Alcohol abuse in Ceduna: findings from the cashless debit card trial

The cashless debit card is the latest of a series of measures designed to tackle alcohol abuse in Ceduna. The Government has recently released an interim evaluation report on the measure. Read more...

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...

UN Special Rapporteur on violence comments on Australia

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dubravka Šimonovic, held a press conference yesterday outlining initial findings from her visit to Australia. Audio of Ms Šimonović’s end of mission statement is available online. Ms Šimonović has previously said that ‘violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide and Australia is no exception’. Speaking yesterday, she is reported to have said that ‘women’s human rights in Australia are protected in an incomplete, patchwork way in different states and territories’. The role of Special Ra... Read more...

The Coalition, Labor and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2013

Over the last decade, differences have emerged between the two major Australian parties in their approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making it a foreign policy issue of unusual disagreement. While there is still declared bipartisan support for the long-accepted ‘two-state solution’, broader international dynamics now raise a number of questions for Australian policymakers. Such issues include increasing concern over the viability of such a solution due to increased settlement activity and possible changes in US policy.  Read more...

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...