FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

‘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 an inkblot—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...

Welfare reform and social investment

Australian policymakers and commentators are looking to New Zealand for ideas on reform. One idea that has attracted a lot attention is social investment. ‘Spend now to save later’ is the principle behind social investment. As New Zealand Minister for Finance Bill English puts it: ‘We are prepared to spend money on effective programs which change lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.’ Welfare reform is one area where policymakers are trialling the social investment approach. A win-win approach to budget repair Citizens expect governments to maintain a strong safety net to protect people in the face of challenges like ... Read more...

NEETs and welfare dependency—what the OECD says

The OECD is more concerned about young people receiving disability, carer and single parent payments than those on unemployment payments. Read more...

Legacies of violence—anti-crime campaigns and extrajudicial killings in Southeast Asia

Amid the Philippine Government’s ongoing campaign of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and addicts, and reports that Indonesia is looking to emulate aspects of this approach, it is timely to recall similar previous anti-crime campaigns in Southeast Asia.   Read more...

What's happening with ARENA?

The recently passed Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 originally included a measure to reduce funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency by $1.26 billion between 2017–18 and 2021–22. The move has been controversial, with the renewable energy industry, academics and environmentalists opposing it. Eventually, a compromise was reached between the Government and the Opposition to reduce the budget cut to $500 million. However, the deal has become more complicated, with the Government proposing additional changes to support for renewable energy. This FlagPost explains what has happened.   Read more...

Omnibus Bill compromise to find further savings from family payments

The Government and Opposition have agreed on amendments to secure passage of the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Bill 2016 that includes a new Family Tax Benefit (FTB) savings measure. The measure would see families with adjusted taxable income of $80,000 or more per year ineligible to receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) supplement from 1 July 2016. Read more...

Foreign political donations

Recently the subject of political donations from foreign interests has received considerable attention. The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (CEA) regulates donations to political parties and candidates. It does not distinguish between donors from Australia or overseas, or (effectively) between donors who are Australian citizens, non-citizens or organisations (there are certain provisions relating to donations and corporate insolvency, for example, which do not apply to individuals). The CEA requires parties and candidates to know the name and address of a donor if the donation is more than the disclosure threshold (currently $13,200), and for donors and parties to submit an annual return at... Read more...

Rotation of senators following the 2016 double dissolution

Following a double dissolution election, section 13 of the Australian Constitution states that the Senate must decide which of the senators will serve a full six-year term and which will serve a three-year half term and face election at the next federal election.  Read more...

Government losing votes on the floor of the House

On 1 September 2016 the Coalition Government lost three divisions on the floor of the House of Representatives: one motion to adjourn; one motion on closure of debate; and an amendment requiring the House to consider a message from the Senate immediately. Prior to this, the last time a majority Government lost a division in the House was in 1962. In the 43rd hung Parliament (2010-13), the minority ALP Government lost many divisions, mostly on procedural matters and private members’ motions. The votes lost by the Government in 1962 were as follows: A closure motion on 21 August 1962 A closure motion on 3 October 1962 Opposition’s dissent from... Read more...

Working age population welfare dependence continues to fall

Relatively low unemployment rates and the effect of a series of changes to eligibility for some payments has seen the proportion of the working age population receiving income support continue to decline, since peaking at over 25% in 1994. Read more...