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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

Winter Warmth

This year, Australia experienced one of its warmest and driest winters in over a hundred years of recorded weather. The warmth has affected more than just thermometers and weather enthusiasts, with everyone from farmers to electricity suppliers feeling the effects. Read more...

Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey map

The Parliamentary Library has produced a high-resolution poster-sized map of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey results by electorate.  Read more...

What next for the refugees and failed asylum seekers on Manus Island?

The Australian-funded regional processing centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG), is due to close next week on 31 October. This will bring to an end, after five years, the Australian Government practice of offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island (the processing centre on Nauru remains open however). With less than a week until its closure, over 600 men remain in the processing centre. Most of these have been found to be refugees (141 have been found not to be refugees). Their options , according to Australian officials, are to resettle in PNG, transfer to Nauru and hope for resettlement in the USA, or return to the country from which they fled.  Read more...

100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba

The thirty-first of October 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba during the First World War. On this day in 1917, the cavalry charge of the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade broke through Turkish defences to capture the town of Beersheba. This was of great strategic importance as it cleared the way for the British to advance on Gaza, which they had failed to capture on two previous occasions during 1917. Read more...

An Odd Couple? International trade and immigration policy

The recently concluded negotiations to amend the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement expanded exemptions for Singaporean citizens from a prominent Australian immigration regulation, labour market testing (advertising jobs in the context of hiring temporary migrants). According to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties Report 172, ‘Both Australia and Singapore have agreed to waive labour market testing for installers and servicers, investors/independent executives and contractual service suppliers.’ But what does immigration policy have to do with international trade agreements in the first place? Read more...

The main reasons people left or lost a job

  The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the 2017 estimates from their survey of Participation, job search and mobility. The survey provides information on people who worked at some time in the 12 months ended February 2017 and their experiences of the labour market. People who ceased a job during this period are asked to select their main reason for stopping work from a list of voluntary and involuntary reasons. These reasons can be cross-classified by demographic characteristics, as well as employment characteristics. Read more...

World Vision, Gaza and Hamas: aid diversion case still unresolved

On 4 August 2016, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced that Mohammad El Halabi, World Vision’s Gaza branch director, had confessed to diverting the NGO’s funds and resources to ‘benefit Hamas’ terrorist and military activities’. He had been arrested two months earlier by Israeli security forces. The MFA also stated: ‘more than half of World Vision’s resources in the Gaza Strip—originating in aid money from Western states such as the United States, England and Australia—were transferred to Hamas to strengthen its terrorist arm’.  Read more...

Australia takes a seat at the UN Human Rights Council

On 16 October 2017, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly elected 15 new members to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, including, for the first time, Australia. For the next three years (as of 1 January 2018) Australia will work alongside countries like Afghanistan, Angola, Congo and Pakistan to uphold human rights around the world. Australia was expected to contest one of the two vacant seats against Spain and France in the Group of Western European and other States. But in mid-July the French withdrew their candidacy. As such, Australia and Spain were elected unopposed. Read more...

Voting by the crossbench in the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 45th Parliament

30 August 2017 marked the completion of the first year of the 45th Parliament. In that time there has been continuing interest in the voting records of the Independent parliamentarians and minor parties in both Houses, particularly in the Senate where the Government requires eight out of the 19 crossbench votes (including the seven Australian Greens)  to pass legislation. The Parliamentary Library has compiled some statistics on the voting records of the minor parties and Independent MPs in both Houses in that time.  Read more...

100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood

Today—26 September 2017—is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Polygon Wood, which took place in Belgium. This battle was part of the wider ‘Third Battle of Ypres’ campaign on the Western Front, which occurred from July to November 1917. In his official account of the war, historian Charles Bean recorded that 5,744 Australians were killed during the Battle of Polygon Wood, in which Allied forces reportedly captured less than four square miles of ground. Five of the Australian contingent who served at Polygon Wood went on to become federal parliamentarians: Charles Brand, Harold ‘Pompey’ Elliot, John McCallum, William Spoone... Read more...

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