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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

Proposals for legalising cannabis in Australia

Senators David Leyonhjelm and Richard Di Natale have both recently made moves towards legalising at the Commonwealth level the use of cannabis for recreational purposes in Australia. They have done so for largely different reasons, and by advocating almost diametrically opposed approaches.   On the 9th of May, Senator Leyonhjelm introduced a Bill to the Parliament that would amend several Commonwealth acts under which cannabis is treated as a controlled drug with associated penalties. As such, the Bill would effectively remove Commonwealth barriers to the legalisation, regulation and taxation of cannabis. Currently, cannabis use for recreational purposes is illegal in all Australian jur... Read more...

What’s in a name: the redistributions of the 45th Parliament

With the announcement of the final boundaries for electorates in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the electoral redistributions of the 45th Parliament have now been completed. The addition of a seat each to Victoria and the ACT, and the loss of a seat in South Australia, will see 151 House of Representatives seats up for election at the next federal election—the largest number in the history of the Parliament. Read more...

New Bill to extend the Farm Household Allowance

On 19 June 2018, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud announced that the Government would extend the time-limit for receipt of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) from three to four years. The FHA is an income support payment, paid at the same rate as Newstart Allowance (or Youth Allowance if the recipient is aged under 22 years), which supports eligible farmers and their partners who are experiencing financial hardship. A Bill to extend the limit, the Farm Household Support Amendment Bill 2018, was introduced to the Parliament on 20 June 2018. Read more...

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion) Bill 2018

This Bill seeks to extend the Cashless Debit Card to the Federal electorate of Hinkler in Queensland, an area that includes Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. As well as specifying the location of the new trial site, the Bill sets out criteria that determine which income support recipients will be required to participate in the trial. It also sets out details of how the trial will be administered in the Hinkler trial site. The Bill also makes some changes that affect the Cashless Debit Card Scheme as a whole. It includes provisions that will ensure merchants are able to decline Cashless Debit Card transactions where the cardholder tries to use the card for gambling, alcohol, or gift ca... Read more...

Australia’s aid to North Korea: a short history and future issues

The prospect of a new global deal to halt and reverse the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs raises the question of what role Australia might play in supporting such an agreement. While remaining ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the likelihood of an effective and durable agreement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has stated in the wake of the recent ‘Singapore Summit’ that the Australian Government is assessing whether it could offer expertise to assist with the verification of any future North Korean actions to dismantle its nuclear capability. Read more...

Working out the numbers—Employment

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides monthly updates of labour force data, but what do these numbers mean and how are they interpreted? An earlier post provided background information on the Labour Force Survey. This article focuses on the key employment numbers and rates produced from that survey. Read more...

International film investment in Australia: the Location Incentive Funding Program

The Australian Government has recently announced funding of $140 million over four years from 2019–20 to establish the Location Incentive Funding Program. A total of $35 million will be made available each year to ‘attract international investment to sustain Australian jobs in the film production and related industries’. This money will be administered through a competitive incentive program and will support, on average, two to three large budget international productions each year. The new Location Incentive Funding Program will complement the Location Offset, one of three existing tax incentives for screen production introduced in the 2007–08 Budget by the Howard G... Read more...

Working out the numbers—the Labour Force Survey

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the country’s official statistical agency. They are responsible for running the five-yearly Census, but also for producing a range of other national data, including the monthly labour force. But, what do these figures mean and where do they come from? The focus of this piece is on the source of the data, the ABS Labour Force Survey. Future statistics FlagPosts will aim to explain some of the key numbers. Read more...

Health care homes: an update

Health Care Homes: an update In March 2016, the Government announced the Healthier Medicare package. The centrepiece was a trial of Health Care Homes (HCHs), an innovative model of health care to manage and coordinate care for patients with complex and chronic conditions. An estimated one in five Australians has two or more chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and arthritis. But their care is often fragmented and uncoordinated. The HCH trial involves enrolling 65,000 patients with complex and chronic conditions across some 200 medical practices (including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS)). Each practice, or HCH, is expected ... Read more...

Five leave the Parliament

On Wednesday 9 May the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, ruled that ACT senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible to be elected at the 2016 election due to British citizenship, and ordered a special count of the ballot papers in order to determine her replacement. Shortly after this judgement four more MPs announced their resignation from Parliament, likely triggering by-elections. This brings the total number of parliamentarians who have left the current Parliament due to ineligibility under the Australian Constitution to 17. Read more...

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