FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Mitochondrial donation in Australia

On 24 March 2021, the Government introduced the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives. The Bill amends existing legislation to allow mitochondrial donation techniques to be used for research, training and human reproductive purposes. The overall aim is for women at risk of passing on mitochondrial disease, to have reproductive options for biological children without the increased risk of their child having mitochondrial disease. This FlagPost is a snapshot of the Bills Digest (due to be published shortly) and provides an overview of the key elements of mitochondrial donation and the Bill.  Read more...

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Neville Bonner's appointment to the Senate

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article contains an image and names of deceased persons. The eleventh of June 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Neville Bonner’s appointment to the Senate, when he filled a casual vacancy created by Dame Annabelle Rankin’s resignation to become Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand. A Jagera man, Mr Bonner went on to serve as a Senator for Queensland for over a decade until he was defeated in the 1983 federal election. Read more...

Employer use of publicly-funded employment services

In July 2022 the Government plans to roll out nationally a new form of employment services—the New Employment Services Model (NESM). The NESM is based largely on the recommendations of an independent review of the jobactive system, the final report of which was released in 2018. Under the NESM, which is currently being trialled in two locations, two different levels of service will be provided to job seekers, based on their assessed level of job readiness. The most job-ready and digitally literate of job seekers will self-service online while more disadvantaged job seekers—those with complex or multiple barriers to gaining employment—will recei... Read more...

Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021

On 13 May 2021, the Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives.  The purpose of the Bill is to extend the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption, which is currently in place until 30 June 2021, to 31 December 2021. The loan fee exemption was initially introduced as part of the Higher Education Relief Package in response to COVID-19.   Read more...

Special Recreational Vessels Amendment Bill 2021

The Special Recreational Vessels Amendment Bill 2021 (the Bill) extends the sunset date of the Special Recreational Vessels Act 2019 (the SRV Act) by two years, from 30 June 2021 to 30 June 2023. The Bill was introduced on 25 February 2021 and passed the Senate without debate on 18 March 2021. The Bill was subsequently introduced into the House of Representatives on 22 March 2021. The SRV Act allows special recreational vessels (also known as superyachts) to opt into the coastal trading licensing scheme for the first time.  Read more...

COVID-19 Human Biosecurity Emergency Declaration—India Travel Pause

On 30 April 2021, India had reported more than 300,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day for a week. After a risk assessment, the Government decided to implement a temporary pause on travellers from India entering Australian territory by air if the passenger had been in India within 14 days of the person’s intended arrival date in Australia.  Read more...

120th anniversary of the first sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament

The first sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament occurred in Melbourne on 9 May 1901. The Constitution of Australia had come into effect five months earlier, on 1 January 1901, in accordance with a proclamation made by Queen Victoria. In an inauguration ceremony held in Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia’s first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, was sworn in and then appointed Australia’s first ministry, led by Edmund Barton. The first federal election was held on 29 and 30 March 1901 to fill 75 House of Representatives and 36 Senate seats. Once this electoral process was complete, the Governor-General, by proclamation issued on 30 April 1901, appointed 12 noon, 9 May 19... Read more...

Migrant amnesties: what has Australia done in the past?

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted calls for a visa amnesty for migrants working irregularly in Australia. A look back at policy history shows that Australia has provided very few instances of any kind of migrant amnesty, whether for people in the country irregularly, visa overstayers, or people working in breach of their visa conditions. These instances were some decades ago, when the migration and visa systems were rather different from now. Read more...

Quotas for women in parliament

The issue of quotas for women in parliament is once again in the news, with motions to introduce quotas to be debated at upcoming Liberal Party state conferences in New South Wales and Victoria. An Essential Report poll published on 30 March 2021 found that 48 per cent of those polled supported political parties setting gender quotas for candidate selection (with 36 per cent opposed). The international experience of quotas Since the 1990s over one hundred countries have implemented political gender quotas, and by 2013 over half the world’s countries had adopted some form of quota, including by 2018, over twenty established democracies. Many countries have found quotas to be an effectiv... Read more...

The extraordinary story of Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean VC

On 1 December 2020, 78 years to the day, Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia ‘For the most conspicuous gallantry and a pre-eminent act of valour in the presence of the enemy during a Japanese aerial attack on HMAS Armidale in the Timor Sea on 1 December 1942’. This conclusion to the story of Sheean’s heroism was the result of a decades-long fight for recognition. Read more...

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

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