FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

The legal machinery underlying Machinery of Government changes

On 1 February 2020 substantial Machinery of Government (MoG) changes announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 5 December 2019 will take effect. The changes will reduce the number of departments from 18 to 14 with five departmental secretaries losing their positions. The announcement was followed by the release on 13 December of the final report of the Thodey review of the APS together with the Government’s response. This flagpost examines the administrative and legal structures that operate when a government makes MoG changes. ‘Departments’ and the rest The changes apply to the 18 departments that constitute the ‘Departments of State’, but the ‘public... Read more...

Edmund Barton - 100 years on

Sir Edmund Barton’s death on 7 January 1920 ended one of the most distinguished and significant careers of any Australian in public life, spanning state and federal parliamentary service, over 16 years on the inaugural High Court bench and a leading role ushering in Australia’s Federation.  Read more...

PISA versus NAPLAN—a difference of questions?

The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results showed a significant decline in the performance of Australian 15 year olds over time since PISA testing began in 2000. However, the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) for Year 9 students—who are a similar age—have shown a slight improvement in equivalent subjects since testing commenced in 2008. So why the difference? It might be because of how the questions are asked.  Read more...

Measuring overlap between the unemployed and people 'on the dole'

The release of 2017–18 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Income and Housing has enabled the update of a 2014 Venn diagram, depicting people who received Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance by their unemployment status. The diagram highlights the large number of people on these payments who are not defined by the ABS as unemployed. This new data builds on the material provided in ‘The unemployed and recipients of government unemployment benefits – differences explained’ (Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014). This information also helps to demonstrate the care required when interpreting ‘job seeker’ data, as this term... Read more...

The 2019 Australian Election Study

The results of the Australian Election Study (AES) for the 2019 federal election have now been released, providing valuable insights into why Australians voted how they did. Read more...

Mapping Social Cohesion—2019 Scanlon Survey results

The annual Mapping Social Cohesion report by the Scanlon Foundation provides survey results on Australians’ attitudes to social issues including population, immigration and multiculturalism. The 2019 report is the twelfth in the series, building on survey data collected since 2007. Read more...

Farm Household Support Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2019

On 27 November 2019, the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, introduced the Farm Household Support Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2019 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives. The Bill makes changes to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) income and asset tests, to the requirements that apply to those conducting farm financial assessments and to the FHA activity supplement. Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2018–19

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released new data on the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) debts. This FlagPost summarises the ATO HELP data. Previous versions were published for the 2017–18 financial year release, and the 2016–17 financial year release.   All figures are at 30 June for the relevant financial year. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.  Total amount of outstanding HELP debt This release updates the total amount of outstanding HELP debt to nearly $67.0 billion in 2018–19, up from $62.0 billion in 2017–18. Figure 1: Total amount of outstanding HELP debt 2009–10 to 2018–19 financial years ($... Read more...

Defence Service Homes Amendment Bill 2018

The Defence Service Homes Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into the Senate on 19 September 2019 and seeks to amend the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 to expand eligibility for coverage under the Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme. Read more...

Causes of death, 2018

Recently the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the 2018 Causes of Death (cat no. 3303.0) report which provided detailed information on the number and nature of deaths in Australia in 2018. According to the ABS report: In 2018, there were 158,493 registered deaths in Australia and the number one cause was Ischaemic heart disease with 17,533 deaths (11 per cent of all deaths). Even though the leading cause, the age-standardised death rate from Ischaemic heart disease has decreased by 22.4 per cent since 2009, consistent with declines in heart disease mortality observed now for more than 50 years. Read more...

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