FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Proscription of Hizballah: a change in the UK and how Australia compares

The United Kingdom has expanded its proscription of Hizballah from just the military wing to include the whole organisation, effective from 1 March 2019. The Home Secretary stated that he hoped Australia and New Zealand would be listening carefully, and that he would raise the matter at the Five Eyes ministerial to be held in the UK later this year. This FlagPost outlines the bans in place in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK, the UK Government’s rationale for the recent change, and the Australian Government’s response. Read more...

Australia and the Global Compact on Migration

In December 2018, 164 countries adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (the Compact) in Marrakech, Morocco. Australia was one of 17 countries to either vote against or abstain from the Compact at the United Nations General Assembly vote on 19 December 2018. This FlagPost outlines the development of the Compact and explores why Australia abstained from the vote. Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2017–18

The Department of Education and Training (DET) has released Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) data, updating last year’s release from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The DET HELP data is based on the ATO's annual HELP data report for 2017–18 (available from Data.gov.au), and previous ATO annual HELP data reports. Further historical data is available in the ATO 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 $62.0 billion, up from $54.0 billion in 2016–17. Figure 1: Tot... Read more...

How hackable are Australian federal elections

Recent revelations that a ‘sophisticated’ foreign power had hacked computers in the Australian parliament and major Australian political parties, only months before an expected federal election, raises questions as to how vulnerable Australian elections are to hacking. Read more...

International Women's Day 2019

On Friday 8 March people around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. UN Women’s global theme for International Women’s Day 2019, ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’, links with the UN Commission on the Status of Women’s focus on social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure. Read more...

Governor-General Amendment (Salary) Bill 2019

The Governor-General Amendment (Salary) Bill 2019 (the Bill) was introduced in the House of Representatives on 14 February 2019 by the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and passed on 20 February 2019. The Bill seeks to amend the Governor-General Act 1974 to set the salary for the incoming Governor-General. Read more...

Government defeat in the House of Representatives on 12 February 2019

On 12 February 2019 the House of Representatives considered amendments made by the Senate to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 (the Home Affairs Bill). The Government strongly opposed the Senate amendments, which sought to give greater weight to medical opinion when determining whether a medical evacuation from a regional processing country should occur, and attempted to prevent them from being considered by the House. However, as the Senate amendments were supported by the Opposition and a number of crossbench members, the Government unsuccessfully tried to stop the House from considering them, with further amendments being decided following negotiati... Read more...

Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019

Income management in Cape York and the cashless debit card trials in all of the current cashless debit card sites except Bundaberg and Hervey Bay are set to end on 30 June 2019. The Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019 (the Bill) extends income management in Cape York and the expiring cashless debit card trial sites until 30 June 2020 (the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay trial already has an end date of 30 June 2020). The Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, announced a 12 month extension of the Cashless Debit Card in the Ceduna region (South Australia), the East Kimberley region (Western Australia) and the Goldfields reg... Read more...

National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Worker Screening Database) Bill 2019

On 13 February 2019, the Australian Government introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Worker Screening Database) Bill 2019 (the Bill) into the House of Representatives. The Bill seeks to amend the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) to establish a database for nationally consistent worker screening for the purposes of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Read more...

Australia's first Parliament: Her Majesty's loyal opposition

With the news in December 1900 that Governor-General Lord Hopetoun had invited Edmund Barton to form a protectionist ministry, George Reid assumed the mantle of de facto leader of the Free Traders and, therefore, of the official Opposition.[1] Reid’s task was a difficult one, as he later observed: The prestige attaching to such an able collection of Ministerial talent was enhanced by a general desire to give the first Ministry of Australia a fair trial. As a Ministry, it had no past and a flying start.[2] Barton and his ministry were able to hold office prior to any election by operation section 64 of the Constitution. Sworn into office on 1 January 1901, Barton’s interim minist... Read more...

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