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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

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...

Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018

The Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018 (the Bill) amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) to give the Governor-General the discretion to appoint a second Deputy Chairperson of ASIC. Read more...

The pros and cons of pill testing

Last weekend saw Australia’s first state government sanctioned pill testing trial at the Groovin the Moo music festival in Canberra. Noffs Foundation chief executive, Matt Noffs, who is a member of the Safety and Testing and Advisory Service at Festivals and Events (STA-SAFE) consortium, suggested that the trial was a success in terms of reducing harms to festival attendees. In recent years, there have been a number of deaths in Australia as a result of toxic quality pills being consumed at music festivals and nightclubs, as well as party drug-related overdoses. In response, public health experts and other commentators have promoted pill testing as an intervention that should be intro... Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released new data, including updated information on Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) debts. The HELP data in the Taxation Statistics 2015–16 (available from Data.gov.au) is contained in Tables 20–22. Although the release primarily relates to the 2015–16 financial year, HELP is one of the programs for which data for 2016–17 is also included. 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 $54.0 billion for the 2016–17 financial year, $9... Read more...

Snapshot of employment by industry, 2018

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases quarterly estimates of employed people by industry (in their main job, where a person holds more than one job) in the publication Labour Force, detailed, quarterly, cat. no. 6291.0.55.003. Data is available since November 1984, with the most recent data being February 2018. The next available data (May 2018) will be released on 21 June 2018.  Read more...

Radical ideas—the jobs guarantee

Once considered too radical to be taken seriously, ideas like the universal basic income (UBI) have now become part of mainstream debate. The most recent radical idea to enter the mainstream in the US is the jobs guarantee. Rather than offering unemployed and underemployed workers job-finding programs or training opportunities, under the jobs guarantee, the government would offer them actual jobs. A number of high profile Democrats have gotten behind the idea and it’s being debated in the pages of respectable publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Newsweek, and Vox. The jobs guarantee is an unashamedly political idea. In a piece for the Nation, Se... Read more...

’Fighting for funding’: where to next for the NDIS?

The Government has announced that it will not proceed with its proposed 0.5 percentage point increase to the Medicare levy. The increase in the levy was to have raised $8 billion over four years and to be used in part to assist with funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Bill to introduce the increase was opposed by Labor, which said it would only support it for people earning over $87,000 per year. This FlagPost looks at the implications of the decision not to proceed with the Medicare levy increase for the funding of the NDIS.  Read more...

Changes to the Assurance of Support scheme

The Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, recently made changes to the Assurance of Support (AoS) scheme which will have a significant impact on those seeking to help family members migrate to Australia. An AoS is an assurance from an Australian resident that they will take financial responsibility for a new migrant during a set period, and will repay any social security payments received by the migrant during the period. The changes to the scheme will mean that there are much higher income requirements for those offering assurances. A spokesperson for the Minister stated that ‘the change will ensure Australia’s social security system remains sustainable’. Read more...

China’s policing assistance in the Pacific: a new era?

While there has been renewed discussion and debate surrounding China’s infrastructure assistance to Pacific nations over the last several months, less attention has been paid to China’s growing policing and law enforcement presence in the region. While still in its early stages, this presence spans several of the Pacific Island countries which recognise the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and, in some cases, has expanded beyond the provision of facilities and equipment to include training, secondments and joint operations. Read more...

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