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FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Economic response to coronavirus—free child care

On 2 April 2020, the Government announced new funding arrangements for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on child care enrolments and attendance. The new arrangements make child care services fee-free for families. The changes took effect on 6 April 2020 and remain in place until 28 June 2020. The main changes were made via a legislative instrument: the Child Care Subsidy Amendment (Coronavirus Response Measures No. 2) Minister’s Rules 2020.  Read more...

Economic response to coronavirus—wage subsidies aim to put workplaces into hibernation

As governments around the world closed down bars, restaurants, universities, schools and sports fields to slow the spread of the coronavirus, policymakers faced the prospect of a wave of job losses and business failures. In an attempt to halt the job losses, policymakers in countries like Denmark and the United Kingdom announced wage subsidies to help employers keep workers on the books until the health crisis has passed. Read more...

COVID-19 and parliamentary sittings (current as at 2 April 2020)

A number of Parliaments, both in Australia and overseas, have made schedule and practice changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Parliament last sat on 23 March 2020 and is scheduled to return on 11 August 2020, although it has been reported that the Parliament will sit on 8 April to consider further COVID-19-related legislation. Prior to 23 March the Parliament had been scheduled to sit from 23–26 March and then 12–14 May. Read more...

Economic response to coronavirus—social security measures part 2: $750 lump sum payments

On 12 March 2020 the Australian Government announced an economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On 22 March 2020, the Australian Government announced a second package of measures. This FlagPost details the two $750 lump sum payments for recipients of certain social security and veterans’ payments and certain concession card holders announced in the first and second packages: one payment to be paid from 31 March 2020 and one payment to be paid from 13 July 2020. The second $750 payment will exclude some recipients of the first payment. This excluded group will instead receive a payment known as the Coronavirus Supplement or COVID-19 Supplement. A se... Read more...

Economic response to coronavirus—social security measures part 1: temporary supplement and improved access to income support

On 22 March 2020, the Australian Government announced a second package of measures as part of its economic response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This follows the first announcement of an economic stimulus package in response to the pandemic on 12 March 2020. This FlagPost details some of the social security measures announced as part of the second package. A separate FlagPost, Part 2, will detail the one-off payments for certain social security recipients announced in the Government’s first and second packages. Read more...

COVID-19 Human Biosecurity Emergency Declaration Explainer

On 18 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, the Governor-General declared that a human biosecurity emergency exists. The declaration gives the Minister for Health expansive powers to issue directions and set requirements in order to combat the outbreak. This is the first time these powers under the Biosecurity Act have been used.   Read more...

New pharmacy agreement due this year

With the current community pharmacy agreement expiring on 30 June 2020, a new agreement is being negotiated. The Australian Government pays approved pharmacists to supply Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) medicines to patients. For community pharmacists, the amount of remuneration is agreed between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (the Guild, representing the majority of pharmacy owners) and set out in successive five-year community pharmacy agreements. Read more...

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...

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