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Recent party defections: should there be a legal remedy?

Most Australian parliamentarians are affiliated with a political party. From time to time, however, parliamentarians change their party affiliation or sit as an independent while retaining the seat to which they were elected. In the 46th Parliament three parliamentarians changed party. This was fewer than the 45th Parliament when six parliamentarians changed: four of whom did so more than once (see Tables below). Read more...

Checking the fine print: committee scrutiny of annual reports

Checking the fine print: committee scrutiny of annual reports

It has been almost 50 years since Senate committees first began reviewing government department and agency annual reports. The overarching purpose of annual reports is to ‘inform the Parliament and the public about the achievements, performance and financial position of Commonwealth entities and companies at the end of each reporting year’. This Flagpost reflects on committees’ role in scrutinising annual reports and their less visible but important impact on promoting oversight and transparency.  Read more...

Queen Elizabeth II and the Federal Parliament

On 9 September 2022, the Australian flag above Parliament House was lowered to half-mast as a mark of mourning and respect for the death of Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. The Governor-General, David Hurley, Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, and Parliament's Presiding Officers have issued statements of condolence, reflecting on The Queen’s enduring leadership and lifetime of service. This Flagpost article highlights Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with the Australian Parliament and provides further information on the procedures and protocols upon ... Read more...

Sitting times and Standing Orders: recent changes in the House

In one of the first acts of the 47th Parliament, the Government proposed a series of changes to the House Standing Orders. These (currently 270) Standing Orders are rules which govern the operation and conduct of House business, as provided for in The Constitution (section 50). House Practice explains that ‘Standing orders are made and amended by motion moved on notice in the usual way’. While Standing Orders can be amended any time by passing a motion, it’s become the custom of incoming governments to review Standing Orders in the new parliament. This Flagpost article outlines the recent changes to Standing Orders and their various impacts. Read more...

Opening of the 47th Parliament

Opening of the 47th Parliament

Following the 21 May 2022 federal election, the newly appointed Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, stated that the new Parliament would first meet on 26 July 2022—106 days after the previous Parliament was dissolved. The opening of a new Parliament proceeds according to constitutional requirements, House of Representatives and Senate standing orders and resolutions, and long-standing ceremonial practices. This Flagpost article outlines and contextualises these aspects prior to the new parliament opening later this month. Read more...

Can you hear me? Remote participation in the Commonwealth Parliament
Courtesy of Auspic

Can you hear me? Remote participation in the Commonwealth Parliament

Being on mute, an interrupting pet, interesting camera angles, items in the background and technical issues are just a few examples of what parliamentarians have become accustomed to in order to continue business as usual during the coronavirus pandemic. This FlagPost uses a procedural lens to understand how remote participation was implemented and its lasting impact.  Read more...

Personal staff allocations to minor parties and independents

The newly elected crossbench has had their personal employee allocations reduced from 4 to 1, based on recent media reporting. The Government argues that the additional staffing for the crossbenchers is unfair to other backbenchers and a signal of budgetary restraint. This flagpost discusses the regulation and history of this staffing allocation. Read more...

The House divided

The majority of decisions by Members of the House of Representatives in the Australian parliament are usually made via an opaque but efficient voting process known as a vote on the voices. Read more...

The 120th anniversary of women's suffrage in Australia

Sunday 12 June 2022 marked 120 years since Australian women gained the right to vote in federal elections, following the passage of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 (Franchise Act). The Act extended the franchise to ‘persons not under twenty-one years of age whether male or female, married or unmarried’. The Act also gave women the right to stand as candidates in federal elections. With its passage, Australia became the first country in the world to give most women both the right to vote and the right to run for parliament. New Zealand women had gained the right to vote in 1893, but not the right to stand as candidates. Read more...

Trends in the gender composition of state and territory parliaments

How does the gender composition of Australian state and territory parliaments compare with that of the federal parliament? As of 1 January 2022, 39% of federal parliamentarians and 39% of state and territory parliamentarians were women. Over the past two decades, the proportion of women across state and territory parliaments has tracked closely with the proportion of women in the federal parliament. Women’s overall representation in state and territory parliaments has increased from 22% in 2001.   Read more...


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

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