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

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Filter by August, 2010

Australian Government assistance to refugees

Despite claims made in a series of emails that have been widely circulated throughout Australia, refugees are not entitled to higher benefits than other social security recipients. In recent years, a series of emails have been widely circulated throughout Australia claiming to describe the social security entitlements of refugees, compared with those of other Australian residents.A common claim in these emails is that refugees in Australia receive higher social security benefits than age pensioners. Some also suggest that refugees receive free gifts such as houses. Claims of this kind are erroneous and appear to have caused some confusion in the community. They are often brought to the atten... Read more...

Indigenous Members of Parliament

The contest for the Western Australia seat of Hasluck is unusual in that three of the seven candidates are Aboriginal Australians: Dot Henry (Independent), Glenice Smith (Greens) and Ken Wyatt (Liberal).The Liberal candidate Ken Wyatt (pictured opposite) needs a swing of 1 per cent to win the seat from Labor member Sharryn Jackson and become the first Indigenous Member of the House of Representatives. Ken Wyatt told the Koori Mail (28 July 2010) that ‘there’s been this view that Aboriginal people are principally Labor Party oriented, but I think the three of us prove that we as a community are now starting to make our own political choices’.A breakdown of party representation of the twenty-t... Read more...

Building the Education Revolution

The Building the Education Revolution (BER) Implementation Taskforce today released its interim report, finding that while quality infrastructure has been delivered within the required timeframes, project costs in some areas have been substantially higher than would have been the case before the BER.The Taskforce was set up to examine complaints about BER projects and whether the projects are delivering 'value for money'. Its main focus has been the Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) element of the BER.The Taskforce found that many of the reported problems have to do with the BER's aim to provide quick economic stimulus as part of the Labor Government’s strategy to counter the effect... Read more...

Medibank Private dividend payment

Medibank Private is to pay the Government a special one-off dividend of $300 million according to this statement from the Treasurer.  This is ‘in recognition of Medibank Private Limited’s strong capital position’ due to the build up of its reserves during the period it was a not-for profit health insurer. The dividend will help fund Labor’s election promises. The Opposition’s Andrew Robb claims that the dividend payment must inevitably result in higher health insurance premiums for consumers. One likely meaure of the impact of this policy would be if premium increases were to rise above the five year average of 6.1 per cent. A number of factors influence annual premium rises which must be ap... Read more...

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