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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 April, 2013

What is doping in sport? (doping in sports pt. 2)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored the reasons why particular substances and methods are included on the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List (the WADC Prohibited List) and hence banned in sport. This FlagPost examines the legal definition of ‘doping’ in sport provided by the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code).So what is doping? Since the turn of the 20th century the term ‘doping’ has referred to the practice of enhancing performance through artificial means, such as the use of foreign substances. However doping is not (and has not been for many years) confined to the return of a positive test result for substances or methods on the WADC Prohibited List. Doping includes a variety... Read more...

The Prohibited List (doping in sports pt.1)

The February 2012 Australian Crime Commission report into Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport has resulted in ongoing significant media attention and public interest in issues surrounding the supply, distribution and use of drugs in sport, and what might be done to combat doping in sports more generally. As recent incidents involving Essendon AFL and the Cronulla and Manly NRL football clubs demonstrate, there can be confusion about the nature of supplements or drugs, and whether they are banned in sport and/or are illegal and/or are regulated under other rules. This is especially true when it is the class of substances or methods that is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) Pro... Read more...

Global asylum trends 2012: how does Australia compare?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently released its latest report on the number of asylum applications lodged in the 44 industrialised countries that provide statistics to the UNHCR.The 2012 report, Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries, recorded the second highest number of applications this decade with 479 300 asylum applications lodged (the highest level was in 2003 when there were 505 000 applications). Afghanistan remained the main country of origin of asylum-seekers in 2012, followed by Syria with a 191 per cent increase in asylum claims.The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted that both new (Syria) and old (Afghanistan) con... Read more...

World Health Day: highlighting blood pressure

World Health Day, marking the establishment of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is celebrated on 7 April each year. It was on this day that the WHO was established in 1948. To mark World Health Day, the WHO nominates a priority area of global public health as the theme for World Health Day: this year the theme is controlling high blood pressure. According to WHO, high blood pressure (also called hypertension) affects more than one in three adults worldwide. Complications from high blood pressure—including heart attack and stroke—account for more than 9 million deaths worldwide every year.Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood on the walls of arteries. It is commonly expressed as a r... Read more...

Announcements end superannuation budget speculation?

Following recent media speculation about possible changes to superannuation in the upcoming 2013–14 Budget and concerns about the inequity of tax concessions for superannuation, on 5 April 2013 the Government announced a range of measures to superannuation tax, contribution and age pension arrangements. The Government’s overall intent in making these changes was to ‘improve the fairness, sustainability and efficiency of the superannuation system’. So what are the major changes proposed by the Government and how do they contribute to fairness?In general, arguments about ‘fairness’ in the superannuation system primarily stem from concerns that superannuation tax arrangements allow higher incom... Read more...

ABS public consultation on topics for the 2016 Census

Under the Census and Statistics Act 1905, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is required to conduct a Census of Population and Housing every five years. The next one is scheduled for August 2016 and planning is already well underway. An extensive review of topics collected in the Census is being undertaken to ensure that the data collected remains relevant to contemporary Australia.According to the ABS, ‘the review aims to optimise data relevance, whilst also considering the decreasing need for any current topics. As a result of this review, it is expected that some topics may be removed from the Census and that others may be included on a 10 yearly cycle’. Demand for new topics is ex... Read more...

Creative Australia : National Cultural Policy 2013

On 13 March 2013, the former Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, launched the National Cultural Policy — Creative Australia— the successor to Creative Nation delivered by Paul Keating in 1994. As the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, stated, the policy is ‘a fresh expression of the values and priorities that will sustain Australia as a richly creative society in the 21st century’. It ‘continues the spirit of engagement with the arts embraced by my predecessors Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating, and affirms the centrality of the arts to our national identity, social cohesion and economic success’. The much anticipated release of Creative Australia has been long awaited with the policy being develop... Read more...

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