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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 May, 2013

Raoul Wallenberg (4 August 1912–17 July 1947 (?))—Australia’s first posthumous Honorary Citizen

On 6 May 2013 the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, will bestow Australia’s first posthumous Honorary Citizenship award to a former Swedish diplomat, Raoul Wallenberg. In a covert diplomatic operation involving hundreds of people, Wallenberg was credited with saving tens of thousands of Jewish people from the Nazi concentration camps in occupied Hungary during the Second World War by issuing them with a Swedish Government protective travel document known as ‘the Schutzpass’. Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on 17 January 1945 and was reported to have died while in prison on 17 July 1947. He has already been granted posthumous honorary citizenship by the United States... Read more...

A short history of increases to the Medicare levy

The Government is proposing to introduce legislation during budget week to raise the Medicare levy by 0.5% in order to help fund DisabilityCare, the name of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme. This recent Flagpost outlined some of the reasons for securing funding for the scheme. The Medicare levy has been increased a number of times, and there have also been occasions where an increase has been proposed in order to fund other proposals. The Medicare levy is used to help fund Australia's national health insurance scheme, Medicare and is currently set at 1.5% of taxable income (with exemptions for those on low incomes and aged pensioners). Funds raised by the levy go into general gov... Read more...

Health spending: patients bearing higher costs

Recent reports have highlighted the growing cost of health services and the increasing financial burden on individuals. According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Australia spent more than $130 billion on health in 2010–11, or around 9.3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Around 70% of this was spending by Government—the Commonwealth and the states and territories combined, through programs such as Medicare, public hospital services and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). But a significant and growing component of health expenditure comes from individuals. Australians paid $24.3 billion out-of-pocket on purchasing health goods and services in 2010–11. ... Read more...

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