Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament
The International Court of Justice recently ruled that Japan stop its scientific whaling program in the Antarctic. The Court found that the whale killing undertaken by Japan was not “for purposes of scientific research” as defined by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. However, the Court found that scientific research on whales can include lethal methods provided that the size of the “lethal sampling…is reasonable in relation to achieving the programme’s stated research objectives”.
The varying nature of insults and their context, along with a question as to whose standards they should be judged against is discussed in the Parliamentary Library’s recently issued Research Paper ‘The Attorney-General’s suggested changes to the Racial Discrimination Act’. One of the changes proposed by the Attorney-General would change the standards by which insults are to be evaluated. The law as it stands takes into account the perspective of the racially distinct person being insulted when considering the impact of that insult, whereas the proposed changes would confine judges to considering the ‘ordinary, reasonable’ Australian with no reference to a... Read more...
There has been considerable discussion about the increasing Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debt that students are likely to accrue as a result of changes proposed in the recent Budget. One group of students will not feel the impact of these increased debt levels—those who die before they repay the debt. There are reports that the Government is considering changing this, although it has been denied by the Prime Minister. Read more...
On 28 May, the Parliamentary Library hosted a public lecture by Gary Oakley, the Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial. Mr Oakley’s ongoing research into Aboriginal service during the First World War painted an absorbing picture of the experiences of Aboriginals serving in the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) as well as dispelling a number of preconceptions. Read more...
Since the report of the National Commission of Audit and the handing down of the government’s Budget 2014‒15, media coverage has highlighted measures that will reduce the number of government bodies and the number of public servants. Less well-known is that, from 1 July 2014, the financial and reporting framework applicable to government bodies will undergo its most comprehensive overhaul since 1998.
The foundation of the new framework is the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act), which must come into effect on 1 July 2014, replacing the the FMA Act and the the CAC Act. However, implementation of the PGPA framework from 1 July will require the... Read more...
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