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

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Women in Australian parliaments

Across Australia women continue to be significantly under-represented in parliament and executive government, comprising less than one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers. The Parliamentary Library has recently published an updated research paper, Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014. It presents the latest data on women serving in Australian vice-regal, government and parliamentary leadership positions, ministries and parliamentary committees, as well as presenting an overview of female candidates in previous Commonwealth elections. Whilst the focus of the paper is on the Commonwealth Parliament, it includes comparative information about women in... Read more...

Women in Australian parliaments
By User:JimOwensPMP (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Women in Australian parliaments

A Parliamentary Library publication, Women parliamentarians in Australia 1921 ̶ 2013 written by Janet Wilson and David Black, has been updated to include women elected to federal, state and territory parliaments to 31 December 2013. Part 1 consists of tables listing all women elected to Commonwealth, State and Territory parliaments since 1921. The lists are presented in chronological order of election and include the age at which the women took their seats, their party affiliation, electoral district represented, dates of service, and the way in which their period of service ended (whether they were defeated, retired, resigned, disqualified or died). Part 1 also includes a table showing wo... Read more...

'That's it, you're out': disorderly conduct in the House of Representatives

On Wednesday 11 December 2013, 10 Labor MPs were ordered to withdraw from the House of Representatives for one hour ('sin binned') by the Speaker, the Hon Bronwyn Bishop. Seven of these were during Question Time, two during a motion to suspend standing orders which occurred at the end of this period and one during a ministerial statement later in the evening. Each 'sin binning' occurred during questions and debate about the automotive industry.As many as this may seem, it is not the most number of ejections in a single day nor during Question Time. The greatest number of members ‘sin binned’ on a single day (11) occurred on 2 November 2005. Speaker David Hawker ordered out eight Labor member... Read more...

Legislation and the financial initiative: what happened to the Opposition amendments to the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills?

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and other related Bills passed the House of Representatives on 21 November 2013 with no amendments. While this is not an unusual occurrence, what is notable is that Opposition amendments to the package of bills were not debated during the consideration-in-detail stage.The Speaker, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, made a ruling prior to the commencement of the consideration-in-detail stage of the Bills, that the amendments could contravene standing orders 179(a) and 179(b):179. Taxation proposals initiated by Minister(a) Only a Minister may initiate a proposal to impose, increase, or decrease a tax or duty, or change the scope of any charge. ... Read more...

Tweeting from the Chamber

On 12 March 2013, the Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne asked Speaker Anna Burke to make a ruling on a tweet by Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons during question time, asking for the Member to withdraw. Steve Gibbons‏@SteveGibbonsMPLooks like @tonyabbottmhr has contracted out his nasty side to interjector's in the public gallery. A new low even for the Libs!Mr Gibbons had tweeted this after two people had been ejected from the public gallery in succession, for interjecting during Question Time.The question about MPs' use of twitter in the chamber is one that has become increasingly common amongst legislatures around the world. The debate ranges from those opposed to the use of ... Read more...

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Indigenous federal voting rights

It is 100 years since the right and responsibility to enrol to vote became enshrined in Australian law and 50 years since all Indigenous Australians became entitled to vote in federal elections. (Some, but not all, adult Indigenous Australians, were able to vote prior to 1962.) Celebrations are in order.  In March 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was amended to enable Indigenous people to enrol to vote in federal elections, but it was not compulsory for them to enrol. It was made an offence for anyone to use undue influence or pressure to induce them to enrol. Once they enrolled, however, voting was compulsory. The story of Indigenous enfranchisement is a long and complex one. There ... Read more...

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