FlagPost

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

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Two cheers for democracy in Southeast Asia?: recent elections in Malaysia, the Philippines and Cambodia

As Australia approaches its own poll, 2013 has seen three national elections across Southeast Asia. This Flagpost outlines the results and the controversies, and possible implications for Australia’s regional engagement.MalaysiaMalaysia’s 5 May poll saw the return of the ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional—BN) coalition which won a plurality of seats (133 out of 222) over the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat—PR), despite recording the lowest-ever share of the popular vote (46.5%). Criticism of Malaysia’s electoral system and allegations of fraud involving foreign voters featured heavily in the campaign with PR’s leader, Anwar Ibrahim, leading a series of rallies protesting... Read more...

Who is bound by the World Anti-Doping Code?

The previous FlagPost in this series examined countries that have criminalised doping in sport. This FlagPost examines who is bound by the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), National Anti-Doping Scheme (NAD) and various anti-doping policies in Australia. Is it just athletes and coaches, or are other people, such as sports scientists, also bound?The legal basis for the enforcement of the Code in AustraliaThe Code operates as an agreement that is binding on its signatories, which includes various Olympic-movement and non-Olympic movement affiliated international sporting federations as well as Government-funded organisations such as ASADA.In Australia, the Code is adopted and implemented under the... Read more...

Segregated, stateless and at sea: Myanmar, the Rohingyas and Australia

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, will travel to Myanmar this week where he has stated he will raise the recent sectarian violence in Rakhine state, including the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority, with the President and the Foreign Minister. He has previously flagged that he may seek to personally visit Rakhine to assess the situation as part of this trip. Following two major outbreaks of violence in June and October 2012 which killed 192 people, the situation in Rakhine has been described as one that has descended into ‘a Burmese form of apartheid’ in which ‘Rohingyas are corralled into squalid, semi-permanent internal-refugee camps’. More recent episodes o... Read more...

ASIO security assessments of asylum seekers

Recent media reporting and questioning in the May Budget Estimates hearings have again focused attention on security processes relevant to the processing of asylum seekers, with one particular case leading the Prime Minister to direct an Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security inquiry into ‘the management of [by] Australian government agencies of persons seeking asylum who present complex security issues’. ASIO’s security assessment role The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) performs security assessments for other Australian Government agencies for several different purposes: visa security assessments, which assess whether an appl... Read more...

Is doping in sport a crime? (doping in sports pt. 5)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored the dual use of evidence in both sports tribunals and criminal proceedings.Whilst it is commonly understood that doping is prohibited in sport, is it also a criminal offence? This FlagPost examines the circumstances in which an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) is also a crime in Australia and the sanctions imposed by the criminal justice system for those offences.  The Criminal Justice SystemUnlike a number of other countries, Australia does not have any sports-specific legislation creating criminal offences specifically relating to doping in sport. However, the Commonwealth, states and territories have all enacted legislation which criminalises... Read more...

Proving doping: the ADRV enforcement process and the role of sporting tribunals (doping in sports pt. 3)

The previous FlagPost in this series explored what constitutes doping under the World Anti-Doping Code (the WADC) and the standard of proof required to prove Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).   This FlagPost examines what happens once a possible ADRV is detected, either through evidence collected as part of an investigation or as a result of an adverse analytical finding (the detection of the presence of a substance or the use of a method on the Prohibited List in a sample provided by an athlete). So how is an ADRV proved and prosecuted? For all Australian sports that have adopted the WADC, ADRVs are primarily prosecuted in a sporting tribunal, which is ad... Read more...

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...

National Close the Gap Day

Closing the gap developed out of the call in Tom Calma’s Social justice report 2005 for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Indigenous people in health and life expectancy within 25 years. In March 2006 some non-government agencies came together to develop a National Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and in April 2007 a Close the gap campaign was launched.In December 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing some key gaps and in March 2008 many government and non-government delegates to a National Indigenous Health Equality Summit signed a statement of intent. In July 2008 the Rudd Government established the National Indigenous Health Equ... Read more...

‘Ice’ and other amphetamine-type stimulants: international and Australian trends

On 28 February, the Joint Organised Crime Group (comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police, NSW Crime Commission, Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs)) announced it had seized 585 kilograms of ice in Sydney, an Australian record for a single seizure of the drug. The second largest seizure also occurred recently, with 306 kilograms seized by the AFP and Customs in July 2012. This FlagPost puts these seizures in context by examining some recent international and Australian findings on ice and related illicit drugs.What is ice?Ice is a street name for the crystalline form of methamphetamine (other street names incl... Read more...

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