Filter by May, 2022

Trends in the gender composition of state and territory parliaments

How does the gender composition of Australian state and territory parliaments compare with that of the federal parliament? As of 1 January 2022, 39% of federal parliamentarians and 39% of state and territory parliamentarians were women. Over the past two decades, the proportion of women across state and territory parliaments has tracked closely with the proportion of women in the federal parliament. Women’s overall representation in state and territory parliaments has increased from 22% in 2001.   Read more...

Is Australia set to return to current account deficit due to weaker exports?

Australia’s current account balance is forecast by the Treasury to go into deficit in the 2022–23 financial year. The current account records the value of the flow of goods, services and income between Australian residents and the rest of the world. The Treasury’s budget modelling indicates that the projected current account deficit will be driven by weaker global demand for Australian exports and a fall in commodity prices. Read more...

What's new in Statistics . . . June 2022

What’s new in statistics . . . June Read more...

Digital Identity system

During the recent election campaign, some minor parties (for example Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the United Australia Party) advocated against proposed digital identity legislation. The Digital ID system was initiated by the Coalition Government in 2015 as a ‘safe, secure and convenient way to prove who you are every time you access government online services … entirely voluntary and controlled by you’. In October 2021 an exposure draft of a Trusted Digital Identity Bill 2021 was circulated, but the Bill was not introduced before Parliament was prorogued in April 2022. The Coalition’s 2022 election commitments included ‘expansion of the Digital Identi... Read more...

Australian Government funding for university medical places
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Australian Government funding for university medical places

As the gateway to the medical profession, medical schools have a role in addressing a range of issues in Australian health policy, including persistent geographical inequalities in access, and shortages in specialisations such as psychiatry. Recent policy, including a limited redistribution of university medical places in favour of regional universities, has focused on redistributing existing resources to address chronic geographical shortages. However, on 5 May 2022, the Group of Eight (Go8) universities attracted attention with the release of a paper arguing that 1,000 additional medical places are needed to secure the pipeline of medical professionals. This FlagPost explains Australian ... Read more...

Diplomatic expulsions from Australia

In a joint statement on 7 April 2022, the Labor Opposition Leader, Anthony Albanese, and the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, called on the Morrison Government to act ‘in lockstep with European partners’ and expel Russian diplomats from Australia in response to ‘the reported atrocities’ and ‘sickening abuses’ by Russian forces in Ukraine. The Government’s consistent position has been that it is important to keep lines of communication open, but that the issue remains under review and expulsion remains an option. Outlined below are some recent past examples of diplomats from different countries who were expelled from Australia. Read more...

The People's Liberation Army engages with New Zealand
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The People's Liberation Army engages with New Zealand

On 21 January 2022, a report appeared on the website of the Chinese embassy in New Zealand noting that, on 19 January, General Li Zuocheng, chief of the Joint Staff Department under China’s Central Military Commission, had held talks via video link with Andrew Bridgman, New Zealand’s Secretary of Defence. Li Zuocheng is an influential PLA officer and is the official to whom US General Milley spoke just before the 2020 US presidential election and, again, after the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot. Li was also a participant in the 2019 China-Japan talks to de-escalate the Senkaku/Diaoyutai dispute, and the officer with whom outgoing UK Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, ... Read more...

60th anniversary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens being granted the right to vote in Federal elections

On 21 May 2022, Australians will go to the polls to vote for the next government. The date is also the 60th anniversary of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being granted the right to vote in federal elections. Receiving Royal Assent on 21 May 1962, the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1962 granted all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the option to enrol and vote in federal elections. However, it was not until 1984 that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were included with other eligible electors under compulsory enrolment requirements. Read more...

Candidate eligibility for federal elections

With less than a week remaining in the federal election campaign, there have been multiple instances of candidates facing eligibility issues. Section 44 of the Constitution lists five grounds that disqualify a person from ‘being chosen or sitting’ as a senator or member: allegiance to or citizenship of a foreign power; being convicted of offences punishable by imprisonment for a year or more; bankruptcy; holding an office of profit under the Crown; and having a pecuniary interest in an agreement with the Public Service. The High Court has ruled that these disqualifications apply from the time of nomination, not election. Since 2016, 18 sitting parliamentarians have been found to ... Read more...

Pandemics and attempts to reform the WHO

An issue that has arisen on the campaign trail is whether there is a need to strengthen the World Health Organization’s (WHO) role in responding to pandemics, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. This Flagpost will explain key reforms currently under negotiation and the potential impact on Australia’s public health prevention, preparedness and response measures.  Read more...

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

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