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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 December, 2017

Whither the private health insurance rebate?

The private health insurance rebate is an important element in maintaining the attractiveness of private health insurance membership. The government rebate subsidises the cost of private health insurance premiums (hospital, general, and ambulance policies). It is usually applied in the form of an upfront discount to the consumer on the price of the premium, although it can be claimed back through the tax system. The rebate amount varies, depending on income levels and age. In 2017–18, the federal government expects to spend around $6.4 billion on the rebate, according to Budget Paper no. 1 (p. 6-21). The rebate was introduced by the Howard Government in the late 1990s, as one of a sui... Read more...

The Life Assurance Companies Act 1905: the first private members’ bill to pass the Parliament

On 7 December 2017, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedom) Bill 2017 became only the 29th private senators’ or members’ bill to be passed into law by the Federal Parliament. (Issues surrounding the passage of such bills are covered in a recent Library FlagPost, together with a list of the previous 28 private members’ or senators’ bills to have been enacted.) Read more...

New waiting periods for migrants to access social security and family assistance payments

The 2017–18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) includes three measures limiting access to welfare for new migrants to Australia: introducing a three-year waiting period before new residents can access Family Tax Benefit, Paid Parental Leave and Carer Allowance extending the existing Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period that applies to some working-age payments such as Newstart and Youth Allowance from two years to three and extending the Assurance of Support requirement for family visas (where a person agrees to be financially responsible for a new migrant) from two-years to three. The measures are intended to commence 1 July 2018 and will save an estimated $1... Read more...

Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper: what role for the Parliament?

The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, launched by the Government on 23 November, places a strong emphasis on the role of values and institutions in shaping Australia’s international outlook and interests. It states:  Read more...

What's the buzz about bees?

There’s been a lot of attention given to European honey bees (Apis mellifera) recently. Even the Federal Parliament has got into the act, introducing bee hives to Parliament House in March and celebrating the first honey harvest this month. But why should we care about European honey bees? Do they really affect our lives in any meaningful way?  Read more...

International Anti-Corruption Day

The ninth of December is International Anti-Corruption Day. This FlagPost reviews some recent developments and commitments across the Australian anti-corruption landscape. Read more...

The passage of private members’ and senators’ bills through the Parliament

If, as is expected, Senator Dean Smith’s private senator’s bill, the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedom) Bill 2017, passes the House of Representatives, it will be only the 29th private senators’ or members’ bill to be passed into law by the federal Parliament since Federation. Read more...

Use of 2016 Census data to inform on electorate level employment

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released additional results from the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. This includes information about people who work: where they work; who they work for; what type of work they do; their hours of work; and how they travel to and from work. The Census release also provides data on people who were studying or had completed a non-school qualification, those who did any unpaid work, and information on population mobility. The focus of this article is on employment.  Read more...

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