Filter by March, 2022

What’s new in statistics . . . April

This month: women and property, road accidents involving heavy vehicles and poverty in Australia. Statistics releases in April 2022 If you are interested in any of the forthcoming releases or datasets, please contact the Parliamentary Library to discuss in more detail. Statistical reports Release date AIHW Congenital Anomalies, 2016 1 April ABS Lending Indicators, February 2022 1 April ABS Retail Trade, Australia, February 2022 4 April ANZ ... Read more...

NATO and Ukraine: a contested partnership

A significant issue in the war between Russia and Ukraine is the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). For Ukraine, it is an important step forward in securing its national security. For Russia, it represents the unacceptable encroachment of what, from its perspective, is a hostile Western alliance. This article gives some background on NATO and the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty (NATO Treaty) and explores the history and context of the relationship between Ukraine and NATO. Read more...

Public Sector Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2022
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Public Sector Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2022

The Public Sector Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (the Bill) was introduced in the House of Representatives on 17 February 2022. Its main purpose is to amend the Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004 (PS Act) and the Superannuation Act 2005 (referred to as the PSSAP Act) to allow the Parliamentary Superannuation Scheme and Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP) to be treated in a consistent manner with industry superannuation funds, following the Your Future, Your Super reforms relating to the annual performance test for MySuper products and the single default account Read more...

Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Family Support) Bill 2022

The Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Family Support) Bill 2022 expands eligibility for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) Family Support Package, and provides for the program to deliver new forms of assistance to eligible families. The Package was introduced in 2018 and provides counselling and other support to the families of eligible veterans receiving incapacity payments and to some widowed partners of veterans. The proposed amendments commence from 1 July 2022 and the estimated cost of the changes is $30.2 million over four years. The measure was initially announced in the 2021–22 Budget and was expected to cost $5.1 million but the measur... Read more...

Report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review—implications for higher education
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Report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education Review—implications for higher education

Next Steps, the report of the Quality Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Review was released on 24 February 2022. The report contains 17 recommendations addressing issues ranging from raising the status of teaching and attracting high-quality candidates to ensuring that ITE programs are high-quality, evidence-based, and practically relevant. However, the Government’s immediate response focused on strengthening the link between ITE and funding for providers (recommendation 15). The Government has announced the establishment of an ITE Quality Assessment Expert Panel to develop excellence thresholds and advise on linking these to funding incentives. The detail of any funding changes will de... Read more...

Identity matters: sexual identity in Australia

Statistics on sub-groups of the population are of interest to policy makers and researchers from a range of areas, including health, education, law, employment and social welfare. While the 2021 Census did not collect information on sexual orientation, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) General Social Survey provides estimates of the number of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other (not heterosexual). For the survey releases, these expressed identities are combined into a single group, hereafter referred to as LGB+. In 2020, this group represented almost 4% of the population aged 15 years and over (see Table 5). The survey does not provide estimates of the numbe... Read more...

Australian Government natural disaster payments and calls for reform

Following the 2019–20 bushfires and the recent flooding in NSW and Queensland, the Australian Government has made changes to the level of assistance offered through disaster recovery payments and has previously made changes to eligibility criteria. Both the Productivity Commission and a recent royal commission have recommended structural reforms to improve the fairness and effectiveness of these payments. The Productivity Commission previously recommended that eligibility criteria be legislated rather than subject to ministerial discretion. The Royal Commission which followed the 2019–20 bushfires called for an evaluation of natural disaster financial assistance measures, suggest... Read more...

Ten years of examining human rights

For the last ten years, all Bills and legislative instruments have been considered for compatibility with human rights by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (the committee). Over this period 58 parliamentarians have been appointed to the ten member committee, with Graham Perrett MP the longest-serving. While it’s members have predominantly come from the two major parties, it has also incorporated thirteen minor party members and one independent member—Cathy McGowan. The committee has been led by six chairs including senators Dean Smith and Sarah Henderson and members Ian Goodenough, Harry Jenkins, Phillip Ruddock and current Chair Anne Webster. Enhancing scrutiny ... Read more...

Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications) Bill 2022
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Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications) Bill 2022

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications) Bill 2022 (the Bill) was introduced in the House of Representatives on 17 February 2022. Its main purpose is to modernise and improve technology neutrality (allowing choice in the use of electronic or physical means) across an expanded range of business communications, while assisting in the reduction of business costs, and better reflecting how business wants to engage and communicate, by amending: the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to allow for the use of electronic signatures and execution of legal documents, in addition to the electronic delivery of a wide range of documents the National Consumer Credit P... Read more...

Russia’s exclusion from SWIFT: an explainer

On 26 February 2022, the United States and its allies announced they would remove selected Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial messaging network. Exclusion from SWIFT has been described as ‘the nuclear option’ of financial sanctions, and will have far-reaching consequences for the global economy and trade. 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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