Filter by June, 2021

Cryptocurrencies as money: an explainer

Cryptocurrencies are receiving a lot of publicity, including stories of ‘bitcoin millionaires’ and ‘mining operations’ raising images of a latter day gold rush. But cryptocurrencies probably remain a bit of a mystery to many. This FlagPost provides a brief and simple explanation of why cryptocurrencies (cryptos) have both the form and function of money, but do not function as well as normal government-backed (fiat) money. The FlagPost does not address the benefits and costs of a cashless economy, the technical aspects of the theory of money, the goals and mechanisms of monetary policy or how specific cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, work.  Read more...

Who works at Parliament House?

After two weeks of sittings, Parliament adjourns for the winter break, with the corridors no longer crowded with parliamentarians and staff. But who actually works in Parliament House?  Read more...

Snapshot of employment by industry, 2021

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases quarterly estimates of employed people by industry (in their main job, if a person holds more than one job) in the publication Labour Force, Australia, Detailed. Quarterly data is available since November 1984, with the most recent data being February 2021. Estimates of employment by industry division are currently available in seasonally adjusted and original series. The ABS suspended the trend series in April 2020 due to the uncertainty of estimate adjustments related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For finer level detail on industry of employment (e.g. sub-division), the ABS release original (unadjusted) estimates. Industry data is classified ... Read more...

Medical and Midwife Indemnity Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

On 27 May 2021, the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, introduced the Medical and Midwife Indemnity Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. The stated purpose of the Bill is to ensure that claims made against all private practising midwives are eligible under the Commonwealth’s medical and midwife indemnity schemes. The estimated impact on the fiscal balance over the forward estimates is $0.9 million. Read more...

Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 1) Bill 2021

On 27 May 2021, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, introduced the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 1) Bill 2021 (the Bill) into the House of Representatives. The Bill was referred to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee, which tabled its report on 11 June 2021. The Committee recommended that the Bill be passed. This FlagPost provides a brief overview of existing restraints regulation in aged care, recommendations from recent reports, and the amendments proposed by the Bill.   Read more...

Fuel Security Bill 2021

The Fuel Security Bill 2021 (the Bill) and the associated Fuel Security (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2021 were introduced into the House of Representatives on 26 May 2021. In short, the Bill aims to support Australia’s fuel security by: creating a minimum stock holding obligation whereby industry will be required to maintain a certain level of fuel stocks and creating a fuel security services payment to subsidise industry to continue refining activities until 30 June 2027. Details of the fuel security payments will be outlined further in the Ministerial Rules which are yet to be published. Read more...

Farm Household Support Amendment (Debt Waiver) Bill 2021

The Farm Household Support Amendment (Debt Waiver) Bill 2021 (the Bill) amends the Farm Household Support Act 2014 (the FHS Act) to permanently waive the repayment of certain classes of debt owed by Farm Household Allowance (FHA) recipients. These debts have arisen as a result of overpayments of the FHA due to inaccurate estimates of business income provided by claimants. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the amendments in the Bill will have a total financial cost of $65.6 million, including $51.0 million in foregone revenue from debts that would otherwise have been repaid (p. 2). In his second reading speech, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar stated that the Bill will provide debt r... Read more...

Mitochondrial donation in Australia

On 24 March 2021, the Government introduced the Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform (Maeve’s Law) Bill 2021 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives. The Bill amends existing legislation to allow mitochondrial donation techniques to be used for research, training and human reproductive purposes. The overall aim is for women at risk of passing on mitochondrial disease, to have reproductive options for biological children without the increased risk of their child having mitochondrial disease. This FlagPost is a snapshot of the Bills Digest (due to be published shortly) and provides an overview of the key elements of mitochondrial donation and the Bill.  Read more...

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Neville Bonner's appointment to the Senate

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article contains an image and names of deceased persons. The eleventh of June 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Neville Bonner’s appointment to the Senate, when he filled a casual vacancy created by Dame Annabelle Rankin’s resignation to become Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand. A Jagera man, Mr Bonner went on to serve as a Senator for Queensland for over a decade until he was defeated in the 1983 federal election. Read more...

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