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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 March, 2018

Power play: will the Energy Supplement be saved?

Recent media reports have suggested the Government may drop or modify legislation to close-off the Energy Supplement payment to new welfare recipients, in order to secure crossbench support for separate company tax measures. A Bill to close the Energy Supplement to all new income support recipients—including pensioners, allowance recipients and veterans’ payment recipients—has been before the House of Representatives since May 2017 but is yet to be debated. Read more...

Update to casual employee estimates - 2004 to 2017

A statistical snapshot published by the Parliamentary Library in January 2018 analysed the characteristics and use of casual employees in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has since released estimates for casual and permanent employees for 2017 as well as revised figures from 2004 to 2016 to reflect the most recently available population estimates collection. The series has also been adjusted to reduce the impact of seasonal and other irregular effects on employment estimates. This Flagpost provides information on growth in the number of casual and permanent employees in Australia between August 2004 and August 2017 and the casual employee share of total employees and total emp... Read more...

Countdown to the 2018 Commonwealth Games

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast from 4 to 15 April. This will mark the 21st Commonwealth Games since it was first held in 1930, and the 5th time Australia has hosted – making Australia the nation that has hosted the most number of Commonwealth Games. Previously, Australia hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1938 (Sydney), 1962 (Perth), 1982 (Brisbane) and 2006 (Melbourne).  Read more...

Changes to broadband arrangements to be considered by Parliament

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2017 will amend a number of Acts and Declarations to implement key parts of the Government’s response to a review of regulatory arrangements for the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Bill intends to promote competition, through reform of the ‘level playing field’ rules, as well as to fund future improvements to internet access for rural and regional Australia.  The key measures in the Bill are: changes to the superfast network rules (amendments to Parts 7 and 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010) the introducti... Read more...

Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018

The most material change made by the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018(the Bill) is to strengthen the rules for the remittance of GST on the sale of new properties. The change aims to reduce the risk of non-remittance arising from sellers being deliberately liquidated in order to escape their liabilities to creditors, employees or to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), before re-forming as a new legal entity, a practice known as ‘phoenixing’ (see ATO). Read more...

Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payments and the Welfare Reform Bill

During the Senate debate on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 (the Welfare Reform Bill), significant amendments were made to the way a proposed new lump-sum amount for newly bereaved welfare recipients would be calculated. The Senate eventually agreed to amendments proposed by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and supported by the Government. Under these amendments, the rate of payment for a recipient of the proposed Jobseeker Payment whose partner has recently died will be broadly equivalent to the rate of the payment for newly-bereaved people that the Government is proposing to abolish: Bereavement Allowance. Read more...

Homelessness in Australia, 2016 Census

On 14 March 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released their homelessness estimates, based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing. Under the ABS definition, a person is homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:  is in a dwelling that is inadequate, or has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable, or does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations. The key homelessness estimates from the 2016 Census are that: there were 116,427 people enumerated in the Census classified as being homeless on Census night (u... Read more...

Connectivity, competition and contention: is ASEAN up to the challenge?

With Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull preparing to host the upcoming Australia–ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Special Summit on 17–18 March in Sydney, the Parliamentary Library has published a new research paper by one of Australia’s foremost experts on ASEAN, Dr Frank Frost. Dr Frost’s paper provides a comprehensive overview of Australia–ASEAN engagement, with a focus on developments since the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of relations in 2014. Read more...

'Losing its credibility': the abolition of the 457 visa program

In March 2018, the 457 visa will be formally abolished and replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage visa. In his press conference to announce this change, the Prime Minister said ‘So we are bringing the 457 Visa class to an end. It's lost its credibility.’  This FlagPost analyses one part of the visa in an attempt to understand how its credibility may have changed over time.  Read more...

Senate terms following the dual citizenship disqualifications

Following the 2016 double dissolution election the Senate resolved to allocate senators to long and short terms on the basis of their order of election. On 13 February 2018, for the first time in its history, the Senate revisited senators’ terms, resolving that, for senators replaced according to special counts ordered by the Court of Disputed Returns, the long and short terms are to be based on the order of election arising from these counts, rather than on the order of election arising from the original 2016 election. Read more...

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