Filter by June, 2020

Temporary migration figures: the quarter before COVID-19 hit

The Department of Home Affairs publishes quarterly snapshots of temporary entrants in Australia, showing numbers of visa holders by category at a point in time. The latest statistics are as at 31 March 2020, and with the most significant border closures not occurring until 20 March, these figures only show the early impacts of the pandemic: a much clearer picture will emerge from the second quarter figures to 30 June. Read more...

The June 1870 intercolonial conference and the path to Federation

The Prime Minister’s announcement last month regarding the establishment of a National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) to replace the Council of Australian Governments has once more highlighted efforts to better coordinate and enhance engagement between Australia’s jurisdictions. This agenda for reform and coordination has long endured throughout Australia’s political history. June 20 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the 1870 intercolonial conference, held in Melbourne, which provides an early example of such attempts at policy coordination. Read more...

Education Legislation Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Bill 2020

On 11 June 2020 the Minister for Education, Dan Tehan, introduced the Education Legislation Amendment (2020 Measures No. 1) Bill 2020 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives.  The main purpose of the Bill is to give effect to a six‑month exemption from FEE‑HELP loan fees announced on 12 April 2020 as part of the Higher Education Relief Package (the relief package) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other elements of the relief package do not require legislation. A loan fee exemption for VET Student Loans (VSL) was also included, but has already been given effect by the VET Student Loans Amendment Rules (No. 1) 2020, made under the VET Student Loans Act 2016 (VSL Act)... Read more...

Services Australia Governance Amendment Bill 2020

The agency responsible for delivering most of the Commonwealth Government’s social and health related services has been through some changes over the past year. The Department of Human Services (DHS) was renamed Services Australia in May 2019. It was abolished and replaced when an Executive Agency, also named Services Australia, was established on 1 February 2020. More changes are proposed in the two schedules of the Services Australia Governance Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) introduced into the House of Representatives by the Minister for Government Services on 13 May 2020. Read more...

50th anniversary of the establishment of the modern Senate committee system

Fifty years ago, on 11 June 1970, the Senate agreed to establish seven legislative and general purpose standing committees, and five estimates committees. While the Senate had made use of committees since Federation, this was a significant step in the development of its modern committee system. This system, which has continued to develop since 1970, has greatly enhanced the Senate’s ability to inquire into topical issues, gather evidence from the public, and scrutinise proposed legislation. Read more...

COVID-19 and private health insurance

The COVID-19 pandemic presents both opportunities and challenges to private health insurers, with short-term and long-term impacts and questions being raised about its role and relevance during this time. A recent report from the Australia Institute argues that restrictions on non-urgent elective surgery, applying from early April 2020, will likely result in ‘windfall’ profits for health insurers over the next six months. Read more...

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