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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill 2017

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill), introduced in the Senate on 6 December 2017, amends the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (the Act). The Act sets out a scheme for the claiming, granting, control and management of Aboriginal land in the NT. It was closed to new claims in 1997. The Bill adds parcels of land within the Kakadu National Park, the township of Urapanga, and (in proposed amendments to the Bill) Anthony Lagoon station to the listing in Schedule 1 of the Act, enabling them to be granted as Aboriginal land, and makes other amendments to do with Kakadu's status as a National Park.  Bills which recogni... Read more...

Proposed amendments to the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

The Senate is expected to debate the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (the Bill) in the sitting week beginning 15 October 2018. The Bill has a somewhat complex history, with the original Bill released in July 2017. Following considerable public debate, and a JSCEM advisory report, the Government announced proposed amendments to the Bill. On 20 September 2018 the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) announced an inquiry into the proposed amendments. Read more...

Two parliamentary milestones for women—
75 years of women in the Commonwealth Parliament and Australia's 100th female senator

21 August 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the election of the first women to the Commonwealth Parliament. Enid Lyons of the United Australia Party and Dorothy Tangney of the Australian Labor Party were both elected on that day in 1943; Lyons to the House of Representatives and Tangney to the Senate. In addition, Dr Mehreen Faruqi (Australian Greens, NSW), who was sworn in as a senator on 20 August 2018, is Australia’s 100th female senator. Read more...

25 million and growing

Australia’s population has hit the 25 million mark, based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ population clock—an estimate of growth based on latest official data on births, deaths and net overseas migration. Australia’s annual population growth was 1.6 per cent in 2017. How did Australia look when we reached previous population milestones? Read more...

What’s in a name: the redistributions of the 45th Parliament

With the announcement of the final boundaries for electorates in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the electoral redistributions of the 45th Parliament have now been completed. The addition of a seat each to Victoria and the ACT, and the loss of a seat in South Australia, will see 151 House of Representatives seats up for election at the next federal election—the largest number in the history of the Parliament. 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...

A short history of Australia Day, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reactions to it

There has been recent and recurring public debate about the significance of Australia Day and its meaning to Indigenous Australians. This FlagPost gives a short history of both the day and of Indigenous reactions to and opinions about it. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this blog contains names and contains links to images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. It quotes and links to historical figures' views that contain terms that would not be considered appropriate today.  Read more...

Indigenous knowledge: adding value to science and innovation

 This year is a significant one for the evolution of Indigenous Affairs policy in Australia. It marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, while the government is reviewing its Closing the Gap targets and the mechanisms used to address them. Two of the targets relate to Indigenous employment and economic development. This article considers two case studies where the Indigenous knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contributed to scientific research and innovation. In one, the approach has empowered the local community, with the potential to significantly improve employment and economic development. In the other, Indigenous communities have had little say... Read more...

Authoritarianism ascendant: Cambodia’s politics and Australia’s dilemmas

The recent decisions by the government of Cambodia to arrest opposition leader Kem Sokha on treason  charges, force the closure of a major English-language daily (as well as over a dozen radio outlets), expel a US funded pro-democracy group, and place new strictures on political parties do not bode well for the country’s already frail democracy. Many analysts, civil society groups and human rights activists view these decisions as portents of a further move toward one-party rule under Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) government ahead of national elections scheduled for 2018. For its part, the CPP has&nb... Read more...

Known unknowns about the same sex marriage survey

Following its failure to reintroduce the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016 to the Senate Notice Paper, the Government has directed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to conduct a survey of all electors ‘about whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry’. In the absence of enabling legislation, and with no historical precedent of the ABS running a national survey of all electors, there remain many unanswered questions as to how the vote will proceed, both in terms of law and logistics. Read more...

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