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

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Five leave the Parliament

On Wednesday 9 May the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, ruled that ACT senator Katy Gallagher was ineligible to be elected at the 2016 election due to British citizenship, and ordered a special count of the ballot papers in order to determine her replacement. Shortly after this judgement four more MPs announced their resignation from Parliament, likely triggering by-elections. This brings the total number of parliamentarians who have left the current Parliament due to ineligibility under the Australian Constitution to 17. Read more...

The departures continue: constitutional disqualification from Parliament

Western Australian Green Scott Ludlam and Queensland Green Larissa Waters are now the third and fourth senators to have left the Senate since the last election due to ineligibility. Prior to the current term of Parliament, only five parliamentarians had ever lost their seats due to Constitutional eligibility reasons. Read more...

Bob Day found to be incapable of being chosen as a senator

On 5 April 2017 the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, handed down its decision in Re Day [No 2] [2017], HCA 14 regarding former South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day (Mr Day resigned from the Senate on 1 November 2016). The Court found that Mr Day was incapable of being chosen or sitting as a senator by reason of section 44(v) of the Australian Constitution, and ordered that the vacancy be filled by a recount.   Read more...

(Almost) everything you need to know about double dissolution elections

 Following the Senate’s rejection of the Building and Construction Industry bills on 18 April 2016, the Prime Minister announced on 19 April that he intended to advise the Governor-General to dissolve both houses of Parliament under powers provided by section 57 of the Australian Constitution, thus precipitating the first double dissolution election in 29 years (the last double dissolution election was in July 1987). The Prime Minister said that he expects the election to be held on 2 July 2016. Read more...

So you’ve been prorogued – Common questions answered

On 21 March 2016 the Prime Minister wrote to the Governor-General to ask the Governor-General to prorogue Parliament on Friday 15 April and summon Parliament to sit again on Monday 18 April 2016. This Flagpost examines what proroguing means for the operation of the Parliament and the possible implications for the Senate’s consideration of certain Bills. Read more...

Legislation and the financial initiative: what happened to the Opposition amendments to the Carbon Tax Repeal Bills?

The Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 and other related Bills passed the House of Representatives on 21 November 2013 with no amendments. While this is not an unusual occurrence, what is notable is that Opposition amendments to the package of bills were not debated during the consideration-in-detail stage.The Speaker, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, made a ruling prior to the commencement of the consideration-in-detail stage of the Bills, that the amendments could contravene standing orders 179(a) and 179(b):179. Taxation proposals initiated by Minister(a) Only a Minister may initiate a proposal to impose, increase, or decrease a tax or duty, or change the scope of any charge. ... Read more...

110th anniversary of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902

Tuesday 12 June 2012 marks the 110th anniversary of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, the law that granted most Australian women the right to vote, and therefore to stand, in Commonwealth elections. The Act stated that ‘all persons not under twenty-one years of age whether male or female married or unmarried’ would be entitled to vote in Commonwealth elections. It excluded Indigenous men and women, unless they were eligible to vote under state laws in accordance with Section 41 of the Australian Constitution. Across Australia, women voted for the first time in the second Commonwealth election held on 16 December 1903. Women in South Australia (who were granted voting rights in 1895) and W... Read more...

Local government: the road to Constitutional recognition

As part of the agreements to form government in September 2010, the ALP committed to advancing constitutional recognition of local government, including holding a referendum during the 43rd Parliament or at the next election.An independent Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government was appointed in April 2011 by the federal government. Headed by NSW Chief Justice the Hon. James Spigelman AC QC, the panel circulated a discussion paper and conducted community consultation releasing their final report on 22 December 2011. This post will discuss findings and conclusions from the panel's final report.The panel considered four types of recognition; symbolic recognition, democra... Read more...

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