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

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Trends in early voting in federal elections

Early voting for the 2019 federal election commenced on Monday 29 April 2019. Early votes include pre-poll ordinary votes (pre-poll votes cast by a voter at a pre-poll voting centre for their electorate), pre-poll declaration votes (pre-poll votes cast outside a voter’s division, such as overseas and interstate) and postal votes (which can be applied for from the issue of the writs). The rise of pre-poll voting, particularly pre-poll ordinary, has been a notable trend in federal elections since 2010. Read more...

What's different about the 2019 federal election?

Every federal election is unique, but some are more unique than others. Due to a variety of factors such as extensive boundary redistributions and changes in legislation, the 2019 federal election is different from previous elections in a number of ways. Read more...

Online political communication—does this post need to be authorised?

‘Spoken by J Jones. Authorised by S Smith, Canberra.’ This familiar phrase, spoken rapidly at the end of a TV ad, is a common feature of Australian elections, and is an example of an authorisation statement required by law to allow voters to know the source of the advertising. While these statements have traditionally been found on political advertising on TV, radio and in newspapers, recent changes to the law have expanded the range of communications considerably, with social media, internet video and streaming music now covered (but not sky writing or graffiti). Read more...

The 2019 federal election: key dates

On the morning of Thursday 11 April 2019 the Prime Minister visited the Governor-General and advised the dissolution of the 45th Parliament for a general election. Read more...

The effect of calling an election on Senate estimates hearings

The possibility of the federal election being called soon after the 2019–20 Budget on 2 April 2019 raises the question of what will happen with the Senate estimates hearings that are scheduled to be held over 4–12 April. Would calling the election prevent estimates hearings going ahead? Could the Senate require hearings to go ahead despite the calling of an election? Read more...

How hackable are Australian federal elections

Recent revelations that a ‘sophisticated’ foreign power had hacked computers in the Australian parliament and major Australian political parties, only months before an expected federal election, raises questions as to how vulnerable Australian elections are to hacking. Read more...

What happened in Wentworth?

The 20 October 2018 by-election in the NSW division of Wentworth, following the resignation of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was notable for a number of reasons. These included the large number of candidates, the high personal vote of former member Malcolm Turnbull, and the victory of an independent candidate in the Liberals’ fifth safest seat. It was also notable for how the seemingly convincing margin of victory early on election night narrowed markedly over the course of the count as pre-poll and postal votes were included.  Read more...

Casual re-employment: comings and goings due to Senate casual vacancies

Upon being re-appointed to the Senate on 10 September 2018 to fill the casual vacancy created by Andrew Bartlett’s resignation, Queensland (Qld) Greens Senator Larissa Waters becomes the first senator to return to the Senate after having been disqualified under section 44 of the Australian Constitution for holding dual citizenship. Senator Waters’ return is also notable because she is filling a Senate position originally made vacant by her own disqualification, subsequently filled by Andrew Bartlett, and made vacant again by Bartlett’s retirement on 27 August 2018. 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...

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...

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