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

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Brexit: Article 50 and beyond

On 29 March 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty: the provision that deals with the process of a member state’s withdrawal from the European Union. The dispatch of the letter marks the formal beginning of the UK’s departure from the EU and, perhaps most significantly, the formal timeframes that apply to the negotiations. This short post explores the background to this and looks at how the Article 50 process may continue. The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in 2009, was the first EU treaty to include provision for a country leaving the Union. The key clauses of the now-f... Read more...

The world’s youngest nation falters: keeping the peace in South Sudan

Two and a half years after gaining independence from Sudan, the newly formed nation of South Sudan has erupted into violence that could potentially lead to civil war. Tensions among the ethnic Nuer and Dinka groups have recently escalated and there have been reports of widespread violence and killing across the country. Ongoing political disputes are at the root of the current unrest. Media reports indicate the former Vice President, Riek Machar (an ethnic Nuer who was dismissed in July 2013), attempted a coup against President Salva Kiir (an ethnic Dinka) and has allegedly taken control of key parts of the country. Read more...

The Single Supervisory Mechanism - can the European Central Bank break the vicious cycle?

Banks and sovereign nations in Europe face a ‘vicious cycle’, where higher borrowing costs and fears a government may default can make it more difficult or expensive for banks to borrow, and vice versa. On 12th September (2013) the European Parliament approved new powers for the European Central Bank (ECB) to act as a central regulator for European banks, in conjunction with national regulators. Is this a meaningful step towards a European banking union? Can it break the ‘vicious cycle’? And what does it mean for Australia? The ‘vicious cycle’ refers to a situation where bank and government debt can influence each other, making it harder or more expensive for each to borrow money. In Spain,... Read more...

Al-Shabaab: links to background and analysis

 It has been widely reported that the Somali militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall on 21 September 2013 which cost at least 62 lives. This FlagPost provides information on the listing of al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation in Australia and other countries, and links to publicly available information on the organisation.Terrorist listingsAl-Shabaab has been listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian Government since 22 August 2009, with the listing last renewed on 18 August 2012. The statement of reasons outlines details about al-Shabaab, including its objectives and activities, the basis for listing it as a terrorist organ... Read more...

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