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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...

Seventy-fifth anniversary of the first broadcast of the Commonwealth Parliament

8 May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first radio broadcast of the proceedings of the Commonwealth Parliament on 8 May 1945. Regular radio broadcasts began in 1946, while regular television broadcasts did not commence until 1990. Read more...

COVID-19 and parliamentary sittings (current as at 2 April 2020)

A number of Parliaments, both in Australia and overseas, have made schedule and practice changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Parliament last sat on 23 March 2020 and is scheduled to return on 11 August 2020, although it has been reported that the Parliament will sit on 8 April to consider further COVID-19-related legislation. Prior to 23 March the Parliament had been scheduled to sit from 23–26 March and then 12–14 May. 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...

Government defeat in the House of Representatives on 12 February 2019

On 12 February 2019 the House of Representatives considered amendments made by the Senate to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 (the Home Affairs Bill). The Government strongly opposed the Senate amendments, which sought to give greater weight to medical opinion when determining whether a medical evacuation from a regional processing country should occur, and attempted to prevent them from being considered by the House. However, as the Senate amendments were supported by the Opposition and a number of crossbench members, the Government unsuccessfully tried to stop the House from considering them, with further amendments being decided following negotiati... Read more...

Hung parliament 2018 - continued

It is arguable that with the election of Kerryn Phelps at the recent Wentworth by-election, the Commonwealth Parliament has not become a hung parliament, but has simply been confirmed as one. Read more...

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

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