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

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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...

Voting by the crossbench in the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 45th Parliament

30 August 2017 marked the completion of the first year of the 45th Parliament. In that time there has been continuing interest in the voting records of the Independent parliamentarians and minor parties in both Houses, particularly in the Senate where the Government requires eight out of the 19 crossbench votes (including the seven Australian Greens)  to pass legislation. The Parliamentary Library has compiled some statistics on the voting records of the minor parties and Independent MPs in both Houses in that time.  Read more...

Voluntary postal poll on same-sex marriage

On 8 August 2017 the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, announced that the Government would be re-introducing its 2016 legislation for a compulsory plebiscite on same-sex marriage (the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016). The Minister also stated that, should the Bill again fail to pass the Parliament, the Government will conduct a ‘voluntary postal plebiscite’ on same-sex marriage for Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll, with results by 15 November 2017. On 9 August 2017 the Government’s motion to bring the Bill before the Senate failed, and Minister Cormann subsequently indicated that the Government will proceed with the postal po... Read more...

Proposed travel restrictions for registered child sex offenders

Senator Derryn Hinch came to the Senate following the 2016 election, with a dedication to act on what he termed “human vermin”: Australia’s child sex offenders. In his first speech, Senator Hinch said that he wanted ‘to do something tangible to end Australia’s paedophiles’ involvement in the repugnant sex trade in Asia’. The Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (consisting of justice, policing and emergency management Ministers across all jurisdictions, including New Zealand)  agreed in October 2016 to form a Working Group to consider gaps in the existing legislation and in May 2017 agreed to continue to work together on proposals to implemen... Read more...

Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority

In the wake of the recent parliamentary entitlements controversy that culminated in the resignation of Health Minister Sussan Ley, on 13 January 2017 Prime Minister Turnbull announced the establishment of an independent parliamentary expenses authority to administer and oversee the work expenses of parliamentarians, including ministers. He indicated that the model used by the United Kingdom (UK) would provide the direction for the new independent authority. This post provides a brief overview of the UK model—the statutory Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). Read more...

Reducing Red Tape in the public service 2: legislation

The recent Belcher Red Tape review made 134 recommendations. This second FlagPost on the Red Tape review provides summary information about recommendations likely to require legislative amendments. Read more...

Could people stripped of their Australian citizenship be immediately removed from Australia?

The desired outcome of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015 is ‘to ensure the safety and security of Australia and its people and to ensure the community of Australian citizens is limited to those who continue to retain an allegiance to Australia’. But is automatic loss of citizenship necessarily the end of the line for those in Australia who are deemed to have repudiated their allegiance to Australia and will they thus be put on the next plane out? One might be surprised to learn that technically, there is nothing in the Migration Act 1958 preventing their removal from Australia, not even if they are entitled to challenge the loss of their cit... Read more...

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