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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...

Australia’s first federal election–29 and 30 March 1901
State Library of Queensland

Australia’s first federal election–29 and 30 March 1901

With speculation firming on May 11 as ‘the most likely date for a 2019 federal election’ it seems timely to mark the anniversary this week of Australia’s first federal election. Prime Minister Edmund Barton, who had been commissioned by Governor-General Lord Hopetoun to form an interim Government on 1 January 1901, opened the federal campaign with a speech at the West Maitland Town Hall, declaring: Ransack history, and you will find this is the first time in which it has been committed to one body of men to undertake … the government of a whole continent. ….. We shall in our electoral campaign have to deal with a whole continent, … and we shall have to... 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...

Proposed amendments to the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

The Senate is expected to debate the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 (the Bill) in the sitting week beginning 15 October 2018. The Bill has a somewhat complex history, with the original Bill released in July 2017. Following considerable public debate, and a JSCEM advisory report, the Government announced proposed amendments to the Bill. On 20 September 2018 the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) announced an inquiry into the proposed amendments. 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...

What’s in a name: the redistributions of the 45th Parliament

With the announcement of the final boundaries for electorates in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the electoral redistributions of the 45th Parliament have now been completed. The addition of a seat each to Victoria and the ACT, and the loss of a seat in South Australia, will see 151 House of Representatives seats up for election at the next federal election—the largest number in the history of the Parliament. Read more...

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