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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

‘You’re more likely to divorce than switch banks’: will Open Banking encourage more switching?

It’s been said that ‘you’re more likely to divorce than switch banks’. Open Banking (OB) may not help with the divorce rate, but it is intended to make it easier to switch banks. The Big Four banks commenced a pilot of OB on 1 July 2019, and other banks are scheduled to participate in OB from July 2020. What is OB, how does it work, and how does OB relate to the proposed Consumer Data Right (CDR)? Read more...

Capital punishment in our region

Reports at the end of June that the President of Sri Lanka had ordered the execution of four prisoners (now stayed by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court) after a 43-year moratorium on capital punishment have caused alarm. This follows Brunei’s decision in May, after international outrage, to abandon the introduction of death-by-stoning for adultery and sex between men. Malaysia’s new government, on the other hand, announced in late 2018 that it would abolish the death penalty for all crimes, and PNG is currently debating whether to retain capital punishment. While Australia remains abolitionist for all crimes in all circumstances, countries in our region vary in their approach to th... Read more...

State and territory housing debts

Recent media reports  indicated that Senator Jacquie Lambie intended to support the Government’s (now passed) tax cuts if the Government provided further assistance to help tackle homelessness in Tasmania. In making her case, Senator Lambie referred to Tasmania’s outstanding housing debt to the Australian Government. Senator Lambie argued that the repayments and interest on this debt are detracting from the state’s ability to build further social housing and reduce housing waiting lists. Senator Lambie’s call for Australian Government assistance follows reports last month that Tasmanian’s Housing Minister, Roger Jaensch intended to approach the Government... Read more...

The signing of the Treaty of Versailles

Last week—28 June 2019—marked  the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles—or to give it its full name, the Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, and Protocol. This date in 1919 marked the fifth anniversary of the event that sparked the First World War, the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The Treaty was the most important outcome of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20 and was signed for Australia by Prime Minister William (Billy) Hughes and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Navy, Joseph Cook.  Read more...

International Men’s Health Week

International Men's Health Week is marked every year around the world in the middle of June. It is an important opportunity to highlight men's health and to discuss some of the more difficult subjects, including mental health and suicide. Since 2014, on average, six men have committed suicide every day in Australia. The number of men who die by intentional self-harm every year is nearly double the national road toll—2,348 suicides compared to a total of 1,225 road deaths in 2017. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2017, suicide ranked 10th as a leading cause of death for men (same ranking in 2008), while for women, it does not appear in the top 20 leading cause... Read more...

First Sitting of the Commonwealth Parliament

On midday on 9 May 1901, His Royal Highness The Duke of York and Cornwall (later George V) opened the first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia at the Exhibition Building—the only building in Melbourne big enough to accommodate the 1,400 guests—on behalf of King Edward VII. Read more...

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...

Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow—Government’s response to the Joyce Review

The recent 2019–20 Budget was a vehicle for the Government to announce its response to the Expert review of Australia's vocational education and training system (Joyce Review) of vocational education and training (VET): the $525.3 million Skills Package—Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow. This FlagPost outlines the key features of the review and the Government’s response. The Joyce Review The Joyce Review was commissioned in November 2018 to report by the end of March 2019. According to its terms of reference, its objective was to: focus on how the Australian Government’s investment in VET could be more effective to provide Australians with the skills ... 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...

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