FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Unconscionability and a 'Hobsons choice'

In Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Kobelt a majority of the High Court rejected the proposition that Mr Kobelt’s provision of book-up credit to a remote Indigenous community was unconscionable conduct in connection with financial services, pursuant to section 12CB of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act). Background Mr Kobelt operated a general store in Mintabie, South Australia. He sold goods including food, groceries, fuel and second-hand cars. Almost all of his customers were Anangu persons who resided in two remote communities in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands). Mr Kobelt provided credit to Anan... Read more...

Housing in Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released data from 2017-18 Survey of Income and Housing (SIH). The SIH is a household survey which collects information on sources of income, amounts received, household net worth, housing, household characteristics and personal characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over in private dwellings throughout Australia (excluding very remote areas). This Flagpost provides a summary of housing occupancy and costs of housing  in Australia. Australian households Fewer people owned their own homes with or without a mortgage in 2017-18 compared to those in 1997-98; in contrast, households who rent have increased: 30% own their own home... Read more...

Australian Veterans' Recognition (Putting Veterans and Their Families First) Bill 2019

The Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and their Families First) Bill 2019  (the first Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives on 14 February 2019. The first Bill lapsed on 11 April 2019 with the dissolution of the 45th Parliament.  The Australian Veterans’ Recognition (Putting Veterans and Their Families First) Bill 2019 (the Bill) was introduced into the Senate on 4 July 2019 with provisions identical to the first Bill. Read more...

Road Vehicle Standards Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

The Australian Government introduced the Road Vehicle Standards Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (the Bill) into the Senate on 4 July 2019. The Bill seeks to amend both the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (the Road Vehicle Standards Act) and Road Vehicle Standards (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2018 (the Consequential and Transitional Provisions Act) to allow for further time before the substantive provisions of the new road vehicles legislative scheme, as set out in the Road Vehicle Standards Act, comes into effect. The Explanatory Memorandum notes that the Bill will allow for a smoother transition for both industry and government to the new regime. The industry peak body, ... Read more...

‘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...

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