FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Commonwealth officer as Observer at NHFIC Board meetings

Established on 30 June 2018, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) is a statutory authority that: makes loans, investments and grants for enabling infrastructure that supports new housing, particularly affordable housing; and provides cheaper and longer-term financing to registered community housing providers through Australia's first national Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA). The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Act 2018 (NHFIC Act) includes a provision for a Commonwealth officer to be appointed as an Observer to attend NHFIC Board meetings. This Flagpost discusses the statutory Observer position in the context of the review of corp... Read more...

Personal Safety of People with Disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released further results from the 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which focus on experiences of violence and personal safety of people with disability. This FlagPost provides a summary of these results. Read more...

Removing GST on feminine hygiene products

On 3 October 2018, the Commonwealth, state and territory treasurers unanimously agreed to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from ‘feminine hygiene products’ from 1 January 2019. GST has been applied to these products since its introduction in 2000. In recent years there has been considerable pressure to remove it. Read more...

Same-sex couples embrace the tradition of marriage

  After many years of public and parliamentary debate, and a postal survey designed to settle the question of public support, marriage equality in Australia became a reality on 9 December 2017. From that date, the right to marry under Australian law is no longer determined by sex or gender. Read more...

A longevity insurance scheme?

A longevity insurance scheme? Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has recently renewed his call for a government longevity insurance scheme. The proposal, which Mr Keating has also referred to as ‘Super Mark 2,’ or ‘Super Phase 2,’ is to introduce a levy on wage earners, which would be used by the government to insure older Australians against some of the costs incurred in old age. This FlagPost examines Keating’s proposal, and considers the historical treatment of national insurance proposals in the area of superannuation, which have been bedevilled by issues of complexity and affordability. Is there a need for the scheme? The Superannuation Guarantee, which w... Read more...

Social Security Commission Bill 2018

The Social Security Commission Bill 2018 is a private member’s bill introduced by Cathy McGowan, the Member for Indi, on 20 August 2018. The Bill’s purpose is to create an independent commission to review the adequacy of social security payments. While it would make recommendations, it would not be responsible for setting payment rates. In her Second Reading Speech, Ms McGowan said: ‘I believe social security recipients should be able to have a standard of living that allows them to live with dignity.’ The Bill is supported by Rebekha Sharkie, the Centre Alliance member for Mayo. It is opposed by the Government. The then Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan rejecte... Read more...

Will the new Future Drought Fund leave the Education Investment Fund high and dry?

On 26 October, the Coalition Government announced it would create a new Future Drought Fund, with initial investment to come from transferring the $3.9 billion uncommitted balance of the Building Australia Fund, one of the Nation-building Funds originally created by the Gillard Labor Government. The announcement has raised the question of the status of the other remaining Nation-building Fund, the Education Investment Fund (EIF).  This FlagPost provides an overview of the EIF to assist in understanding its current status. It updates some of the information provided in the Medicare Levy Amendment (National Disability Insurance Scheme Funding) Bill 2017 [and] related Bills Bills Digest. ... Read more...

The role of book ownership in PISA test scores

The decline in Australia’s performance in the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) since 2000 has been of considerable concern to policy makers. While a number of different possible causes have been identified, a study which attempted to evaluate several of these identified a significant factor which had not previously been raised—a decline in the number of books in Australian students’ homes. Read more...

The question of sexual orientation... Something for Census 2021?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is exploring potential new topics to include in the 2021 Census of Population and Housing (‘Census’). They are also looking to enhance existing topics to make them more meaningful and reviewing the overall content to ensure it remains relevant. As part of this process, the ABS conducted a public consultation earlier this year. From the 445 submissions received, the ABS has created a short list of topics considered to have a strong or moderate case for change. While the options are still being explored, the inclusion of a question on sexual orientation would provide a depth of information not currently available at the population level. Qu... 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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