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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

Indigenous Members of Parliament

The contest for the Western Australia seat of Hasluck is unusual in that three of the seven candidates are Aboriginal Australians: Dot Henry (Independent), Glenice Smith (Greens) and Ken Wyatt (Liberal).The Liberal candidate Ken Wyatt (pictured opposite) needs a swing of 1 per cent to win the seat from Labor member Sharryn Jackson and become the first Indigenous Member of the House of Representatives. Ken Wyatt told the Koori Mail (28 July 2010) that ‘there’s been this view that Aboriginal people are principally Labor Party oriented, but I think the three of us prove that we as a community are now starting to make our own political choices’.A breakdown of party representation of the twenty-t... Read more...

Building the Education Revolution

The Building the Education Revolution (BER) Implementation Taskforce today released its interim report, finding that while quality infrastructure has been delivered within the required timeframes, project costs in some areas have been substantially higher than would have been the case before the BER.The Taskforce was set up to examine complaints about BER projects and whether the projects are delivering 'value for money'. Its main focus has been the Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) element of the BER.The Taskforce found that many of the reported problems have to do with the BER's aim to provide quick economic stimulus as part of the Labor Government’s strategy to counter the effect... Read more...

Medibank Private dividend payment

Medibank Private is to pay the Government a special one-off dividend of $300 million according to this statement from the Treasurer.  This is ‘in recognition of Medibank Private Limited’s strong capital position’ due to the build up of its reserves during the period it was a not-for profit health insurer. The dividend will help fund Labor’s election promises. The Opposition’s Andrew Robb claims that the dividend payment must inevitably result in higher health insurance premiums for consumers. One likely meaure of the impact of this policy would be if premium increases were to rise above the five year average of 6.1 per cent. A number of factors influence annual premium rises which must be ap... Read more...

Health reform - special issue of the MJA

For those interested in health reform, the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia has a number of articles addressing this topic, particularly as it relates to general practice.The Croakey health blog also regularly features discussions on health reform. And for background on the health reform options that have featured in recent years see this Parliamentary Library paper by Anne-Marie Boxall and Luke Buckmaster.(Image sourced from: http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/193_02_190710/contents_190710.html) Read more...

Federal election 2010 - retirements

A number of Members and Senators have announced their intention not to re-contest the upcoming federal election. Nineteen Members of the House of Representatives (12.6% of the 150 seat chamber) and five Senators (6.5% of the 76 seat chamber) have indicated that they will retire at the election:House of RepresentativesBailey, Fran (Liberal, McEwen)Bidgood, James (ALP, Dawson)Campbell, Jodie (ALP, Bass)Debus, Bob (ALP, Macquarie)Ellis, Annette (ALP, Canberra)Farmer, Pat (Liberal, Macarthur)George, Jenny (ALP, Throsby)Georgiou, Petro (Liberal, Kooyong)Hawker, David (Liberal, Wannon)Hull, Kay (Nationals, Riverina)Irwin, Julia (ALP, Fowler)Kerr, Duncan (ALP, Denison)Lindsay, Peter (Liberal, Herbe... Read more...

New - Journal of Social Inclusion

Last week former High Court of Australia justice, Michael Kirby launched the Griffith University-based Journal of Social Inclusion. The Journal is described as seeking to contribute to 'current knowledge and understanding of the social processes that marginalise individuals, families, groups and communities'. As such, the journal is not focused exclusively on ways of redressing social marginalisation, but is also concerned with questioning what we actually mean by social inclusion. A recent Parliamentary Library publication examined the concept of social inclusion in order to determine just how useful it is as a framework for social policy. The paper found that social inclusion lacks a clear... Read more...

Federal election announced

On Saturday, 17 July 2010, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that a federal election would be held on Saturday, 21 August 2010. The 42nd Parliament was prorogued and the House of Representatives dissolved at 5.00pm on Monday, 19 July 2010. Key dates for the 2010 federal election are:- Announcement: Saturday, 17 July 2010- Issue of writ: Monday, 19 July 2010- Deadline to enrol to vote: 8pm Monday, 19 July 2010- Deadline to update your electoral roll details (Close of rolls): 8pm Thursday, 22 July 2010- Close of nominations: 12 noon Thursday, 29 July 2010- Declaration of nominations: 12 noon Friday, 30 July 2010- Election day: Saturday, 21 August 2010- Return of writ (latest date): We... Read more...

Who's really time poor?

What exactly does it mean to be time poor? Is it simply a matter of work-life imbalance? Can anyone—poor or wealthy—be time poor? Or should time poverty actually be about more profound issues such as control over one’s life? These are the kinds of questions addressed by Professor Bob Goodin of the ANU in his keynote address to the 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference (Melbourne Convention Centre, 7 July). Goodin presented the findings of his research in the area of work-life balance (undertaken with colleagues, James Mahmud Rice, Antti Parpo and Lina Erikson) published in the book, Discretionary time: a new measure of freedom.  He argued that the major time use studies used... Read more...

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