Filter by October, 2014

ABS Labour Force revisions: a botch job or short term pain for long term gain?

Prior to releasing the September Labour Force Survey (LFS) results this month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced they were taking the unusual step of dropping the seasonally adjusted Labour Force estimates for July, August and September. Many users of the monthly survey results have since expressed concern about the quality and reliability of the estimates. Some of the commentary has suggested the recent issue with the estimates was due in part to budget cutbacks to the statistics agency. However, the recent volatility in the seasonally adjusted estimates is more likely to be associated with the changes the ABS has made to the LFS program rather than any budget pressures th... Read more...

Parliamentary Library analysis of the latest counter-terrorism Bill

On 5 August 2014, the Government announced significant reforms to counter-terrorism laws. The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014, introduced on 24 September 2014, proposes extensive amendments to a range of Commonwealth legislation as part of the Government’s response to the increased threat of terrorism posed by Australians engaging in, and returning from, conflicts in foreign States. The Parliamentary Library’s Bills Digest provides independent analysis of the Bill, and identifies the following key issues for debate. Read more...

G20 targets impact of corruption on economic growth and resilience

Ahead of the Group of Twenty (G20) meeting in Brisbane in November, G20 engagement groups are calling for the countries involved to take strategic anti-corruption and integrity action. Australia is the current chair of the G20, which was set up in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.  Australia’s host year will culminate in a Leaders' Summit in Brisbane on 15-16 November 2014. G20 engagement groups—civil society (C20), business (B20), labour movement (L20), young people (Y20) and thinktanks (T20)—are recommending that anti-corruption measures remain at the forefront of G20 action plans. The proposed 2014-2015 priorities include transparency of corpo... Read more...

Where to for science policy?

At a time when the position of science in Australia appears low – with public spending cuts, the political hostility to science-based issues, no actual ‘science’ minister for the first time in many years, and with Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane telling scientists to “make yourself relevant” – where lies the future for our science? Of course, good science continues here, as exemplified by the release of the 25th anniversary of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, with the 2014 winners receiving 15 prizes for outstanding contributions to Australian science. And the journal Nature has just published Assessing Science, showing the strengths of Australian s... Read more...

Changing motor vehicle and fuel standards

Motor vehicle specifications in Australia are being reviewed, and a private senator’s bill about improving fuel emissions has  been tabled.. These developments raise the question of the vehicle standards used in Australia. Can we do better? Can we also make our fuel go further? Read more...

Security arrangements in Afghanistan from 2015 and beyond

While the foreign military presence in Afghanistan continues to decline, the number of civilian casualties is on the rise. By the end of 2014, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will take full responsibility for security across the country when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission comes to an end. A much reduced foreign military presence will remain in Afghanistan post-2014 and despite warnings anticipating increased threat levels from 2015–2017, the existing force of 352,000 ANSF personnel are expected to be reduced to 228,500 by the end of 2017—as agreed at the 2012 Chicago Summit. Read more...

Mental health week--5 to 12 October

Mental Health Week, commencing on 5 October, provides an opportunity for a national focus on mental health issues and coincides with World Mental Health Day which falls on 10 October. A range of community events are being planned and coordinated at the state level to raise awareness and help build mental well-being. Events are diverse and include morning teas, art exhibitions, sporting activities, workshops, balls, seminars and fundraisers and will be held in schools, workplaces, community facilities, galleries, ovals and parks.  The ABC has also programmed ‘Mental As’ to draw attention to mental health issues. Mental illness is common according to the Australian Bureau of... Read more...

Employed people or jobs: semantics or an important difference in terminology?

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.In March (2013), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released new analysis of the Australian labour market based on jobs. Their article, Estimating jobs in the Australian Labour Market, outlines the differences between the number of jobs and the number of employed people, and complements regular labour market data produced by the ABS. Estimates of the number of jobs were produced using the monthly Labour Force Survey, the quarterly Job Vacancies Survey and the 2007 Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation.Changes in estimates of employed people may mistakenly be referred to as jobs ’created’ or ‘lost’. However, a job is the (paid)... Read more...

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

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