Filter by March, 2019

Corporate Tax Transparency Report

In the lead up to the next federal budget and election campaigns, issues of tax are likely to again come to the fore of public debate. An important element of the debate relates to the more than $95bn in expected taxes coming from company and resource rent taxes. The information contained in the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) publication of the Corporate Tax Transparency Report provides some insight into the amount of tax paid by the largest companies operating in Australia.  Read more...

Australia’s first federal election–29 and 30 March 1901
State Library of Queensland

Australia’s first federal election–29 and 30 March 1901

With speculation firming on May 11 as ‘the most likely date for a 2019 federal election’ it seems timely to mark the anniversary this week of Australia’s first federal election. Prime Minister Edmund Barton, who had been commissioned by Governor-General Lord Hopetoun to form an interim Government on 1 January 1901, opened the federal campaign with a speech at the West Maitland Town Hall, declaring: Ransack history, and you will find this is the first time in which it has been committed to one body of men to undertake … the government of a whole continent. ….. We shall in our electoral campaign have to deal with a whole continent, … and we shall have to... Read more...

The effect of calling an election on Senate estimates hearings

The possibility of the federal election being called soon after the 2019–20 Budget on 2 April 2019 raises the question of what will happen with the Senate estimates hearings that are scheduled to be held over 4–12 April. Would calling the election prevent estimates hearings going ahead? Could the Senate require hearings to go ahead despite the calling of an election? Read more...

Proscription of Hizballah: a change in the UK and how Australia compares

The United Kingdom has expanded its proscription of Hizballah from just the military wing to include the whole organisation, effective from 1 March 2019. The Home Secretary stated that he hoped Australia and New Zealand would be listening carefully, and that he would raise the matter at the Five Eyes ministerial to be held in the UK later this year. This FlagPost outlines the bans in place in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK, the UK Government’s rationale for the recent change, and the Australian Government’s response. Read more...

Australia and the Global Compact on Migration

In December 2018, 164 countries adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (the Compact) in Marrakech, Morocco. Australia was one of 17 countries to either vote against or abstain from the Compact at the United Nations General Assembly vote on 19 December 2018. This FlagPost outlines the development of the Compact and explores why Australia abstained from the vote. Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2017–18

The Department of Education and Training (DET) has released Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) data, updating last year’s release from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The DET HELP data is based on the ATO's annual HELP data report for 2017–18 (available from, and previous ATO annual HELP data reports. Further historical data is available in the ATO release. All figures are at 30 June for the relevant financial year. Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.  Total amount of outstanding HELP debt This release updates the total amount of outstanding HELP debt to $62.0 billion, up from $54.0 billion in 2016–17. Figure 1: Tot... Read more...

How hackable are Australian federal elections

Recent revelations that a ‘sophisticated’ foreign power had hacked computers in the Australian parliament and major Australian political parties, only months before an expected federal election, raises questions as to how vulnerable Australian elections are to hacking. Read more...

International Women's Day 2019

On Friday 8 March people around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. UN Women’s global theme for International Women’s Day 2019, ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’, links with the UN Commission on the Status of Women’s focus on social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure. 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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