Filter by June, 2015

Where to for income management?

Patrick McClure’s February 2015 report on welfare reform urged a cautious approach to the expansion of income management, arguing that it should be used ‘judiciously’ and recommending that any changes should be informed by evaluations. The evaluation research released so far suggests that income management is most effective when it is voluntary or is applied to participants after considering their individual circumstances. However experience shows that assessing clients individually is time consuming and costly and that relying on volunteers limits numbers. Both could prevent the scheme achieving economies of scale. Read more...

Highest levels of global forced displacement on record—World Refugee Day 20 June 2015

On World Refugee Day—celebrated on 20 June every year—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports on global displacement trends using data collected over the previous calendar year. This time last year the UNHCR reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide had exceeded 50 million people for the first time since World War II. This year, in its publication Global Trends 2014, the UNHCR is reporting the highest levels of displacement on record—59.5 million people (19.5 million refugees, 38.2 million internally displaced people and 1.8 million asylum seekers).  Read more...

The vulnerability of Native Title?

Queensland v Congoo [2015] HCA 17, a recent High Court case, has implications for Native Title holders throughout the country.  It may also have implications for the High Court’s management of cases with an even number of judges. Recent changes in personnel within the High Court have led to a number of decisions being made with a bench of six, rather than the full seven, judges.  This has in turn led to some decisions being made with a 3:3 split.  In such cases, under section 23 of the Judiciary Act 1903, the decision being appealed from is left intact. The resulting judgments may be referred to as having a ‘statutory majority’, which offers less precede... Read more...

First time former opposing state/territory leaders in the same chamber

Gallagher’s appointment marks the first time since Federation (despite the numerous State and Territory politicians who have moved into federal politics over time) that a Premier or Chief Minister has faced their former adversary—the opposition leader during their time in office—in the same Chamber during the same Parliament. Read more...

The Department of Immigration: from building the nation to managing the border

On 1 July 2015 the Australian Border Force (ABF) will commence operations within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which will formally merge with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service on the same date. This will be the culmination of an integration process begun by the Abbott Government almost immediately upon taking office, when responsibility for customs and border protection was moved from the Attorney-General’s portfolio to the Immigration portfolio. The creation of the ABF, which was announced in the 2014–15 Budget, also marks a key milestone in the process of change which has seen the Department of Immigration shift its focus from nation bu... Read more...

Aboriginal advantage: an insider look at an Aboriginal community

In his National Reconciliation Week lecture to the Parliamentary Library, Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, proposed an alternative way of understanding life in Aboriginal communities through the concept of Aboriginal advantage. He declared, ‘You can all do a lot to help us by changing the way that you talk about us’. Dr Bamblett’s academic, teaching and community development work explores relationships between identity, representation and engagement in Aboriginal communities. He explains that telling positive stories can both change the unfavourable image that many Australians have of Aborig... Read more...

Norfolk Island: new legal and governance arrangements

Norfolk Island: new legal and governance arrangements On 14 May 2015 the Australian Parliament passed the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 and seven related Bills which, from 1 July 2016, will change the legal and governance framework for Norfolk Island (NI) and extends certain Australian health, welfare, taxation, quarantine and immigration services to the Island. 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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