FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Australian oil refineries and fuel security

Less than one month after provision was made in the 2020–21 Budget for the design and implementation of a market mechanism to support domestic refineries, BP Australia announced it would cease fuel production at its Kwinana Refinery. Once this refinery is wound down over the next six months, Australia will have three remaining fuel refineries. The continued reduction in refinery numbers has implications for Australia’s liquid fuel security. Read more...

Australia and International health data comparisons, 2020

Australians generally enjoy good health by world standards. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released a new data visualisation tool comparing Australia’s performance across a range of health-related measures with the data of 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries. Findings are reported online in International health data comparisons, 2020. Australia performs well on indicators including life expectancy, infant mortality, perceived health, smoking, and road accidents. Australia does not perform as well on measures of obesity and alcohol consumption. We have a relatively high rate of pertussis (whooping cough) infection... Read more...

Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia's National Security) Bill 2020

The Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia's National Security) Bill 2020 (the Bill) amends the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the FATA) to improve and update the operation of Australia’s foreign investment framework in relation to national security, compliance monitoring and enforcement and integrity, while remaining welcoming and open to foreign investment. The proposed changes follow the government’s policy announcement on 5 June 2020, and Treasury’s subsequent consultation on the draft reforms in August and September. Current foreign investment framework Australia&rsquo... Read more...

Electoral Amendment (Territory Representation) Bill 2020

Twelve months after the 46th Parliament first sat, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) fulfilled its legislative requirements and determined how many members of the House of Representatives each state and territory was entitled to for the next election (the redistribution process is described in a 2017 Library paper). The application of the entitlement determination formula, which compares the populations of the states, resulted in the Northern Territory (NT) being reduced to one seat, from two. The Government has now introduced legislation which seeks to bring the representation of the NT back to two seats. Read more...

The dismissal: 45th anniversary

11 November 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government in 1975. The dismissal of the Whitlam Government by Governor-General Sir John Kerr was perhaps the most dramatic and controversial event in Australia’s constitutional and political history. Read more...

100th anniversary of the expulsion of Hugh Mahon from the House of Representatives

One hundred years ago, on 11 and 12 November 1920, the House of Representatives debated and agreed to a motion proposed by the Prime Minister, Billy Hughes (Nat., Bradfield, NSW), expelling Hugh Mahon (ALP, Kalgoorlie, WA) from the House. Mahon’s expulsion is the only occasion on which either House of the Commonwealth Parliament has expelled one of its members. Read more...

Updated Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt statistics—2019–20

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released new data on the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) debts, covering the 2019–20 financial year. This FlagPost summarises the ATO HELP data. Previous versions were published for the 2018–19 financial year release, 2017–18 financial year release, and the 2016–17 financial year release. Read more...

100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Australia

One hundred years ago, on 30 October 1920, a small number of members of existing Australian socialist groups met in Sydney to form the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) (known as the Australian Communist Party between 1944 and 1951). Enthusiasm for the ideals of the Russian revolution prompted the attempt to unify these groups—although it appears that, at this early stage, they were not well informed about the concrete doctrines of Leninism. Disputes immediately arose within the newly formed CPA, leading to the existence of two communist parties until a further ‘unity conference’ in mid-1922 led to a reunification.      Read more...

Causes of death, 2019

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released the 2019 Causes of Death (cat no. 3303.0) report which provided detailed information on the number and nature of deaths in Australia in 2019. According to the ABS report: In 2019, there were 169,301 registered and received deaths in Australia and the number one cause of death was Ischaemic heart disease with 18,244 deaths (10.8 per cent of all deaths). Even though the leading cause, the age-standardised death rate from Ischaemic heart disease has decreased by 34.6 per cent since... Read more...

UN call for global ceasefires amidst COVID-19

On 23 March 2020 UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for ‘an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world’ to focus on diplomatic solutions that would allow life-saving aid to reach the most vulnerable people in conflict zones and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  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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