Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament
Sir Edmund Barton’s death on 7 January 1920 ended one of the most distinguished and significant careers of any Australian in public life, spanning state and federal parliamentary service, over 16 years on the inaugural High Court bench and a leading role ushering in Australia’s Federation. Read more...
The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results showed a significant decline in the performance of Australian 15 year olds over time since PISA testing began in 2000. However, the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) for Year 9 students—who are a similar age—have shown a slight improvement in equivalent subjects since testing commenced in 2008. So why the difference? It might be because of how the questions are asked.
The release of 2017–18 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Income and Housing has enabled the update of a 2014 Venn diagram, depicting people who received Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance by their unemployment status. The diagram highlights the large number of people on these payments who are not defined by the ABS as unemployed. This new data builds on the material provided in ‘The unemployed and recipients of government unemployment benefits – differences explained’ (Australian Labour Market Statistics, July 2014). This information also helps to demonstrate the care required when interpreting ‘job seeker’ data, as this term... Read more...
The results of the Australian Election Study (AES) for the 2019 federal election have now been released, providing valuable insights into why Australians voted how they did. Read more...
The annual Mapping Social Cohesion report by the Scanlon Foundation provides survey results on Australians’ attitudes to social issues including population, immigration and multiculturalism. The 2019 report is the twelfth in the series, building on survey data collected since 2007. Read more...
On 27 November 2019, the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, introduced the Farm Household Support Amendment (Relief Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2019 (the Bill) to the House of Representatives. The Bill makes changes to the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) income and asset tests, to the requirements that apply to those conducting farm financial assessments and to the FHA activity supplement. Read more...
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released new data on the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP, formerly HECS) debts.
This FlagPost summarises the ATO HELP data. Previous versions were published for the 2017–18 financial year release, and the 2016–17 financial year 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 nearly $67.0 billion in 2018–19, up from $62.0 billion in 2017–18.
Figure 1: Total amount of outstanding HELP debt 2009–10 to 2018–19 financial years ($... Read more...
The Defence Service Homes Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into the Senate on 19 September 2019 and seeks to amend the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 to expand eligibility for coverage under the Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme. Read more...
Recently the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released
the 2018 Causes of Death (cat
no. 3303.0) report which provided detailed information on the number and
nature of deaths in Australia in 2018.
According to the ABS report:
In 2018, there were 158,493 registered deaths in Australia
and the number one cause was Ischaemic heart disease with 17,533 deaths (11 per
cent of all deaths). Even though the leading cause, the age-standardised death
rate from Ischaemic heart disease has decreased by 22.4 per cent since 2009, consistent
with declines in heart disease mortality observed now for more than 50 years. Read more...
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced that the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences will be awarded to three researchers for their work in reducing global poverty: Abhijit Banerjee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT), Esther Duflo (MIT), and Michael Kremer (Harvard). Notably, Dr Duflo is the youngest-ever economics laureate and only the second woman. This FlagPost provides background to the contributions of the laureates and some Australian context. Read more...
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