FlagPost

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

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FlagPost — Parliamentary Library Blog

Community attitudes towards violence against women

The National Community Attitudes toward Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) is the world’s longest-running survey of community attitudes towards violence against women. Results from the latest survey are mixed; levels of awareness have generally risen but there are still areas of concern. Read more...

Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 was introduced in the House of Representatives on 28 November 2018 by the Attorney-General. The Bill seeks to amend the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act 2018 (FITS Act) and the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Act 2018 (NSLA Act). The Bill is supported by the Opposition and passed the House of Representatives on 4 December 2018. Read more...

The use of weapons and use of force by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service

The Government introduced the Intelligence Services Amendment Bill 2018 on 29 November 2018. The Bill is being considered by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and is listed for debate in both Houses of Parliament this week. The key amendments in the Bill include allowing: the Minister for Foreign Affairs to specify additional persons (or classes of persons) who may be protected by Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) staff members and agents outside Australia under Schedule 2 to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (ISA) (which provides for limited provision of weapons, and use of and training in the use of weapons and self-defence technique... Read more...

Commonwealth officer as Observer at NHFIC Board meetings

Established on 30 June 2018, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) is a statutory authority that: makes loans, investments and grants for enabling infrastructure that supports new housing, particularly affordable housing; and provides cheaper and longer-term financing to registered community housing providers through Australia's first national Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA). The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Act 2018 (NHFIC Act) includes a provision for a Commonwealth officer to be appointed as an Observer to attend NHFIC Board meetings. This Flagpost discusses the statutory Observer position in the context of the review of corp... Read more...

Personal Safety of People with Disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released further results from the 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which focus on experiences of violence and personal safety of people with disability. This FlagPost provides a summary of these results. Read more...

Removing GST on feminine hygiene products

On 3 October 2018, the Commonwealth, state and territory treasurers unanimously agreed to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from ‘feminine hygiene products’ from 1 January 2019. GST has been applied to these products since its introduction in 2000. In recent years there has been considerable pressure to remove it. Read more...

Same-sex couples embrace the tradition of marriage

  After many years of public and parliamentary debate, and a postal survey designed to settle the question of public support, marriage equality in Australia became a reality on 9 December 2017. From that date, the right to marry under Australian law is no longer determined by sex or gender. Read more...

A longevity insurance scheme?

A longevity insurance scheme? Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has recently renewed his call for a government longevity insurance scheme. The proposal, which Mr Keating has also referred to as ‘Super Mark 2,’ or ‘Super Phase 2,’ is to introduce a levy on wage earners, which would be used by the government to insure older Australians against some of the costs incurred in old age. This FlagPost examines Keating’s proposal, and considers the historical treatment of national insurance proposals in the area of superannuation, which have been bedevilled by issues of complexity and affordability. Is there a need for the scheme? The Superannuation Guarantee, which w... Read more...

Social Security Commission Bill 2018

The Social Security Commission Bill 2018 is a private member’s bill introduced by Cathy McGowan, the Member for Indi, on 20 August 2018. The Bill’s purpose is to create an independent commission to review the adequacy of social security payments. While it would make recommendations, it would not be responsible for setting payment rates. In her Second Reading Speech, Ms McGowan said: ‘I believe social security recipients should be able to have a standard of living that allows them to live with dignity.’ The Bill is supported by Rebekha Sharkie, the Centre Alliance member for Mayo. It is opposed by the Government. The then Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan rejecte... Read more...

Will the new Future Drought Fund leave the Education Investment Fund high and dry?

On 26 October, the Coalition Government announced it would create a new Future Drought Fund, with initial investment to come from transferring the $3.9 billion uncommitted balance of the Building Australia Fund, one of the Nation-building Funds originally created by the Gillard Labor Government. The announcement has raised the question of the status of the other remaining Nation-building Fund, the Education Investment Fund (EIF).  This FlagPost provides an overview of the EIF to assist in understanding its current status. It updates some of the information provided in the Medicare Levy Amendment (National Disability Insurance Scheme Funding) Bill 2017 [and] related Bills Bills Digest. ... Read more...

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