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AU — The arts and culture: a quick guide to key internet links

July 22, 2014 Comments off

The arts and culture: a quick guide to key internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides links to:

  • Australian Government organisations responsible for the arts and culture
  • state and territory government websites
  • regional arts websites
  • non-government organisations websites and
  • international organisations.

It also provides links to a range of organisations by art form:

  • ballet and dance
  • film
  • libraries
  • literature
  • museums and galleries
  • music and opera
  • performing arts education
  • theatre and
  • visual arts.
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Australia’s female political leaders: a quick guide

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Australia’s female political leaders: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide draws together information about women who have held leadership positions in Australia from Federation to May 2014. It includes vice-regal appointments, presiding officers, government, opposition and parliamentary party leaders, and parliamentary party presidents.

This Quick Guide includes dates in office, positions held and significant firsts. It also includes women who have served as deputy leaders in the Commonwealth Parliament. The final table presents women who have held executive (non-parliamentary) leadership positions in the parliamentary parties.

This information has been compiled from a range of sources including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, the Australian Electoral Commission, vice-regal, parliamentary and political party websites, biographies and archives relating to women in politics, and media articles relating to individual appointments.

A hyperlink to individual biographies is included where available, together with selected online sources for further reading. Using the arrows that appear in the header, the information may be ordered by name, party, jurisdiction, chamber and year of election/appointment.

The Future of Driving in Developing Countries

July 17, 2014 Comments off

The Future of Driving in Developing Countries
Source: RAND Corporation

The level of automobility, defined as travel in personal vehicles, is often seen as a function of income: The higher a country’s per capita income, the greater the amount of driving. However, levels of automobility vary quite substantially between countries even at similar levels of economic development. This suggests that countries follow different mobility paths. The research detailed in this report sought to answer three questions: What are the factors besides economic development that affect automobility? What is their influence on automobility? What will happen to automobility in developing countries if they progress along similar paths as developed countries? To answer these questions, the authors developed a methodology to identify these factors, model their impact on developed countries, and forecast automobility (as defined by per capita vehicle-kilometers traveled [VKT]) in four developing countries. This methodology draws on quantitative analysis of historical automobility development in four country case studies (the United States, Australia, Germany, and Japan) that represent very different levels of per capita automobility, in combination with data derived from an expert-based qualitative approach. The authors used the latter to assess how these experiences may affect the future of automobility in the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. According to this analysis, automobility levels in the four BRIC countries will fall between those of the United States (which has the highest per capita VKT level of the four case studies) and Japan (which has the lowest). Brazil is forecasted to have the highest per capita VKT and India the lowest.

Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2012-13

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2012-13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Expenditure and human resources devoted to research and experimental development (R&D) carried out by government and private non-profit organisations in Australia, classified by socioeconomic objective, field of research, type of expenditure, type of activity, source of funds, type of employee and location of expenditure. Most data are expressed in current prices but key aggregates are also expressed in volume terms.

Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2014

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2014
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Provides a statistical overview of culture in Australia. Contains information on a range of topics including employment in culture, time spent on cultural activities, attendances at cultural venues and events, expenditure on culture, and imports and exports of cultural goods and services. Also provides profiles of the cultural sectors, grouped according to the Australian Culture and Leisure Industry Classification.

National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.

Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Intellectual disability is a term used to describe a reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (Endnote 1). The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) defines intellectual disability as “difficulty learning or understanding things.”

Australia’s Standard of Living to Drop 8 Percent by 2030, According to Accenture

June 18, 2014 Comments off

Australia’s Standard of Living to Drop 8 Percent by 2030, According to Accenture
Source: Accenture

Australia’s standard of living, defined as real GDP per capita, is in danger of declining by as much as 8 percent over the next 15 years unless the government addresses structural changes in the post-mining economy, the dislocation of jobs in several key industries, the employment skills gap and an aging workforce, according to a new report by Accenture.

The Accenture report, For Richer, For Poorer? Government’s Role in Preserving Standard of Living, suggests that changing demographics are responsible for several challenges straining the financial and human resources used to measure standard of living. As outlined in the report, workforce participation would need to increase by .31 percent per year, and productivity growth would need to climb .4 percent annually to simply maintain the current standard of living by 2030 (see chart below). Yet, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of employed working age adults has decreased by .7 percent over the last two years.

Australian Citizenship Standard, 2014, Version 1.2

June 17, 2014 Comments off

Australian Citizenship Standard, 2014, Version 1.2
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Citizenship is the variable which describes whether or not people are Australian citizens.

A question on nationality was first asked in the 1921 Census of Population and Housing. Respondents were required to indicate of which nation they were subjects by means of birthplace, parentage or naturalisation. From 1933 to 1976, nationality was asked. From 1976, the question has used the term ‘Citizenship’. In the 1981 Census, respondents were required to state their country of citizenship, whereas the 1986, and subsequent Australian Censuses, Census questions asked only whether the person was an Australian citizen.

Australian citizenship data for Statistical Area 1′s (SA1s) or Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSAs) are only available from the Census. Citizenship data at these lower geographic levels is regarded as essential by organisations such as the Australian Electoral Commission, various state electoral commissions and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) . Small area data on Australian citizenship enables the tracking of migration patterns of Australian citizens over time, gives an accurate indication of what proportion of the population is on the electoral roll and, from this latter information, enables electoral boundary redistribution.

Australian citizenship data is also collected for the purpose of assessing the number of people who are not Australian citizens but who may be residentially eligible to apply for citizenship.

AU — Indigenous affairs: a quick guide to key internet links

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Indigenous affairs: a quick guide to key internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides links to:
• the Council of Australian Government (COAG) key agreements under ‘Closing the Gap’
• a listing of Australian Government departments with responsibility for Indigenous affairs and their key programmes
• statistics and funding
• a map of ‘Aboriginal Australia’
• directories of Indigenous organisations and businesses
• key organisations outside Government departments
• state, territory and local government websites and
• overseas websites.

CRS — Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Guam: U.S. Defense Deployments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Since 2000, the U.S. military has been building up forward-deployed forces on the westernmost U.S. territory of Guam (west of Hawaii) to increase U.S. operational presence, deterrence, and power projection for potential responses to crises, disasters, or other contingencies to support Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), the Philippines, Taiwan, or others in Asia. Since 2006, joint exercises based at Guam called “Valiant Shield” have boosted U.S. military readiness in the Pacific. The defense buildup on Guam has been moderate. China has concerns, suspecting Guam’s buildup to be directed against China. There has been concern that China and North Korea could target Guam with missiles. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has increased activities in waters around Guam. Still, Guam’s role expanded in engaging with the PLA.

New Zealanders in Australia: a quick guide

June 10, 2014 Comments off

New Zealanders in Australia: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

Under various arrangements since the 1920s, there has been a free flow of people between Australia and New Zealand. Historically, migration flows across the Tasman have been large in both directions, but since the 1960s more New Zealanders than Australian have chosen to cross the Tasman to live. In 2011–12, the number of New Zealand permanent settlers who came to Australia was 44,304. This represents a 28 per cent increase from the figure for 2010‑11. As at June 2013 there were an estimated 640,770 New Zealand citizens present in Australia.

Under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement introduced in 1973, Australian and New Zealand citizens are able to enter each other’s country to visit, live and work indefinitely, without the need to apply for prior authority. New Zealand is the only country in the world that has such an arrangement with Australia. There are no caps on the numbers of New Zealanders who may enter under the arrangement, and the only limitations on entry relate to health and character requirements.

Examining Predictors of Help Giving Toward People With a Mental Illness: Results From a National Survey of Australian Adults

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Examining Predictors of Help Giving Toward People With a Mental Illness: Results From a National Survey of Australian Adults
Source: Sage Open

Little is known about factors influencing helping behaviors toward a person with mental illness. This study explored a range of predictors of helping intentions and behaviors using data from a national survey of Australian adults. Participants (n = 6,019) were randomly assigned one of six vignettes and asked how they would help the character if it was someone they knew and cared about, and asked whether and how they had helped a person in real life with a similar problem. Responses were scored using a system based on the Mental Health First Aid action plan. Regression analyses examined predictors of high helping scores in relation to type of disorder and respondent demographics, mental health literacy, and experiences with mental illness. Predictors of harmful responses and seeking advice on how to help appropriately were also assessed. Significant predictors varied by vignette, with the only consistent predictor being female gender. Participants aged under 30 provided less helpful responses to people with social phobia. Mental health literacy variables were inconsistently related to helping, whereas more stigmatizing attitudes significantly predicted harmful responses and poor helping scores. Targeting males and young people may improve rates of helpful responses. Education campaigns aiming to reduce stigma and increase knowledge of schizophrenia may also minimize potentially harmful actions.

AU — The Thai coup amid broader concerns

June 4, 2014 Comments off

The Thai coup amid broader concerns
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

The recent assumption of political control in Thailand by the military has induced concerns around the world, for diverse but not always openly-expressed reasons. Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha took power in Bangkok through a coup d’etat on 22 May and placed the country under martial law, suspending the Constitution and subsequently dissolving the Senate. A number of politicians, activists and academics has been interrogated and some detained. The Thai king has reportedly endorsed the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), through which military control is now exercised. The Australian Foreign Minister has indicated grave concern, while US Secretary of State John Kerry urged ‘the restoration of civilian government immediately, a return to democracy, and … early elections that reflect the will of the people’. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has cancelled upcoming military exercises with Thailand and various high-level visits. The expressed concerns lie, however, not solely with the long-term well-being of the people of Thailand, and thus the coup and related issues need to be viewed within a longer and broader frame. Key among these is that Thailand—a founder member of ASEAN, a pivot in mainland Southeast Asia and a long-term ally of western powers—is essential in the maintenance of Western influence in East Asia. Close US-Thai links extend back to the days of the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts, while Australia has also enjoyed long and generally steadfast relations with the kingdom.

East Asia Pacific at Work : Employment, Enterprise, and Well-being

May 9, 2014 Comments off

East Asia Pacific at Work : Employment, Enterprise, and Well-being
Source: World Bank

The unprecedented progress of East Asia Pacific is a triumph of working people. Countries that were low-income a generation ago successfully integrated into the global value chain, exploiting their labor-cost advantage. In 1990, the region held about a third of the world’s labor force. Leveraging this comparative advantage, the share of global GDP of emerging economies in East Asia Pacific grew from 7 percent in 1992 to 17 percent in 2011. Yet, the region now finds itself at a critical juncture. Work and its contribution to growth and well-being can no longer be taken for granted. The challenges range from high youth inactivity and rising inequality to binding skills shortages.

A key underlying issue is economic informality, which constrains innovation and productivity, limits the tax base, and increases household vulnerability to shocks. Informality is both a consequence of stringent labor regulations and limited enforcement capacity. In several countries, de jure employment regulations are more stringent than in many parts of Europe. Even labor regulations set at reasonable levels but poorly implemented can aggravate the market failures they were designed to overcome.

This report argues that the appropriate policy responses are to ensure macroeconomic stability, and in particular, a regulatory framework that encourages small- and medium-sized enterprises where most people in the region work. Mainly agrarian countries should focus on raising agricultural productivity. In urbanizing countries, good urban planning becomes critical. Pacific island countries will need to provide youth with human capital needed to succeed abroad as migrant workers. And, across the region, it is critical to ‘formalize’ more work, to increase the coverage of essential social protection, and to sustain productivity. To this end, policies should encourage mobility of labor and human capital, and not favor some forms of employment – for instance, full-time wage employment in manufacturing – over others, either implicitly or explicitly. Policies to increase growth and well-being from employment should instead reflect and support the dynamism and diversity of work forms across the region.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development: Perspectives from Asia and the Pacific

May 9, 2014 Comments off

The Global Forum on Migration and Development: Perspectives from Asia and the Pacific
Source: Migration Policy Institute

This issue brief explores the Asia-Pacific region’s active engagement in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) for the past seven years, and identifies the challenges and opportunities ahead in keeping this engagement alive. The brief argues that although GFMD was primarily designed as a venue for changing the discourse on migration, the success of its efforts to date and the pressing need for progress on the ground both indicate that it is time to assess how the Forum can facilitate concrete action.

Asia-Pacific countries have been both participants and leaders of the Forum. Virtually every country in the region has assigned representatives in GFMD’s network of country focal points, eight Asia-Pacific countries are part of the GFMD Steering Group, and a number have contributed to the roundtable and thematic meetings either as co-chairs or team members. Three countries from the region were also part of a 14-member Assessment Team that outlined the future of the Forum after 2012.

The region’s engagement has helped shape the themes and topics of GFMD meetings, but the challenges facing migrants and their families have not abated. To remain relevant, GFMD must become as instrumental in shaping the reality on the ground as it has been in shaping the global discourse on migration and development. The 2012 GFMD assessment shows participant states’ demand for a more development-focused and results-driven forum. Additionally, this year’s Forum is taking place in the lead up to the post-2015 development agenda discourse, and there are growing calls in the Asia-Pacific region for integrating migration into this agenda.

The brief, part of a joint series by MPI and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) offering succinct insights on migration issues affecting the Asia-Pacific region, recommends an enhanced linkage with regional fora and processes; a more dynamic people-to-people networking platform where policymakers can find partners, pilot projects, test ideas, and develop policy and programmatic tools; and a more focused, action-oriented, and results-driven process for the next five years.

Risk, uncertainty and opportunity in a changing tax landscape — 2014 Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey

May 8, 2014 Comments off

Risk, uncertainty and opportunity in a changing tax landscape — 2014 Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey
Source: Deloitte

How are tax policies affecting your business in Asia Pacific? In this year’s Asia Pacific Tax Complexity Survey Report, over 800 business told Deloitte how they feel about the tax regimes in 20 jurisdictions across the Asia Pacific region. This survey serves as a useful overview that we hope will help executives make more informed business decisions and enhance tax management practices in Asia Pacific.

Putting A Value On Priceless: An independent assessment of the return on investment of special libraries in Australia

April 29, 2014 Comments off

Putting A Value On Priceless: An independent assessment of the return on investment of special libraries in Australia (PDF)
Source: Australian Library and Information Association

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Health Libraries Inc (HLInc), ALIA Health Libraries Australia (HLA), and the Australian Law Librarians’ Association (ALLA) have collaborated to carry out this investigation into the return on investment of special library and information services in Australia.

The partners commissioned award-winning firm SGS Economics and Planning to survey special libraries across the nation and from this to assess the return on investment of these services to their organisations.

The definition of ‘special’ includes health, law, government, business, industry, media, research and other library and information services that are designed around a specific user group. These services are often hidden from public view, but are essential contributors to the knowledge-base of their organisations.

The survey took place between June and September 2013, and was supplemented by in-depth case studies.

The indicative result from this work is that special libraries have been found to return $5.43 for every $1 invested — and that’s a conservative estimate of their real contribution. For example, it takes into account the time saved by doctors, lawyers, corporate executives and political advisors searching for answers, but it does not take into account the improved quality of the results supplied by trained information specialists. It looks at how much it would cost users to have to buy the information they gain for free from the library, but it does not assess the savings achieved by library staff negotiating advantageous prices with information suppliers.

The Two-Step Australian Immigration Policy and its Impact on Immigrant Employment Outcomes

April 29, 2014 Comments off

The Two-Step Australian Immigration Policy and its Impact on Immigrant Employment Outcomes (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Three decades ago most immigrants to Australia with work entitlements came as permanent settlers. Today the annual allocation of temporary visas, with work entitlements, outnumbers permanent settler visas by a ratio of three to one. The new environment, with so many temporary visa holders, has led to a two-step immigration policy whereby an increasing proportion of immigrants come first as a temporary immigrant, to work or study, and then seek to move to permanent status. Around one half of permanent visas are allocated on-shore to those who hold temporary visas with work rights. The labour market implications of this new two-step system are substantial. Immigrants from non-English speaking countries (NES), are affected most. In their early years in Australia, they have substantially reduced full-time employment and substantially increased part-time employment, usually while attending an education institution. Three years after arrival one third of NES immigrants are now employed part-time which, rather than unemployment, is becoming their principal pathway to full-time labour market integration. Surprisingly, little has changed for immigrants from English speaking countries (ES).

NZ — Suicide Reporting

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Suicide Reporting
Source: Law Commission

The Report recommends that sections 71 to 73 of the Coroners Act 2006 that restrict the reporting of suicide be repealed and replaced by new provisions. Those provisions should only prohibit the reporting of the method of suicide and the fact that a death is a suicide. A person should be able to apply to the Chief Coroner for an exemption from those prohibitions. It also recommends that the Coroners Act requires the Minister of Health to prepare, in consultation with media and mental health experts, a new set of standards for reporting suicide, and to implement an ongoing programme to disseminate, promote, support and evaluate the implementation of those standards.

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