AU: Prime Minister and Minister for Defence – Joint Media Release – Release of the 2013 Defence White Paper
Prime Minister and Minister for Defence – Joint Media Release – Release of the 2013 Defence White Paper
Source: Australian Government, Department of Defence
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defence Minister Stephen Smith today released the 2013 Defence White Paper.
The 2013 Defence White Paper complements the National Security Strategy released on 23 January 2013, and the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper released on 28 October 2012.
These three documents are a statement of the priority the Government places on Australia’s security and prosperity, and on maintaining a strong Australian Defence Force to meet Australia’s national security challenges.
The White Paper addresses the range of significant international and domestic developments since 2009, which influence Australia’s national security and defence settings, including their impact on force posture, future force structure and the Defence budget.
These developments include:
- the ongoing economic strategic and military shift to the Indo-Pacific;
- the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) operational drawdown from Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands;
- the United States’ re-balance to the Asia-Pacific;
- Australia’s substantially enhanced practical cooperation with the United States pursuant to our Alliance relationship; and
- the ongoing adverse effects of the Global Financial Crisis, which have continued to have a significant deleterious impact on the global economy, domestic fiscal circumstances and Defence funding.
The White Paper outlines the Government’s judgement that the strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific means growing prosperity, but also brings some uncertainty and risk.
Regional military modernisation is increasing the ability of nations to exert military power.
Source: International Monetary Fund
Growth in the Asia-Pacific region shows signs of improving as extreme risks emanating from advanced economies have receded and domestic demand remains resilient, supported by relatively easy financial conditions and robust labor markets. A small and gradual pick-up in growth to over 5¾ percent is projected in the course of 2013. Risks to the outlook from within the region, such as rising financial imbalances and asset prices in some economies, are coming clearer into focus. Although Asia’s banking and corporate sectors have solid buffers, monetary policymakers should stand ready to respond early and decisively to shifting risks, and macroprudential measures will also have a role to play. In many Asian economies, some fiscal consolidation could also rebuild the space needed to respond to future shocks and preempt potential overheating pressures from capital inflows. In particular, there is a growing need to make tax and spending policies more efficient. To sustain high growth rates and alleviate the “middle-income trap” across Emerging Asia, the policy agenda will vary by jurisdiction but will also often include strengthening infrastructure investment and reforming goods and labor markets.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
This publication presents information from the National Prisoner Census about persons held in Australian prisons on the night of 30 June 2012. The National Prisoner Census covers all prisoners in the legal custody of adult corrective services in adult prisons, including periodic detainees in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It excludes persons held in juvenile justice institutions, psychiatric custody and police custody. It is based on data extracted from administrative records held by the corrective services agencies in each Australian state and territory. These statistics provide a profile of the legal status, sentence details and demographic characteristics of Australian prisoners in the legal custody of adult prisons.
Users of this publication should note that it provides a statistical picture of the persons in prison at a point in time (30 June 2012), and does not represent the flow of prisoners during the year. The majority of prisoners in the annual Prisoner Census were serving long-term sentences for serious offences, whereas the flow of offenders in and out of prisons consists primarily of persons serving short sentences for lesser offences. Complementary information to this publication about Australian prisoners is available in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) quarterly publication, Corrective Services, Australia (cat. no. 4512.0).
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. On March 15, 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would seek to participate in the TPP negotiations. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial in November 2011, in Honolulu, HI. If concluded as envisioned, the TPP potentially could eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment among the parties and could serve as a template for a future trade pact among APEC members and potentially other countries. Congress has a direct interest in the negotiations, both through influencing U.S. negotiating positions with the executive branch, and by passing legislation to implement any resulting agreement.
The 16th round of negotiations concluded in Singapore on March 14, 2013, and the 17th round is scheduled to be held in Lima, Peru in May 2013. The current goal is to reach an agreement in time for the October 2013 APEC summit in Indonesia. For this deadline to be achieved, outstanding negotiating positions may need to be tabled soon in order for political decisions to be made. The negotiating dynamic itself is complex: decisions on key market access issues such as dairy, sugar, and textiles and apparel may be dependent on the outcome of controversial rules negotiations such as intellectual property rights or state-owned enterprises.
Twenty-nine chapters in the agreement are under discussion. The United States is negotiating market access for goods, services, and agriculture with countries with which it does not currently have FTAs: Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Negotiations are also being conducted on disciplines to intellectual property rights, trade in services, government procurement, investment, rules of origin, competition, labor, and environmental standards and other issues. In many cases, the rules being negotiated are intended to be more rigorous than comparable rules found in the WTO. Some topics, such as state-owned enterprises, regulatory coherence, and supply chain competitiveness, break new ground in FTA negotiations. As the countries that make up the TPP negotiating partners include advanced industrialized, middle income, and developing economies, the TPP, if implemented, may involve substantial restructuring of the economies of some participants.
The TPP serves several strategic goals in U.S. trade policy. First, it is the leading trade policy initiative of the Obama Administration, and is a manifestation of the Administration’s “pivot” to Asia. If concluded, it may serve to shape the economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region by harmonizing existing agreements with U.S. FTA partners, attracting new participants, and establishing regional rules on new policy issues facing the global economy—possibly providing impetus to future multilateral liberalization under the WTO.
As the negotiations proceed, a number of issues important to Congress are emerging. One is whether the United States can balance its vision of creating a “comprehensive and high standard” agreement with a large and expanding group of countries, while not insisting on terms that other countries will reject. Another issue is how Congress will consider the TPP, if concluded. The present negotiations are not being conducted under the auspices of formal trade promotion authority (TPA)—the latest TPA expired on July 1, 2007—although the Administration informally
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
As part of its strategy to rebalance toward Asia the Obama Administration has greatly expanded cooperation and reestablished close ties with New Zealand. Changes in the security realm have been particularly notable as the two sides have restored close defense cooperation, which was suspended in the mid-1980s due to differences over nuclear policy. The two nations are now working together increasingly closely in the area of defense and security cooperation while also seeking to coordinate efforts in the South Pacific. The United States and New Zealand are also working together to help shape emerging architectures in the Asia-Pacific such as the 11-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement negotiation in which New Zealand has played a key role.
Members of Congress interested in oversight of the Obama Administration’s rebalancing to Asia strategy and the United States’ presence in the South Pacific as well as Members associated with the Friends of New Zealand Congressional Caucus may be interested in these new developments in the bilateral relationship. Congressional interest has also been demonstrated through Members’ participation in the Pacific Partnership Forum with New Zealand.
In discussing how the United States is updating alliances to address new demands and “building new partnerships,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cited in November 2011 the outreach effort to New Zealand, among other countries, as “part of a broader effort to ensure a more comprehensive approach to American strategy and engagement in the region.” She added that “We are asking these emerging partners to join us in shaping and participating in a rulesbased regional and global order.” It is of interest to note that New Zealand, a nation that like Australia has fought alongside the United States in most of its wars, is now being reconceived as a “new” partner.
While the current right-of-center government of Prime Minister John Key has moved forward in restoring bilateral ties with the United States, some analysts in New Zealand are concerned that if this trend is taken too far it may threaten New Zealand’s trade interests with China. Others in New Zealand are also concerned that moving too far too fast with the United States may jeopardize New Zealand’s independence in foreign policy.
The Obama Administration’s move away from old restrictions on bilateral ties, as demonstrated by the opening of U.S. naval ports to New Zealand ships, will likely continue to move bilateral ties forward. This desire on both sides to continue to strengthen relations was demonstrated by the 2010 Wellington Declaration and the 2012 Washington Declaration. In the view of many, the improvement in bilateral relations marked by these two agreements will better enable both nations to navigate the shifting geopolitical dynamics of both the South Pacific and the larger the Asia Pacific region, including the rise of China. New Zealand’s national identity, values, and economic interests will all likely influence its external engagement in the years ahead. Values, as well as interests, have played a role in explaining past differences between the United States and New Zealand and why the two nations are once again close Pacific partners.
Telecommunications and Lawful Access: The Legislative Situation in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia
Source: Library of Parliament, Canada
This paper deals with “lawful access,”an investigative technique used by law enforcement agencies and national security agencies. It involves the interception of communications and seizure of information during a search, where authorized by law.
Source: International Monetary Fund
This paper seeks to document key characteristics of small island states in the Pacific. It restricts itself to a limited number of indicators which are macro-orientated – population, fertility of land, ability to tap into economies of scale, income, and geographic isolation. It leaves aside equally important but more micro-orientated variables and development indicators. We show that small island states in the Pacific are different from countries in other regional groupings in that they are extremely isolated and have limited scope to tap economies of scale due to small populations. They often have little arable land. There is empirical evidence to suggest that these factors are related to income growth.
The AIC undertook a literature review on single person police patrols both in Australia and internationally. This report examines challenges faced by first-response police officers when working alone and the impact this had on them, operational decisions to deploy single person patrols and how the community view this issue. It concludes that there has been limited research on single person patrols in policing and of the research findings available in the literature, results are mixed and updated research needs to be undertaken.
Report card shows Australia’s oceans are changing
Source: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Launched today, the 2012 Marine Climate Change in Australia Report Card demonstrates that climate change is having significant impacts on Australia’s marine ecosystems.
The report card provides information about the current and predicted-future state of Australia’s marine climate and its impact on our marine biodiversity. The report card also outlines actions that are underway to help our marine ecosystems adapt to climate change.
Key findings show
- warming sea temperatures are influencing the distribution of marine plants and animals, with species currently found in tropical and temperate waters likely to move south
- new research suggests winds over the Southern Ocean and current dynamics are strongly influencing foraging of seabirds that breed in south-east Australia and feed close to the Antarctic each summer
- some tropical fish species have a greater ability to acclimatise to rising water temperatures than previously thought
- the Australian science community is widely engaged in research, monitoring and observing programs to increase our understanding of climate change impacts and inform management
- adaptation planning is happening now, from seasonal forecast for fisheries and aquaculture, to climate-proofing of breeding sites for turtles and seabirds.
See: Report Card Shows Australia’s Oceans Are Changing (Science Daily)
Firearm trafficking and serious and organised crime gangs
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
Despite strict regulations on the import, export, ownership, use, transfer and storage of licit firearms, there exists in Australia a potentially large pool of illicit firearms, some of which are acquired, stockpiled and used for serious and organised crime. This report follows a modest group of publicly released examinations of firearm trafficking operations in Australia, to describe what can be determined about the composition and maintenance of the illicit firearm market, its use by serious and organised crime groups and the diversity of transaction arrangements used to vend illicit firearms.
Big investments needed in Asia-Pacific’s dwindling natural capital
Source: World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Booming economic development and per-capita consumption across the Asia-Pacific region is burning up more natural resources than are available, placing enormous pressure on the region’s already heavily taxed forests, rivers and oceans, says a new WWF report on the value of Asia’s natural capital.
Produced in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Ecological Footprint and Investment in Natural Capital in Asia and the Pacific report – a regional perspective on elements of the recently-released Living Planet Report – focuses on attainable methods of preserving key regional ecosystems including the unique forests of Borneo, the marine wealth of the Coral Triangle, the Mekong region’s diverse habitats, as well as the mountainous Eastern Himalayas.
The new report uses the Living Planet Index (LPI) to measure changes in the health of ecosystems across the Asia-Pacific region. The global index fell by 28 per cent from 1970 and 2008, while the Indo-Pacific region saw a shocking 64 per cent decline in key populations of species over the same period.
Shrinking budgets are driving fundamental changes to the size and shape of governments around the world. Leaders are exploring a more compact, dynamic government workforce, and in turn, their underlying asset needs are changing. Simply put, a reduced workforce translates to reduced property needs. But tackling the effective management of one of government’s largest spending areas is easier said than done.
While each government faces its own unique set of barriers to improving property management, there are a number of critical success factors to creating and employing smart property strategies. This report examines five areas that would enable more streamlined and efficient handling of government property through best practices and examples from across the globe.