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Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences — for example, the level of cash use differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.

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AU — Crime and law enforcement: a quick guide to key Internet links

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Crime and law enforcement: a quick guide to key Internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides key Internet links to websites with information on crime and law enforcement arrangements and issues. Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department —the lead Commonwealth agency for criminal law, law enforcement policy, crime prevention and anti-corruption. Key pages include:
– crime and corruption—overview and links to more specific information including legislation and policy on organised crime, money laundering, people smuggling, human trafficking, cybercrime, foreign bribery, anti-corruption, illicit drugs and federal offenders
– crime prevention—information on the government’s crime prevention initiatives, including grants programs and
– international crime cooperation arrangements—information on extradition, mutual assistance and international transfer of prisoners processes and arrangements with other countries.

AU — National security: a quick guide to key Internet links

August 15, 2014 Comments off

National security: a quick guide to key Internet links
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This Quick Guide provides key Internet links to websites with information on national security arrangements and issues. Australian Government agencies and websites provides information on what governments are doing to protect Australia’s national security, outlines relevant legislation and the roles of federal and state and territory agencies in countering terrorism, and provides links to key Australian Government publications relating to national security. It also has a list of organisations identified as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and associated regulations, with links to statements of reasons and the Australian Government’s listing protocol.

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia

August 15, 2014 Comments off

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) declared an Islamic Caliphate spanning the area from Syria’s Aleppo governorate in the west, to Iraq’s province of Diyala in the east. The area under IS control now covers up to one third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, which previously had a strong Christian community, but who have now mostly been forced to flee. The IS was formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), and previously operated as a front organisation for Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) until Al-Qaeda broke ties with the group early this year. Although the group has been proscribed by Australia since 2005, it was only listed under the name Islamic State on 12 July 2014. Iraq’s national army and police force put up little resistance to the insurgents, and are reported to have abandoned their weapons and fled. However, Iraqi-Kurdistan in the far north-east tip of the country remains intact, and its military, the peshmerger, have secured Kirkuk, an oil rich city that the Kurds have previously laid claim to, but which is not recognised as part of Iraqi-Kurdistan.

Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 Jan 2014

August 14, 2014 Comments off

Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 Jan 2014
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

This publication presents statistics relating to vehicles which were registered at 31 January 2014 with a motor vehicle registration authority. Motor vehicle registration statistics reflect the information as recorded in registration documents.

Statistics are provided on vehicle types comprising passenger vehicles, campervans, light commercial vehicles, trucks, buses and motor cycles. Vehicle characteristic information includes make of vehicle, year of manufacture, type of fuel that the vehicle was registered as using, and Gross Vehicle Mass or Gross Combination Mass for trucks. The size of the motor vehicle fleet is also compared with the estimated resident population.

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This publication surveys lobbying codes of conduct and registers introduced by Australian federal and state governments and some overseas governments. Although lobbying is a legitimate practice and part of the democratic process, the 2014 hearings conducted by the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Commission Against Corruption have exposed weaknesses in lobbying rules. Initially Australian governments introduced very similar minimalist codes and registers. Two states, NSW and Queensland, have recently introduced stronger regimes but Australian codes are, in general, far weaker than the strong statutory regimes operating in Canada and the United States.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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