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: 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
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.
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.
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.
Pivot to the Pacific? The Obama Administration’s ‘Rebalancing’ Toward Asia (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
In the fall of 2011, the Obama Administration issued a series of announcements indicating that the United States would be expanding and intensifying its already significant role in the Asia- Pacific, particularly in the southern part of the region. The fundamental goal underpinning the shift is to devote more effort to influencing the development of the Asia-Pacific’s norms and rules, particularly as China emerges as an ever-more influential regional power. Given that one purpose of the “pivot” or “rebalancing” toward the Asia-Pacific is to deepen U.S. credibility in the region at a time of fiscal constraint, Congress’s oversight and appropriations roles, as well as its approval authority over free trade agreements, will help determine to what extent the Administration’s plans are implemented and how various trade-offs are managed.
Areas of Continuity. Much of the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific is a continuation and expansion of policies already undertaken by previous administrations, as well as earlier in President Obama’s term. Since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, the United States has given considerable time and emphasis to Southeast Asia and to regional multilateral institutions. Under President George W. Bush, the United States emphasized the strengthening of relations with existing allies in Asia, began moving toward a more flexible and sustainable troop presence in the region, concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea, brought the United States into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) FTA negotiations, and forged new partnerships with India and Vietnam. All of these steps have been furthered by the Obama Administration.
Transformational Elements. That said, there are a number of new aspects of the shift. The most dramatic lie in the military sphere. As part of a plan to expand the U.S. presence in the southwestern Pacific and make it more flexible, the Obama Administration has announced new deployments or rotations of troops and equipment to Australia and Singapore. U.S. officials have also pledged that planned and future reductions in defense spending will not come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific (nor of the Middle East). Additionally, underlying the “pivot” is a broader geographic vision of the Asia-Pacific region that includes the Indian Ocean and many of its coastal states.
Benefits, Costs, and Risks. Underlying the “pivot” is a conviction that the center of gravity for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and economic interests is being realigned and shifting towards Asia, and that U.S. strategy and priorities need to be adjusted accordingly. For many observers, it is imperative that the United States give more emphasis to the Asia-Pacific. Indeed, for years, many countries in the region have encouraged the United States to step up its activity to provide a balance to China’s rising influence.
There are a number of risks to the “pivot,” however. In an era of constrained U.S. defense resources, an increased U.S. military emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region might result in a reduction in U.S. military capacity in other parts of the world. Another budgetary consideration is that plans to restructure U.S. military deployments in Asia and minimize cuts in the Navy may run up against more restrictive funding constraints than plans yet assume. Additionally, the perception among many that the “rebalancing” is targeted against China could strengthen the hand of Chinese hard-liners. Such an impression could also potentially make it more difficult for the United States to gain China’s cooperation on a range of issues. Additionally, the prominence the Obama Administration has given to the initiative has raised the costs to the United States if it or successor administrations fail to follow through on public pledges made, particularly in the military realm.
Causes of Death, Australia, 2010
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
nformation contained in the preceding chapters of this publication refer to deaths registered during the 2010 calendar year. In this chapter, death statistics are based on a year of occurrence, that is, the year in which the death actually occurred, rather than the year it was registered. The presentation of year of occurrence data in this publication facilitates international comparisons.
There are a proportion of deaths that occur in a year which are not registered until subsequent years. The international standard for publishing on a year of occurrence basis is to include deaths registered within the relevant occurrence year, and deaths for that same occurrence year which are registered the year immediately following. For example, deaths occuring in 2009 that have been registered in both 2009 and 2010 are presented below.
Analysis of deaths in Australia has shown that the number of deaths registered after the second year are not significant; that is, there is a very small number of deaths registered after the second year.
Year of occurrence data allow for seasonal analysis, and data are not distorted by the effects of late registrations or changes in time lags in processing registrations. In those countries where registration systems are complete and timely, there is not a significant difference between the number of deaths derived on a year of registration basis and those on a year of occurrence basis.
For Australia, approximately 95% of deaths registered in a particular year occurred in that year. However, variations can occur in certain subsets of the population and for particular causes of death. For instance, while 94.8% of the total 140,760 deaths registered in 2009 occurred in the same year, only 86.7% of the 2,405 Indigenous deaths and 91.6% of 9,043 deaths due to External causes registered in 2009 occurred in that year. More detailed data for specific causes or population groups are available from the ABS on request.
Australian crime: Facts & figures: 2011
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
Australian Crime: Facts & Figures is an up-to-date snapshot of crime patterns and trends in Australia. It contains information on specific crimes, victims, offenders, the location of criminal acts and the operation of criminal justice systems—focusing on the work of police, courts and prisons.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The negotiating partners have expressed an interest in allowing this proposed “living agreement” to cover new trade topics and to include new members that are willing to adopt the proposed agreement’s high standards. To that end, Canada, Japan, and Mexico recently stated that they would seek consultations with the partner countries about the possibility of joining the negotiations.The TPP negotiations are of significant interest to Congress. Congressional involvement includes consultations with U.S. negotiators on and oversight of the details of the negotiations, and eventual consideration of legislation to implement the final trade agreement. In assessing the TPP negotiations, Members may be interested in understanding the potential economic impact and significance of TPP and the economic characteristics of the other TPP countries as they evaluate the potential impact of the proposed TPP on the U.S. economy and the commercial opportunities for expansion into TPP markets.This report provides a comparative economic analysis of the TPP countries and their economic relations with the United States. It suggests that the TPP negotiating partners encompass great diversity in population, economic development, and trade and investment patterns with the United States. This economic diversity and inclusion of fast-growing emerging markets presents both opportunities and challenges for the United States in achieving a comprehensive and high standard regional FTA among TPP countries.The proposed TPP and its potential expansion are important due to the economic significance of the Asia-Pacific region for both the United States and the world. The region is home to 40% of the world’s population, produces over 50% of global GDP, and includes some of the fastest growing economies in the world. While current TPP negotiating partners made up about 5% of U.S. trade in 2010, Asia-Pacific economies as a whole, made up over 60%.The United States is the largest TPP market in terms of both GDP and population. In 2010, nonU.S. TPP partners collectively had a GDP of $2.3 trillion, 16% of the U.S. level, and a population of 195 million, 63% of the U.S. level. Entry of Canada, Japan, and/or Mexico would increase the economic significance of the agreement on both these metrics. Among the TPP partners, the majority of overall U.S. trade and investment flows are with Australia and Singapore. In merchandise trade, however, the United States imports more from Malaysia than any other TPP country. Considering the TPP region collectively, over 25% of all U.S.-TPP imports and exports are in computers/electronic components. At the bilateral level, top U.S. exports are largely in the same major product categories, but top U.S. imports vary considerably by country.There are four U.S. bilateral FTAs in place with current TPP partners: Australia, Chile, Peru, and Singapore. All other TPP partners except Peru, have agreements in place with five or more of the other TPP partners. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are members, accounts for much of this existing interconnectedness. Moreover, ASEAN agreements with larger regional economies (e.g., China, Japan, and Korea), present a second possible avenue for Asia-Pacific economic integration, albeit one that currently excludes the United States.