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.
Australia: Background and U.S. Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The Commonwealth of Australia and the United States enjoy a very close alliance relationship. Australia shares many cultural traditions and values with the United States and has been a treaty ally since the signing of the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) Treaty in 1951. Australia made major contributions to the allied cause in both the First and Second World Wars and has been a staunch ally of Britain and the United States. President Obama traveled to Australia in November 2011 to reaffirm and extend the bilateral ANZUS alliance. During his visit, upgrades to the alliance, including the stationing of U.S. Marines in northern Australia and increased rotations of U.S. Air Force planes, were announced by President Obama and Labor Party Prime Minister Julia Gillard. This marks a significant reaffirmation of the alliance at a time of shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Asia-Pacific Region and is viewed by many as a key component of the Obama Administration’s “Pacific Pivot” or strategic rebalancing.
All recent Prime Ministers of Australia, including Prime Ministers Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, and John Howard, have reaffirmed Australia’s traditional view that the United States is a key source of stability in the Asia-Pacific region and remains Australia’s key ally and strategic partner. This view is also shared by opposition leader Tony Abbott of the right of centre Liberal Party. Prime Minister Julia Gillard became Prime Minister after an internal Labor Party struggle. Former Prime Minister Rudd has remained in the government as Gillard’s Foreign Minister. Prime Minister Gillard narrowly secured a second term as Prime Minister in August 2010 over the right of centre Liberal-National Coalition.
Under the former Liberal government of John Howard, Australia invoked the ANZUS treaty to offer assistance to the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001, in which 22 Australians were among those killed. Australia was one of the first countries to commit troops to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Terrorist attacks on Australians in Indonesia also led Australia to share many of the United States’ concerns in the struggle against Islamist militancy in Southeast Asia and beyond. The United States and the previous Howard Government signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and negotiated a Treaty on Defense Trade Cooperation.
Australia plays a key role in promoting regional stability in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific and supports international efforts to promote stability in Afghanistan. Australia has led peacekeeping efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, including East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and has supported U.S. efforts and worked closely with key regional states in the war against terrorism in Southeast Asia. These actions demonstrate Australia’s resolve to promote stability in Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and beyond.
The Australian economy has done relatively well as compared to other developed economies in recent years. GDP growth is expected to rise from 2.8% in 2012 to an annual rate of 3% for the period from 2013 to 2016. Australia is also expected to balance its budget in fiscal year 2012/13 (July-June). Australia’s Senate passed a carbon tax which the opposition has pledged to repeal if it wins the next elections expected in 2013. Australia is also working with the United States to craft the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to promote trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region.
Provides an on-line reference point for sources of data relating to Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) that are collected by, or on behalf of, Australian and State and Territory Government agencies. Directory entries provide information about the purpose, type of collection, frequency, history and range of FDV-related data available from each collection. Contact details, including links to source agencies are also provided as well as information about publications and further data availability for each source.
Australia is not immune to the risks of labour trafficking; labour shortages, sector tolerance to illegal work practices and the recruitment of vulnerable workers can result in labour exploitation (David 2010). The horticultural sector in Australia is experiencing some of these risks and Pacific Islanders are a vulnerable migrant group working in this sector.Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS) aims to create a safe pathway for unskilled or low-skilled Pacific Islanders to temporarily work in Australia’s horticultural sector. Recent research by the AIC suggests that addressing labour trafficking does not just involve prosecuting the most extreme cases but should also have a focus on preventing and reducing a broader spectrum of practices that create an environment that is tolerant, or even encouraging, of exploitation (David 2010). While the PSWPS is not an anti-trafficking program, it has been designed and piloted to prevent a broad spectrum of poor or illegal labour practices and therefore may assist to prevent labour trafficking in Australia and regionally. This paper provides an analysis of the PSWPS and examines emerging evidence about how the program manages risks of exploitation of overseas temporary workers from the Pacific Islands.
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Disability and Long Term Health Conditions, 2009 (cat. no. 4433.0) presents a suite of data cubes examining the relationship between disability and long term health conditions. The tables include broad level information on the numbers of people with long term health conditions in each of the States of Australia (ACT and NT are not included). They also include information on some of the most common long term health conditions, the degree to which these restrict people with disability and the causes underlying main conditions.
Several tables provide detailed information on five impairment groups – sensory, intellectual, physical, psychological and head injury (an impairment is where there is loss or abnormality in body structure or the way in which the body or mind work). Impairment groups are examined with relation to living arrangements and to the restrictions particular impairments place on daily living (personal care, schooling and employment). There is also information on the need for, and receipt of, assistance in relation to impairment groups.
Several tables provide information on specific age groups – children (0-14 years), working age adults (15-64 years) and people aged 65 years and over.
Current data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research identifies that violent crime is stable or falling in most categories however the potential for victims to be traumatised by stories in the media continues to be a challenge.
Respectful Reporting: Victims of Violent Crime Media Strategy promotes responsible reporting of violent crime and encourages the media to consider the potential impact that their report could have on a victim. The NSW Government, led by the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice (DAGJ) will work in partnership with the media, Government and non-Government agencies and victims to achieve the goals of the strategy.
The Respectful Reporting: Victims of Violent Crime Media Strategy has been developed in consultation with DAGJ, Homicide Victims Support Group (Aus) Inc (HVSG), Victims of Crime Assistance League (VOCAL), Enough is Enough, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), as well as the Department of Human Services NSW – Ageing, Disability and Home Care and the Violence Prevention Coordination Unit, Office for Women’s Policy, NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet, and provides key policy directions and priorities for the next two years.
The strategy has also been developed in collaboration with the Journalism Education Association of Australia (JEAA). We acknowledge the work they have already done in this area and look forward to continuing this collaborative approach.
This publication presents a statistical overview of sport and recreation in Australia, using the latest data available from a diverse range of ABS and other collections. The dominant focus is on sport and physical recreation, with data also being presented for other selected leisure areas.
Misperceptions about child sex offenders
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
Sexual offending against children is a highly emotive issue. It is nonetheless important that public policy initiatives to prevent and/or respond to child sexual abuse are based on the available evidence about child sex offenders.
This paper addresses five common misperceptions about the perpetrators of sexual offences against children. Specifically, the issues addressed include whether all child sex offenders are ‘paedophiles’, who sexually abuse children, whether most child sex offenders were victims of sexual abuse themselves, rates of recidivism among child sex offenders and the number of children sex offenders typically abuse before they are detected by police.
The evidence outlined in this paper highlights that there are few black and white answers to these questions. Perpetrators of sexual crimes against children are not, contrary to widespread opinion, a homogenous group. Rather, there are a number of varied offending profiles that characterise child sex offenders. Gaining an understanding of the nuances of this offender population is critical if children are to be protected from sexual abuse.
The manner in which terrorist organisations finance their activities became a policy focal point after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Non-profit organisations, and charities in particular, were identified as potentially significant contributors to terrorism financing. This premise was based on known links between charitable giving and prominent terrorist groups, and the vulnerabilities of the non-profit sector to misuse.
Money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks to the Australian non-profit sector are thought to be low. However, the impact of such misuse is inevitably high. One of the underlying premises in combating non-profit misuse has been the application of a response proportionate to risk. Australia has based its response on education, sector outreach and peak body codes of conduct, alongside more conventional forms of regulatory control.
This paper examines vulnerabilities to ML/TF misuse and the publicly available evidence for actual misuse. It is suggested that the Australian response could incorporate a more uniform commitment from the sector to adopting risk-based strategies, with government providing education for the sector that is based on the identification of specific points of vulnerability.
A Perspective on Research Challenges in Information Security
Source: Australian Government Department of Defence (Defence Science and Technology Organisation)
This report considers a number of selected areas of security technology and practice. The focus is on exposing and highlighting research gaps and opportunities in the current security state of the art within these areas, both in terms of implementation practice and of the literature.
FACT SHEETS: U.S. and Australia Bilateral Meeting
Source: White House
Attached are fact sheets pertaining to the bilateral meeting that President Obama conducted with Prime Minister Gillard. (PDFs)
Deaths, Australia, 2010
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
This publication brings together statistics on deaths and mortality in Australia. Data refer to deaths registered during the calendar year shown, unless otherwise stated. State or territory relates to state or territory of usual residence, unless otherwise stated.
Populations used in the calculation of death rates for 2006 and earlier years are the final estimated resident population by age and sex based on results of the 2006 Census of Population and Housing (2006 Census) and earlier censuses. Death rates for 2009 are calculated using revised 30 June 2009 estimated resident population, while rates for 2010 are calculated using preliminary 30 June 2010 estimated resident population.
New 2011 Survey of Patients with Complex Care Needs in Eleven Countries Finds That Care Is Often Poorly Coordinated
An international survey of adults living with health problems and complex care needs found that patients in the United States are much more likely than those in 10 other high-income countries to forgo needed care because of costs and to struggle with medical debt. In all the countries surveyed, patients who have a medical home reported better coordination of care, fewer medical errors, and greater satisfaction with care than those without one.
- Sicker adults in the U.S. stood out for having cost and access problems. More than one of four (27%) were unable to pay or encountered serious problems paying medical bills in the past year, compared with between 1 percent and 14 percent of adults in the other countries. In the U.S., 42 percent reported not visiting a doctor, not filling a prescription, or not getting recommended care. This is twice the rate for every other country but Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.
- In the U.S., cost-related access problems and medical bill burdens were concentrated among adults under age 65. Compared with Medicare-aged adults 65 or older, adults under 65 were far more likely to go without care because of the cost or to have problems paying bills.
- Adults with complex care needs who received care from a medical home—an accessible primary care practice that knows their medical history and helps coordinate care—were less likely to report experiencing medical errors, test duplication, and other care coordination failures. They were also more likely to report having arrangements for follow-up care after a hospitalization and more likely to rate their care highly.
- Sicker adults in the U.K. and Switzerland were the most likely to have a medical home: nearly three-quarters were connected to practices that have medical home characteristics, compared with around half in most of the other countries.
Policing licensed premises in the Australian Capital Territory
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
There is an old joke that says that an Australian’s definition of a drinking problem is being in a situation where you can’t get a drink. This reflects Australia’s well-established reputation for being a community where the consumption of alcohol, frequently at excessive and harmful levels, is associated with many forms of entertainment and participation in social events. In other words, the association between alcohol consumption and the enjoyment of social activity is a deeply embedded cultural phenomenon.
However, the evidence relating to the range of individual and social harms associated with alcohol misuse is strong. In 2007, one in four Australians were a victim of alcohol-related verbal abuse, 13 percent were put in fear and 4.5 percent of Australians aged 14 years or older had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol (AIHW 2008). The rates of physical and verbal abuse by a person affected by alcohol are more than twice the rate for other drug types. Alcohol-related crime and disorder also has a significant adverse impact upon the perceptions of safety among the broader community.
At the same time, Australia also has a substantial reputation for developing and implementing innovative policy approaches to trying to reduce the harms associated with excessive alcohol use and violence in particular. Many of these initiatives have been focused on regulatory responses that target licensed premises and liquor outlets. Licensed premises are a high-risk setting for alcohol-related violence, with a large proportion of assaults occurring in or within very close proximity to hotels and nightclubs. Furthermore, both patrons and staff of licensed premises are at a heightened risk of becoming involved in a violent incident compared with other locations.
Over the years, police and liquor regulatory authorities, often in partnership with liquor licensees, have committed significant effort and resources to efforts to improve the overall safety of drinking venues and the overall amenity of the nearby community. Unfortunately, often what has been missing from such efforts has been any systematic assessment of their relative effectiveness and methods for sharing the lessons learned.
This report is part of an attempt to redress this knowledge deficit. Undertaken in close partnership with Australian Capital Territory Policing (ACTP), the project was a detailed study of the effectiveness of a series of policing measures implemented by the ACTP over several months to reduce and prevent alcohol-related violence in and around licensed premises and entertainment precincts in the ACT.
As with similar studies previously conducted here and overseas, the project found mixed results in relation to effectiveness. However, the project was able to help identify and explain what things were working and why, thereby providing a series of evidence-based recommendations for future policing in this area, many of which it is pleasing to note have already been adopted by ACTP.
Country Analysis Brief: Australia
Source: Energy Information Administration
Australia has considerable petroleum, natural gas and coal reserves and is one of the few countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that is a significant net hydrocarbon exporter, exporting about two-thirds of its total energy production. Australia was the world’s largest coal exporter and, according to Cedigaz, the fourth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2010, after Qatar, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Australia is a net importer of crude oil and refined petroleum products, but a net exporter of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Hydrocarbon exports accounted for 34 percent of total commodity export revenues in its fiscal year 2009-2010.Australia’s stable political environment, substantial hydrocarbon reserves, and proximity to Asian markets make it an attractive place for foreign investment.
Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, 2009-10
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
This is the final release from the 2009-10 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS) and presents summary data for a selection of topics including nature of business ownership, collaborative arrangements, franchising agreements, performance measures, barriers, government financial assistance, finance sought, innovation, business use of information technology, skills, markets and competition. Data included are additional to those outputs from the BCS released earlier this year in Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2009-10 (cat. no. 8166.0) and Business Use of Information Technology, 2009-10 (cat. no. 8129.0).
New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths, Lagging Behind as Others Improve More Rapidly
New Study: U.S. Ranks Last Among High-Income Nations on Preventable Deaths, Lagging Behind as Others Improve More Rapidly
Source: Commonwealth Fund (Health Policy)
The United States placed last among 16 high-income, industrialized nations when it comes to deaths that could potentially have been prevented by timely access to effective health care, according to a Commonwealth Fund–supported study that appeared online in the journal Health Policy this week and will be available in print on October 25th as part of the November issue. According to the study, other nations lowered their preventable death rates an average of 31 percent between 1997–98 and 2006–07, while the U.S. rate declined by only 20 percent, from 120 to 96 per 100,000. At the end of the decade, the preventable mortality rate in the U.S. was almost twice that in France, which had the lowest rate—55 per 100,000.
In “Variations in Amenable Mortality—Trends in 16 High Income Nations,” Ellen Nolte of RAND Europe and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed deaths that occurred before age 75 from causes like treatable cancer, diabetes, childhood infections/respiratory diseases, and complications from surgeries. They found that an average 41 percent drop in death rates from ischemic heart disease was the primary driver of declining preventable deaths, and they estimate that if the U.S. could improve its preventable death rate to match that of the three best-performing countries—France, Australia, and Italy—84,000 fewer people would have died each year by the end of the period studied.
“This study points to substantial opportunity to prevent premature death in the United States. We spend far more than any of the comparison countries—up to twice as much—yet are improving less rapidly,” said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen. “The good news is we know lower death rates are achievable if we enhance access and ensure high-quality care regardless of where you live. Looking forward, reforms under the Affordable Care Act have the potential to reduce the number of preventable deaths in the U.S. We have the potential to join the leaders among high-income countries.”
Diabetes in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition in which the body is deficient in producing or using insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose levels . People with diabetes have difficulty converting glucose from foods such as breads and cereals into energy, which leads to high levels of blood glucose (also known as hyperglycaemia). Prolonged hyperglycaemia can result in a range of complications, including slow-healing cuts and sores, decreased vision and nerve damage causing cold or insensitive feet . If left undiagnosed or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, limb amputations or blindness. Diabetes has a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and their ability to fully participate in their community, and has the potential to reduce quality of life and life expectancy .
There are three main types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterised by a severe lack of insulin produced in the pancreas, and is most commonly diagnosed from early childhood to the late 30′s. People with Type 1 diabetes need insulin replacement for survival. Type 2 diabetes is characterised by insufficient levels of insulin or the body’s ineffective use of insulin and develops most often in middle or older age. Gestational diabetes is characterised by higher blood glucose levels appearing for the first time during pregnancy in women not previously diagnosed with other forms of diabetes. This type of diabetes is generally short-term but may precede the development of Type 2 diabetes .
The number of people worldwide with diabetes is increasing, with an estimated two people developing diabetes every 10 seconds . The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas estimates that diabetes prevalence for 2010 has risen to 285 million people, representing 6.6% of the world’s adult population. (The rate of diabetes in Australia (3.8%) is relatively low compared with North America and the Caribbean (10.2%), Middle East and North Africa (9.3%), and South East Asia (7.6%)). By 2030, around 438 million people worldwide are projected to have diabetes .