Analysis & Policy Observatory

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    Connecting the dots: Building the case for open data to fight corruption

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    This research, published with Transparency International, measures the progress made by five key countries in implementing the G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles. These principles, adopted by G20 countries in 2015, committed countries to increasing and improving the publication of public information, driving forward open data as a tool in anti-corruption efforts. However, this research – looking at Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa – finds a disappointing lack of progress. No country studied has released all the datasets identified as being key to anti-corruption and much of the information is hard to find and hard use. Key findings: No country released all anti-corruption datasets Quality issues means data is often not useful or useable Much of the data is not published in line with open data standards, making comparability difficult In many countries there is a lack of open data skills among officials in charge of anti-corruption initiatives Access the individual country case studies on the Web Foundation\u27s website

    Submission of the United Macedonian Diaspora (Australia) to the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper 2017

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    We call on the Australian Government to develop and implement a contemporary, independent and high quality foreign policy strategy based on evidence, ethics, social justice, solidarity and strategic partnerships. It must also be free from the corruptive influence of foreign political donations and domestic pressure groups. UMD supports the Australian Government’s agenda of developing a rigorous and relevant Foreign Policy White Paper that will better meet the needs of all Australians including the Australian Macedonian community.   In our submission, we ask the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament to finally recognise the Republic of Macedonia by its legitimate constitutional name as has been done by 137 nations at the UN.  We call upon Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten MP to show how much direct and indirect funding their parties have received from Hellenic sources since 1994 in order to segregate, delegitimise and discriminate against the Republic of Macedonia and against Macedonians living in the Hellenic Republic, in Australia and globally. Finally, we call upon Australia’s political leaders to formally apologise to Macedonia and its people around the world for this shameful, unethical, illegal and unsustainable foreign policy position that has harmed Australia’s national and international reputation and undermined peace, international laws and regional stability in Southeast Europe.&nbsp

    Tom Burton: separating fact and fiction

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    It is 34 years since the dollar was floated, arguably the single most important reform of the post-war period. And 34 years of argument between then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating (and their offices) about who actually led the push to liberalise the currency. The “Hawke” version is that Keating was reluctant to upset the status quo and had bought the alleged Treasury line, then led by John Stone, that it would lead to widespread market instability. The alternative view, promoted by Keating through several books and interviews, is that it was “old jellyback” Hawke, who, along with his chief economic adviser, Ross Garnaut, were worried about the disruption it would cause. To this day, depending who you talk to, you will get contradictory views from eye witnesses, many of whom remain among the economic elite of the country. As they say, intelligent people can disagree, even on the “facts”. Which is a long-winded way of introducing the concept psychologists have long known to be true, we believe what we want to believe. Continued via link

    Freedom of speech in Australia

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    On 8 November 2016, pursuant to the section 7(c) of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, the Attorney-General referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights the following matters for inquiry and report: whether the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (including sections 18C and 18D) impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech; and whether the complaints-handling procedures of the Australian Human Rights Commission should be reformed

    Trends in international arms transfers, 2016

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    This SIPRI fact sheet describes the trends in international arms transfers that are revealed by the new data. It lists the main suppliers and recipients for the period 2012–16 and describes the changes in regional trends. The volume of international transfers of major weapons has grown continuously since 2004 and increased by 8.4 per cent between 2007–11 and 2012–16, according to new data on arms transfers published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Notably, transfers of major weapons in 2012–16 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of the cold war. The flow of arms increased to Asia and Oceania and the Middle East between 2007–11 and 2012–16, while there was a decrease in the flow to Europe, the Americas and Africa. The five biggest exporters—the United States, Russia, China, France and Germany—together accounted for 74 per cent of the total volume of arms exports

    New Zealand’s refugee report card (spoiler: history won’t be kind)

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    Prime Minister Bill English was roundly criticised last week for mumbling into his sleeve when asked if President Trump’s new Muslim ban was racist. But his response wasn’t far off from the hands-off, it’s-not-our-problem approach he inherited. Indeed, what was the most notable thing about New Zealand’s response to the greatest refugee crisis since WWII this past year? We simply shrugged. History won’t be kind either. Our actions toward refugees on the world stage aren’t the problem. What will define us in years to come was our quiet, unshakable inaction.   What is New Zealand’s stance on Australian abuses of asylum seekers in our region on Nauru and Manus Island?  Silence, now entering its fourth year. Australia continues to infect our region with some of the harshest laws against asylum seekers in the Western World. The Guardian exposed extensive sexual abuse, mental illness, endemic suicide attempts, self-harm and child abuse in ‘The Nauru Files’, bringing Australia’s offshore imprisonment of families—even children—renewed international condemnation. Australia’s offshore detention continues to be a handbook on how to construct a prison system designed to engender enough psychological trauma and hopelessness that broken asylum seekers will eventually chose to return to war as a ‘better’ option. “I’ve never come across refugees this broken,” reported an Australian photojournalist who travelled to Manus Island. Having covered the world photographing some of the world’s most desperate refugees since 1995, Ashley Gilbertson reported in The New York Times, “Yet in all that time, I have not seen the level of cruelty toward these vulnerable people that the Australian government is perpetrating against the refugees on Manus Island.” New Zealand’s response: We have chosen to say nothing. The New Zealand government has remained notably mute, as some detainees now enter their fourth year of imprisonment

    Concerns campaign to scrap state-based renewable energy targets will affect investment in SA

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    There are concerns that a campaign to scrap state-based renewable energy targets will seriously hinder investment opportunities in South Australia. Liberal opposition parties in three states have proposed dumping the target and leaving it to the federal government to set renewable energy goals. But lobby groups say it would drive away business and the potential for jobs growth in the future

    Economic cost of dementia in Australia 2016-2056

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    Alzheimer’s Australia commissioned NATSEM at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra to estimate the cost of dementia in Australia. The economic impact of dementia is a major concern nationally and internationally as the number of individuals with dementia continues to rise. Access Economics (2003) estimated the total cost of dementia to be 6.6billionin2002.ThisreportnowshowsthatthecostofdementiainAustraliain2016is6.6 billion in 2002. This report now shows that the cost of dementia in Australia in 2016 is 14.25 billion, which equates to an average cost of $35,550 per person with dementia. Not only does this report update the Access Economics 2002 estimate to 2016, it also projects likely future costs of dementia over the next 40 years. In doing so, it provides an overview of dementia in Australia, including increases in the prevalence and incidence of dementia over the next 40 years, describes some of the social and economic characteristics of people with dementia, and identifies the impact of dementia on mortality and burden of disease. The need for care and provision of care services is also reported on, including estimating the future need for both informal and formal carers in both the community and residential aged care sectors. The report models direct and indirect costs of dementia in 2016 out to 2056. The impact on costs of a ‘hypothetical’ intervention program that reduces the annual incidence of dementia by 5% is modelled. A second scenario simulates the impact of ‘hypothetical’ technological change in hospital care and its impact on costs

    A bit of housing justice - the story of HomeGround Real Estate

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    This case study explores HomeGround Real Estate, an innovative model of delivering affordable housing pioneered by HomeGround Services (now Launch Housing) in Victoria. While most affordable housing initiatives focus on increasing stock of new social housing, HomeGround Real Estate represents an intervention in a sector largely neglected in the housing affordability space – the mainstream private rental market. Launched in 2014 as “Australia’s first not for profit real estate”, HomeGround Real Estate essentially comprises two streams, commercial and affordable. Through the commercial stream, properties are offered for rent at market rates. The agent commission subsidises the agency’s affordable housing initiative, under which property owners forego a proportion of rental income so the property can be provided at an affordable rate to low income tenants. A key element of the HomeGround Real Estate model is the unique tax ruling obtained by Launch Housing from the Australian Tax Office. This enables its landlords to claim a concession for the difference between market rent and the affordable rental rate agreed with the agency, regardless of how low that rate is, representing an innovative way of leveraging the tax system to facilitate provision of affordable housing. The HomeGround Real Estate experience provides valuable insights into the conditions which foster innovation in the not for profit sector and the challenges of growing a profit-for-purpose entity whilst staying true to purpose. Further, it demonstrates the importance of affordable housing initiatives driven by agencies that understand homelessness, are able to work effectively with those in most need of affordable housing and are committed to “housing justice.

    “We wouldn’t want to be where you guys are, that’s for sure”

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    Schools in Australia and New Zealand set off in opposite directions in the 1970s. Tom Greenwell looks at where they have ended up. The story is familiar enough. An opposition leader seeks to modernise his party by transcending the old ideological opposition between state schools and church schools. Above all, he wants to woo the Catholic vote needed to win government. Prevailing over his rivals, he jettisons the party’s century-old opposition to public funding of private schools.Then, on winning government, he initiates a process of consultation, negotiation and policy formulation that culminates in a widely hailed breakthrough. Those years in power, from 1972 to 1975, come to be seen as a turning point that still defines the education landscape. Gough Whitlam’s Australia? Yes, but also Norman Kirk’s New Zealand. That’s where the likeness ends, though, for the new educational epoch Kirk ushered in was quite different from the era created by Whitlam and his education adviser Peter Karmel


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