Abstracts of Research Papers published 2003-04:


Research papers index

Intellectual property rights and the Australia—US Free Trade Agreement [HTML][PDF 326KB]
Research Paper No.14 2003–04
David Richardson, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Section
31 May 2004

The Australia US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) covers a number of issues and this paper deals with Chapter 17 on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). It first examines AUSFTA’s attempts to entrench or enhance Australia’s already strong IPRs. The general economic arguments are examined as well as the Australian and US interests in stronger IPRs. Stronger IPRs protect rights holders from competition and so sit awkwardly with the aims of free trade. Some specific concerns have been expressed such as AUSFTA’s implications when producers use copyright protection measures to practice price discrimination around the world and against the interests of Australian consumers. (26 pages)

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Less tax or more social spending: 20 years of opinion polling [HTML][PDF 390KB]
Research Paper No.13 2003–04
Richard Grant, Politics and Public Administration Section
24 May 2004

The debate over whether the Australian public wants tax cuts or more spending on social services has been highlighted in the media recently in the wake of new surveys on the tax-spend trade-off and the tax cuts in the Budget. This Research Paper looks at the results of major surveys on the issue of less tax or more social spending over the past 20 years. It considers the factors that underpin support for each option and examines the date on Australians’ willingness to pay for specific items of public expenditure through higher tax. The paper concludes with an assessment of survey results in light of the political and public policy challenges facing Australia. (35 pages)
(See also: Research Note No 57 2003-04)

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Coastal shipping: an overview [HTML][PDF 786KB]
Research Paper No.12 2003–04
Richard Webb, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Section
3 May 2004

Coastal shipping is an important component of the national transport task. This paper reviews the challenges and issues that the Australian industry faces. (39 pages)

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Postcodes in electoral divisions (2003 electoral boundaries) [HTML][PDF 1,071KB]
Research Paper No.11 2003–04
Andrew Kopras, Statistics Section
29 March 2004

This paper provides a concordance of postcodes to Commonwealth electoral divisions, based on the results ofthe 2001 Census. It is an update of Research Paper no. 12, 2000–01, and reflects changes to electoral boundaries brought about by recent electoral redistributions. The concordance will enable senators and members to convert information published by postcode by organisations such as Centrelink or the Australian Taxation Office into electoral division totals. (30 pages)

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A new paradigm of international migration: implications for migration policy and planning in Australia [HTML][PDF 2,347KB]
Research Paper No.10 2003–04
Professor Graeme Hugo, Consultant, Social Policy Section
8 March 2004

This paper argues that the global drivers of international migration have been transformed in the last decade and that this has greatly changed the context in which migration to and from Australia occurs and in which immigration policy is developed. The globalisation of labour markets, the development of an immigration industry, the proliferation of social networks, the information and transport revolutions, expansion of trade and economic change have all lead to international migration being within the calculus of choice of an increasing proportion of the world’s inhabitants. As a result, there has been a massive increase in global population movement and an increase in the complexity of the types of movement—permanent and temporary, legal and undocumented, forced and voluntary, work and non-work related, etc. In Australia much thinking about international migration remains anchored in a paradigm of movement that applied in the four decades following the Second World War, which focused almost entirely on permanent settlement. The contemporary situation is that the international migration impinging on Australia is now more complex especially with temporary residence becoming more important and more Australians than ever before migrating to live and work for extended periods in other countries. It is argued that much of the thinking and research on immigration in Australia neglects the new reality of international movements. International migration has been, and remains a crucial component of Australia’s economic, social and cultural development. It is important that Australia’s international migration research and thinking take full cognizance of these important changes. (83 pages)
(See also: Research Notes Nos 54-56 2003-04)

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Labour hire: issues and responses [HTML][PDF 304KB]
Research Paper No.9 2003–04
Steve O'Neill, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Group
8 March 2004

Labour hire is an alternative form of employment to the direct employer-employee relationship. Labour hire involves relationships between a principal, an employment agency and the person performing the tasks. While labour hire arrangements have been a feature of the Australian labour market for decades, the relatively recent data now being compiled on this sector suggests it is a growth industry, with many large employers increasing their use of labour hire arrangements in preference to direct employment. This paper reviews the factors behind the growth of labour hire and provides updates on responses to the issue within the courts, by governments and by labour unions. (27 pages)

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The Commonwealth Government’s Role in Infrastructure Provision [HTML][PDF 271KB]
Research Paper No.8 2003–04
Richard Webb, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Group
1 March 2004

This paper examines the rationale for Commonwealth government involvement in infrastructure provision, how it influences the provision of infrastructure, and trends in that influence. In particular, it seeks to delineate the role that the Commonwealth plays as distinct from that of State governments. (33 pages)

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Commonwealth Road Funding Since 1990 (Updated 1 March 2004) [HTML][PDF 457KB]
Research Paper No.7 2003–04
Richard Webb, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Group
1 March 2004

This paper reviews developments in Commonwealth road funding in the 1990s and examines associated majorissues. The paper also contains the most recent data. (33 pages)

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The Australian Senate [HTML][PDF 372KB]
Research Paper No.6 2003–04
Scott Bennett, Politics and Public Administration Group
10 February 2004

The Senate is one of the most-analysed parts of the Australian political system. In 2003 Prime Minister Howard's proposals about the deadlocks procedure began another round of debate about its place in our Parliament. Debates about the Senate have therefore been always with us and will not end in the foreseeable future. This paper is designed to provide a concise background document to these debates, enabling Members of Parliament to understand the place of Australia's national upper house in the Australian political system. (29 pages)

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The Australian and American Senates: A Comparison [HTML][PDF 237KB]
Research Paper No.5 2003–04
Stanley Bach, Consultant, Politics and Public Administration Group
10 February 2004

For more than 30 years Dr Stan Bach worked with, and provided advice to, Senators and Representatives on the operations of the US Congress. From 1988 to 2002 he held the office of Senior Specialist in the Legislative Process for the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.In 2002 Dr Bach was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to study bicameralism in Australia. In 2003 he published Platypus and Parliament, a well-received study on the Australian Senate. This paper is Dr Bach's analysis of the major differences between the Australian and US upper houses. (24 pages)

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Corporate Citizenship and the Role of Government: the Public Policy Case [HTML][PDF 423KB]
Research Paper No.4 2003–04
Dr Gianni Zappalà, Politics and Public Administration Group
1 December 2003

Corporate citizenship means understanding and managing a company's influence on society and all its stakeholders. Good corporate citizenship integrates social, ethical, environmental, economic and philanthropic values in the core decision-making processes of a business. Until recently, the focus of the corporate citizenship debate has been on the business case—on why being good is good for business. Today, however, the focus is on the relationship between public policy and corporate citizenship, and the increasing pressure on governments to regulate corporate social behaviour. This Research Paper, which has an accompanying Research Note summarising the main arguments, explores the various potential policy options. It argues that, while there is a role for public policy in the area of corporate citizenship, that role is not necessarily a regulatory one. (32 pages)

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We are Australian–The Constitution and Deportation of Australian-born Children [HTML][PDF 550KB]
Research Paper No. 3 2003–04
Peter Prince, Law and Bills Digest Group
24 November 2003

Does birth in Australia protect a child against deportation? Is a child born in this country an 'Australian national' even if legislation says he or she is not a 'citizen'? Can children be denied citizenship because their parents are 'illegal' immigrants or temporary visa holders? The High Court must decide these questions in a forthcoming case in which a five year old girl born in Sydney—whose Sikh refugee parents face expulsion from Australia—will challenge 1986 laws restricting the automatic right to citzenship at birth. (56 pages)

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Four-Year Terms for the House of Representatives? (September 2003) [HTML] [PDF 601KB]
Research Paper No. 2 2003–04
Scott Bennett, Politics and Public Administration Group
8 September 2003

During 2000–01 the DPL published 'Four-year terms for the House of Representatives?', a paper that was well-received by readers inside and outside the Parliament. This paper is now being re-issued with changes made as a consequence of events that have occurred since publication. (34 pages)

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Commonwealth General Purpose Financial Assistance to Local Government (August 2003)
[HTML] [PDF 501KB]
Research Paper No. 1 2003–04
Richard Webb, Economics, Commerce and Industrial Relations Group
11 August 2003

This paper explains how the Commonwealth determines the level and distribution of financial assistance it provides to local government and examines some key issues in the provision of assistance. (26 pages)

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