Filter by November, 2013

Total recall: the 2006 Papuan asylum seeker incident and Australia-Indonesia relations

In the wake of recent allegations that Australia spied on the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife, and a group of his advisors in 2009, Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, and is ‘reviewing’ current bilateral cooperation. The last time Indonesia recalled its ambassador was in 2006 following the Papuan asylum seeker incident.This earlier diplomatic crisis was sparked by the arrival by boat of 43 Papuan asylum seekers in northern Australia in January 2006. In the midst of extensive media coverage and a flurry of diplomatic activity on both sides, the subsequent decision by Australia to grant temporary protection visas to 42 of the asy... Read more...

Littoral combat ships - lessons learnt from the US

Less than a fortnight after the 2013 federal election, the new Defence Minister David Johnston indicated that the protection of Australia’s exports through maritime security would be a major Defence priority. In order to achieve this, the Minister claimed that ‘our navy needs a suitable mix of high-end war-fighting capabilities’ and accordingly, consideration should be given to acquiring littoral combat ships (LCS). This article summarises the US experience of acquiring LCS and outlines some key benefits and challenges the US has faced.The US LCS programIn November 2001, the US Navy announced it would acquire a fleet of new surface combatants, including LCS. The LCS would meet the Navy’s re... Read more...

A return to Temporary Protection Visas?

On 18 October 2013 the newly elected Coalition Government registered an amendment to the Migration Regulations 1994 providing for the re-introduction of Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs). Unsurprisingly, given their vocal opposition to TPVs, the Australian Greens have moved to disallow the Regulation. This FlagPost provides an historical overview of the TPV, and outlines the arrangements that will be in place should the new TPV system withstand the disallowance motion.The TPV was first introduced by the Howard Government in October 1999. A TPV was valid for three years, after which time a person’s need for protection was reassessed. Holders of TPVs were allowed to work, and given access to m... Read more...

Electoral quotas for women: an international overview

Electoral quotas for women: an international overview, published by the Parliamentary Library, provides an overview of recent global trends in women’s political representation and the different types of gender quotas adopted. Drawing on recent international research, it explains the impact of electoral quotas, what influences their success, and the various arguments for and against their use. The paper also looks at electoral gender quotas in Australia, and describes the use of quota systems in other Commonwealth countries. Across the world women remain significantly under-represented in political decision-making and leadership roles. As at 1 October 2013, women occupied around one-fifth of ... Read more...

Zippers: former prime ministers leaving parliament

Of Australia’s 28 Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd has become only the fourth former prime minister to have lost an election or the leadership of his party and resigned from parliament shortly afterwards, bringing about a by-election.Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister from the dismissal of the Whitlam Government on 11 November 1975 until the ALP’s victory at the March 1983 election. On election night Mr Fraser stood down as leader of the Liberal Party and resigned from Parliament on 31 March 1983, 26 days later. The Wannon by-election was held on 7 May 1983 and was retained by the Liberal Party by Mr David Hawker who remained in the House of Representatives until he retired in 2010.Bob Hawke beca... Read more...

Immigration: We can choose our skills, but we can't choose our family

Whilst boat arrivals, asylum seekers, skilled permanent and temporary programs and even students have kept immigration featured in our politics and newspapers, family migration receives little share of public debate. This is intriguing as family migration is a bigger part of permanent migration than official planning levels would lead us to believe. Migration Program planning levels fluctuate according to the political, social and economic imperatives of the government of the day. In the mid-1970s, the planned annual intake reached a low of 50,000 places and gradually climbed to the 1988 peak of 145,000 and then reduced to 80,000 by 1993. As can be seen ... Read more...

Aung San Suu Kyi and Australia’s new relationship with Myanmar

The Australian Government has confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Australia from 27 November to 2 December. This will be Suu Kyi’s first visit to Australia and follows her visits to the US, the UK, Europe, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand over the last eighteen months.Traditionally, Western images of Suu Kyi have portrayed her as a lone heroine fighting tyrannical army generals. As Myanmar experts like Andrew Selth have argued, with her release from house arrest in late 2010 and the far-reaching reforms that are taking place in Myanmar, Suu Kyi now inhabits a much more complex set of roles in contemporary Myanmar politics.First, Suu Kyi is the leader of a political party, the National L... Read more...

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