Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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How might a Trump presidency affect Australia?

The US Republican Party is poised to nominate Donald Trump as its candidate for the November 2016 presidential election. Trump has no previous experience of governing, no record of military service and has evinced little interest in policy details. He has, however, suggested that Muslims should be prohibited from entering America, that Japan and South Korea should consider developing nuclear weapons, and praised authoritarian leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. These compliments have been reciprocated, illustrating that Trump is no ordinary candidate. Given its close strategic relationship with America, it is timely to assess what a Trump presidency might mean for Australia. Read more...

Japan resurgent
Chatham House / Wikimedia Commons

Japan resurgent

This week’s visit to Australia by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe marks a further step in the resurgence of Japan as a global power. It is also a key event for both Australia and Japan in affirming new regional roles and relations. Read more...

Australia, the United States and China: the debates continue

The Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington, where he urged the Americans to continue their ‘pivot to Asia’, occurred at a time when a range of other voices across Australia is expressing diverse thoughts on how Australia might further adjust its symbiotic relationships with both the US and China. Read more...

Australia's first G20 sherpa meeting

Australia is the G20 host in 2014 (a process that started earlier this month on 1 December). Its first meeting as host will be held on Thursday and Friday this week (12-13 December). Senior officials (sherpas) from G20 nations will meet in Sydney, beginning a process that will culminate in the leaders’ summit next November.The Group of Twenty (G20) is ‘the premier forum for international economic cooperation and decision making’, with representatives from 19 member countries and the European Union. The G20 calendar has multiple events, and many non-government organisations (amongst them international institutions and regulatory bodies, businesses, and civil society groups) will be providing ... Read more...

Introducing the Doha Climate Gateway

On 8 December 2012—a day later than scheduled—the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded. With it, ended the Bali Roadmap (see previous FlagPost) and began the new era of climate change negotiations: that of the grandly-named Doha Climate Gateway. This FlagPost describes what the Gateway opens onto, and outlines some other items that were discussed (although possibly not resolved) at Doha. Remembering the scienceOn 10 December 2012, the academic journal Nature Climate Change published research confirming that early predictions of possible temperature increases have proved accurate. The new research reinforces 200... Read more...

What happened to Kyoto at Doha

The latest international climate change negotiations that took place over the last fortnight in Doha, Qatar, marked the end of the Bali Roadmap. This 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change finally signed off on the climate change action plan that had been in place since negotiations in 2007. Coming into Doha there were two main negotiating streams: one that discussed the Kyoto Protocol and how to extend it beyond its expiry on 31 December 2012, and another that looked beyond the Kyoto Protocol to a broader, more inclusive agreement. This FlagPost will outline developments on the first stream. A second FlagPost addresses the other s... Read more...

The Egyptian constitutional referendum of March 2011: a new beginning?

The ousting of the Egyptian Government in February 2011 was followed by a referendum on constitutional changes, held on 19 March. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the interim ruling body following the departure of President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, suspended the 1971 constitution and dissolved parliament on 13 February. A drafting committee of jurists was appointed to write proposed constitutional amendments, the idea being that once a referendum on the changes was held, parliamentary, followed by presidential elections, could be held. The referendum was held on 19 March 2011, with 77 per cent voting in favour of the constitutional amendments. Voter turnout was about 41 per cent... Read more...

Libya and the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973

The wave of protests sweeping across the Middle East in recent months has seen demands for democratic reforms and regime change in several countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. However, Libya quickly became the focus of international attention as government forces began firing upon their own civilians with heavy weaponry, and bombing population centres from the ground and air. An overview of how the unrest evolved into a humanitarian crisis is covered in more detail in a previous post. As the world’s attention turned to condemnation, calls for UN intervention grew stronger and more insistent. Following the failure of the Libyan Government to heed the warnings issued on 26 F... Read more...

The Libyan conflict in the context of Middle East revolutions

Over the past three months a wave of popular dissent triggered by long-standing grievances over poor living standards and insufficient domestic reforms has swept across the Middle East and North Africa. Thousands of citizens in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other regional countries demanded a change of political leadership, and immediate social, political and economic reforms. Unrest in the Middle EastTwo Middle Eastern countries, Egypt and Tunisia, have experienced a regime change over the past two months.In Tunisia, protests began in mid-December 2010 following an incident when a young Tunisian man self-immolated in front of a government building, protesting against the political and economic ... Read more...

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