The University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute (UWA PPI) today launched its latest publication, Let Every Stage Advance: Policy Ideas for Australia’s Fiftieth Parliament, at Parliament House in Canberra.
Building on a macro model of the global economy, Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou highlight key patterns that emerged from elevated US tariffs against China and their possible implications for a resolution of the US-China trade war.
Our speaker Jonathan Coppel looks at the long-term effect the trade war may have on the global rules-based trading order and the efficacy and architecture of its core institution, the World Trade Organisation – and calls on Australia to continue to defend free trade and the rules-based system that it requires.
Dirk Baur encourages us to think beyond the detriments of the US-China trade war on the global economy and to consider possible positive effects of a little less trade for Australia’s workers and its economy.
Recent headlines including the words ‘trade war’ sound scary and consequently alarmed many people including commentators, politicians and investors. War is bad so a trade war must also be bad. But the time before trade war was not a time of ‘trade peace’ illustrated by the long list of trade disputes brought to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
What does the policy community look like from the other end of the telescope? In academia, assumptions abound: that evidence speaks for itself; that policy levers are linear and in abundance; and that political will is a given if the evidence is robust in itself. Here, Stephen Meek, formerly from Whitehall and now heading up a major policy institute, probes further and paints a highly nuanced picture of the practice of policymaking. His observations will help academics refine what the challenge of policy engagement actually is. Shamit Saggar
Perhaps universities have been underestimating their potential strengths in shaping public policy? It seems like a strange assertion. The grounds are based on understanding the rise of university policy institutes: how able are they in safeguarding independence and trust, delineating roles and operating nimbly in synch with policy cycles? Bobby Duffy, new-ish to academia, reflects here on this initial spell heading up the Policy Institute at King’s, London. Shamit Saggar
Research-led universities have often stood in the shadows of modern thinktanks in influencing policy agendas nationally and internationally. Until now. The past few years have seen the rapid growth of university ‘policy shops’ of various kinds, many of which have successfully begun to shape policy thinking and policy design. What lies behind this turnaround? Patrick Diamond, a former special advisor and now an academic political scientist, sheds light on the story in the United Kingdom, and posits that the future looks promising for university policy engagement. Shamit Saggar
What about efforts at counter-radicalisation in societies with a prevailing commitment to managing social, ethnic and religious diversity? This involves operationalising pluralist ideas in ways that address sources of alienation and the potential ‘minoritisation’ of Islam. Shamit Saggar
De-radicalisation is a broad term that comprises many ideas and practical actions. It is important to examine what is involved at a more granular level and here Raafia Raees Khan describes a specific, multi-faceted program in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in the country’s far north. There may be scope for policy learning and borrowing for other countries, including multi-ethnic, multicultural societies such as Australia. Shamit Saggar
The nature of radicalisation is changing rapidly. The phenomenon is increasingly atomised, nested in grievances, motives and everyday lives that are difficult to penetrate for policymakers. Here Michele Grossman examines these shifts and the perceived asymmetry between Islamist-inspired and far-right violent extremism. She concludes that a credible strategy to tackle these challenges relies, more than ever, on community based responses alongside criminal justice ones. Shamit Saggar
Radicalisation in contemporary Tunisia has emerged as an important flashpoint, spilling out of the Arab Spring. The impacts have been felt across the Middle East and Europe, and most notably the rise of ISIS. Leila Ben Mcharek looks here at the radicalisation of Tunisian youth and the way in which the energy of the original revolution became diverted towards jihadist militancy. The example contains important lessons about the spread of extremism through deliberate and non-deliberate forces. Shamit Saggar
Australia’s approach to countering violent extremism has developed considerably in recent years and an important pivot has been a fresh emphasis placed on how communities can support prevention. Hass Dellal discusses the key issues underpinning current thinking and practice, and calls for an independent policy think-tank to lead future work and galvanise a more evidence-based approach. Shamit Saggar
Evidence about Islamist-inspired radicalisation and violence
- Shamit Saggar
Almost two decades on from 9/11 a substantial body of research knowledge has been gathered about the nature of Islamist-inspired radicalisation and violence in western countries. This contains many rich points of relevance to policymakers, and quite a lot that is not so obviously useful. So what is known and what insights for policy have resulted?
There are three areas in which there have been important breakthroughs in the evidence base informing policy formulation.
The common mantra of research-led universities today is twofold: that they are here to advance the frontiers of knowledge and here to serve society. The latter is laudable, for sure, and speaks to a key rationale behind the UWA Public Policy Institute. But what is standing in the way of the best minds working successfully with government, commerce and non-profit organisations? Michael Schaper, a former Australian national regulatory tsar, reflects on the obstacles and suggests that we are headed in the right direction. Shamit Saggar
In her interim account of the recent Indonesian elections, Ella S. Prihatini points to significant levels of volatility in parties’ vote share, important breakthroughs by some new parties and the unprecedented fatigue created by a single-day electoral event. Shamit Saggar
As Australia heads to the polls next month, we begin to look at key issues voters will consider. Here, Glenn Savage (UWA) argues that while the main parties emphasise quality and standards, their means of doing so (in terms of funding, autonomy, curriculum and leadership) vary considerably. Shamit Saggar
I find myself surprisingly stuck on Brexit. The inconclusive struggles thus far cast a light in the dark corner of how the UK is governed, relying on a part-written, uncodified constitution. It does not seem fit for purpose now that the limits of the political system have been tested. This is a conclusion I had not expected to draw.