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Thesis Proposal Review Day 2018

TPR Seminar




Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU


Friday, 26 October, 2018 - 09:00 to 16:00

RegNet PhD scholars present their thesis proposals to their supervisors, peers and other RegNet scholars.

For catering purposes please RSVP with any dietary requirements by 19 October


9:15am Welcome and introductions
9:30am Nicholas Frank
10:30am Morning tea
10:45am Derek Futaiasi
11:45am Binota Dhamai
12:45pm Lunch
1:15pm Nicholas Coatsworth
2:15pm Sandra Wright
3:15pm Final remarks and close plus afternoon tea


Nicholas Frank

The Composition of Preferential Trade Agreements in a Global Value Chains World

More than two decades ago, Jagdish Bhagwati (1995) coined the term ‘spaghetti bowl’ to describe, and warn about, the effects of the proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) on the multilateral system. Bhagwati’s warning was prophetic as these types of agreements have not only multiplied but have become the chief vehicle for the regulation of international commerce.

During the same period, global production structures and international trade has undergone a profound transformation. Technological innovation coupled with trade liberalization and integration has facilitated the rise of the global value chains (GVCs). The fragmentation of production processes has resulted in offshoring, the division of international labour, the servicification of value addition, and the transfer of economic gains.

The objective of this quantitative thesis is to investigate the political and economic drivers of the composition of modern trade agreements. Specifically, the thesis will examine: (i) variation in the content of trade agreements; (ii) changes in production structures and international trade; (iii) the determinants of changes in the nature of trade agreements; and (iv) the ways in which these determinants are linked to shifts in the nature of international production and trade.

Derek Futaiasi

How are public funds in the form of Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) currently regulated in Solomon Islands and how could they be more effectively regulated?

In Solomon Islands, public funds commonly known as CDFs are now a distinctive part of the political economy of Solomon Islands. CDFs are distributed directly through Members of Parliament and intended for direct spending on constituency development. There are concerns by civil society that the disbursement of CDFs is inefficient and lacks accountability with insignificant spending on development. There are allegations that this is so because the capacity of the state has been undermined by societal forces.

In this regard, the state in the form of MPs and their offices are perceived as weak and need strengthening. Current debates on CDFs in Solomon Islands have used weak state framing to analyse and criticise the regulatory context of CDFs. However, my research will examine CDFs using hybridity and post-regulatory state conceptual framings.

This allows a move away from a positivist and state-centric approach to law and regulation as being solely limited to legislation. Given the need to extend attention to linkages/networks between various regulatory nodes within a hybrid arrangement, my research will utilise regulatory theories such as nodal-network governance to examine ways CDFs could be more effectively regulated.

Methodologically, this research will use qualitative empirical research based on a number of comparative case-studies of different constituencies in Solomon Islands to unpack the current regulatory framework of CDFs and how they could be better regulated. The final part of the project will reflect on how insights about new ways to regulate CDFs may have application to regulation and governance in the context of Melanesian states more broadly.

Binota Dhamai

Advancing Indigenous Peoples Human Rights and Universal Periodic Review

Indigenous peoples in many states frequently face systematic human rights violation and experience discrimination and inequality. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) provides an opportunity to investigate the human rights situation of indigenous peoples and an avenue to call attention to advance their human rights. UPR as a regulatory mechanism uses a regulatory lens to examine social and political power to the process and offers perspective tools to assess international human rights agenda (Charlesworth and Larking, 2014).

The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of the UPR recommendations: that is, how and to what extent the UPR, as a regulatory human rights mechanism, is advancing indigenous peoples’ human rights in Bangladesh and the Philippines. The research will utilise a comparative case study in relation to UPR recommendations to land rights of indigenous peoples outlined in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) 1997, Philippines and the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord (1997), Bangladesh.

This qualitative research employs multi-sited ethnography and human rights situation analysis to provide a better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms on the land rights of indigenous peoples in the CHT region, Bangladesh and Cordillera region, Philippines and how has the UPR failed or succeeded for promoting and advancing indigenous peoples land (human) rights in Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Nicholas Coatsworth

Foreign Policy Decision-Making in Global Health – How actors, ideas and institutions influence policy decisions

Within the space of half a century, the separate domains of health and foreign policy have grown ever closer, challenging states, policy-makers and regulators to make sense of how this interaction takes place. At the very core of the interaction stands the normative principle of health as a fundamental human right, as a necessary precondition for effective function and success as an individual in society.

It stands alongside the powerful foreign policy interests of states developed over centuries of the Westphalian system, of security and military might, of economic power and global trade. What has emerged is a contested ground where the ‘hard power’ diplomacy of economics, security and trade juxtaposes with health, a ‘soft power’ tool often linked with the marginalised space of international development aid.

This study examines how state’s develop foreign policy as it relates to global health, focussing on the role of actors, ideas and institutions in the decision-making process leading to policy choices. Using a major Australian global health foreign policy initiative as a case study, a conceptual framework will be developed to define how health priorities are framed and incorporated into foreign policy. The framework will be used to conduct a comparative analysis of different global health issues across three nations (two signatories to the Oslo Declaration on Global Health and Australia, a non-signatory) to provide evidence of the key touch points in the decision-making process where health can be elevated in foreign policy decision-making.

Sandra Wright

Addressing intimate partner violence against Australian Muslim women

Over at least the past decade there has been an increased focus on domestic violence in Australia, and with it, an increasing interest in diverse women’s experiences of violence. This has been marked by research into culturally and linguistically diverse women’s experiences of violence and how policy and practice can be more inclusive. However, there remains little known specifically about Australian Muslim women’s experiences.

This study will focus specifically on Australian Muslim women’s experiences of intimate partner violence, as intimate partner violence is the most common and pervasive form of domestic violence in Australia. It seeks to better understand their experiences, and the interventions that are most likely to be effective in supporting them. It also seeks to better understand Muslim communities’ attitudes towards violence, and prevention strategies that would be effective in reducing the incidence of violence.

The study will draw on a range of qualitative and quantitative sources. This will include interviews and surveys with women with lived experience, members of Australian communities more broadly, community advocates, religious leaders, service providers, and other stakeholders.




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