29 April 2016

Each week on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at Australia’s upcoming elections, America’s actions in the South China Sea, and the battle for LGBT rights in Asia. 

Australia is in for a fierce and feisty election campaign as the country prepares to head to the polls on 2 July. In a brand new Policy Forum Pod, Quentin Grafton, Sue Regan and Bob Cotton look at what policy areas are likely to dominate the lengthy campaign. Well worth a listen this weekend!

But before the election the country’s politicians must first tackle the 2016 budget, released next month. DevPolicy Blog examines the details of Australia’s aid budget and asks how the government will manage growing pressures. Watch key thinkers discuss this and other important aid issues via a live stream on Wednesday 4 May at 9am AEST.

Domestic issues aren’t the only things Australia is contending with though. On Policy Forum, Ramesh Thakur looks at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent trip to China and says that while Canberra may encourage Beijing to embrace the rule of law over the South China Sea, what China hears is hypocrisy.

On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, meanwhile, Malcolm Sutton looks at the winning bid to build Australia’s submarines and asks how the winner – French company DCNS – will meet Australia’s specific requirements and expectations.

This week the United States cancelled a scheduled Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, instead conducting fly-overs near Scarborough Shoal – an island close to the Philippines that China has its eyes on. Ankit Panda on The Diplomat looks at what this could mean for US-China relations in the region, while Gordon Lubold and Jeremy Page on The Wall Street Journal say recent US actions have sent a clear message to Beijing.

On the Daily Times SP Seth says the potential for a sudden flare-up in the South China Sea should be taken more seriously. While Jay Batongbacal on The National Interest looks at the new hot spot – Scarborough Shoal – and the potential ‘red line’ for Philippine-US military alliance.

China’s domestic problems are increasing as the consequences of its one-child policy become more evident. In two complementary articles, Heather Booth and Kim Xu look at how the relaxation of the one-child policy will affect the Chinese population and how it has left the country with a surplus of men, so-called ‘bare branches’.

On the Vancouver Sun, Douglas Todd asks why China’s one-child policy missed 800 million people and focused only on the Han Chinese, the dominant group in the country. While the Asia Society looks at whether the relaxation of the one-child policy will cause a baby boom or economic bust.

India’s LGBT community’s struggle to gain equal rights under the law was recently highlighted in a Supreme Court case. Danish Sheikh and Sanhita Ambast look at the ruling and the failure of Indian law in protecting the LGBT community.

Sharyn Graham Davies on the Asia Pacific Report looks at Indonesia’s unprecedented wave of anti-LGBT sentiment and its consequences, while Emerlynne Gil at The Jakarta Post looks at how equal rights for the LGBT community became a matter of national security in Indonesia, sparking a determined human rights campaign. On New Mandala Noor Ramadani recounts his experience studying at the University of Indonesia as a gay man.

Don’t forget you can debate key public policy issues by joining the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society’s LinkedIn group – a closed group exclusive to Society members.  Be part of the conversation – we’ll see you there.

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Hayward, K. (2016). The Policy File - Policy Forum. [online] Policy Forum. Available at: http://www.policyforum.net/29-apr-16/