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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 134

Think Tanks and Policy Institutes

(Question Nos 311 and 316)


Mr Robert asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, in writing, on 23 March 2011:

(1) How many think tanks or policy institutes are funded by the Minister's department, and (a) what are (i) their names, and (ii) key areas of research, and (b) in what office/agency within the department do they fall.

(2) What sum of funding was provided to each of the think tanks or policy institutes in part (1) in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10, and (d) 2010-11.

(3) For each think tank or policy institute in part (1), on what date (a) was an announcement made that it would be formed, and (b) did it commence operating.


Mr Rudd: On behalf of the Minister for Trade and myself, the answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

There are three Australian think tanks or policy institutes that are funded by the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. Portfolio agencies also support a number of think tanks and policy institutes overseas.

(1) (a) (i) Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), Canberra ACT, (ii) The AIIA is an independent, non-profit organisation seeking to promote interest in and understanding of international affairs in Australia. Precluded by its constitution from expressing any opinion of its own on international affairs, the AIIA provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of a wide range of views.

(b) Independent. Provided with funding by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

(2) (a) 2007-08: $85,000

(b) 2008-09: $80,000

(c) 2009-10: $80,000

(d) 2010-11: $88,000

(3) (a) DFAT does not have a record of an announcement in relation to the establishment of this institute.

(b) The AIIA was established as a national body in 1933. The AIIA grew out of an agreement between the three existing Australian branches of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

(1) (a)(i) Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence, Queanbeyan NSW, (ii) The Centre focuses on development of civil-military capabilities to prevent, prepare for, and respond more effectively to conflicts and disasters overseas.

(b) The Centre does not fall within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. It is administered through the Vice Chief of Defence Force Group in the Department of Defence with some AusAID funding.

(2) (a) 2007-08: Nil

(b) 2008-09: Nil

(c) 2009-10: $100,000

(d) 2010-11: $174,600

(3) (a) The establishment of the Centre was an ALP election commitment announced on 13 November 2007 in the lead up to the 2007 Federal Election.

(b) The Centre was officially opened by then Prime Minister Rudd on 27 November 2008.

(1) (a)(i) Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland, (ii) The Centre aims to advance the concept of the Responsibility to Protect and support states to build capacity to protect civilians.

(b) Independent. Provided with funding from AusAID.

(2) (a) 2007-08: Nil

(b) 2008-09: $293,952

(c) 2009-10: $500,692

(d) 2010-11: $2,521,658 (this includes $2 million for research grants under the Responsibility to Protect Fund, which is administered by the Centre and open to competitive applications from institutions, academia and non-government organisations).

(3) (a) The Responsibility to Protect principle was unanimously adopted by world leaders at the 2005 UN World Summit. In August 2008, then Foreign Affairs Minister Smith announced that Australia would strengthen its support for the Responsibility to Protect principle by establishing a fund that would underpin work on the concept in Australia and overseas.

(b) 20 February 2008.