The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies has been working on two major research initiatives concerning courts and public policy that extend the scope of the Comparative Agendas Project to Australia and New Zealand. The first of these projects focuses on the New Zealand Supreme Court. The Clark Center’s interim Director, Rhonda Evans Case, and graduate student Sean Fern presented preliminary findings on the Court’s agenda at the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (ANZSANA) at Georgetown University in February. Evans Case and Fern will travel to New Zealand this summer to conduct further research on the mechanics of the Court’s agenda-setting process. The Center’s second project focuses on the policy agenda of the High Court of Australia. Stephen Joyce will present a paper on this research at the Law & Society Association conference in Boston in May. In addition, the Clark Center is providing funding for graduate student Robert Shaffer to conduct pre-dissertation fieldwork on environmental policy in Australia this summer. Shaffer, too, presented a paper on this subject at the ANZSANA conference.
The 2014 meeting of the ANZSANA will be held at UT-Austin February 6-8 in the Julius Glickman Conference Center in the College of Liberal Arts’ new building. A call for papers will soon be posted on its website.
In March, Evans Case participated in a one-day event on the US-Australian Alliance that was convened by the Australian Embassy and University of Sydney’s United States Studies Center. The meeting involved government officials as well as researchers from both the US and Australia in discussions about opportunities and challenges facing the Alliance.
In February, the Clark Center collaborated with the University’s Energy Institute and Bureau of Economic Geology to bring a delegation of energy researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) to UT-Austin. In addition to exploring common scientific and technological research programs, broader discussions about policy and societal implications were discussed. One of the UQ delegates, law professor Tina Hunter, will spend four weeks at UT-Austin in the coming year to research shale gas regulation in Texas in light of recent developments in fracking technology as part of a comparative study with Australia. Plans are also in the works for UQ to host a delegation of UT researchers in Australia next year in conjunction with an Australia-Texas Energy Forum that is planned to be held Brisbane.