|NEWSLETTER NO. 26 FALL 2002|
|THE EDWARD A. CLARK CENTER FOR AUSTRALIAN
& NEW ZEALAND STUDIES
|THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN|
Deliberative polls are the invention of Prof. James Fishkin, in the Dept. of Government at UT-Austin. They entail telephone interviews with a large random sample of a national population about some controversial set of issues, then assembling a statistically accurate cross-section of those interviewed in a single place for two days of small-group and plenary discussions of the issues, at the end of which those assembled are asked the same questions as over the telephone several weeks earlier. In all instances to date, the opportunity to participate in face-to-face deliberations on issues and to have issue experts questions has produced major changes of opinions. Because the process is based on national random samples of voting age citizens, it is plausible to claim that the opinion changes produced by deliberative polls are those that would occur amoung all voting age citizens if they had the same opportunity to deliberate on the issues in question.
Interested in how voters in the A.C.T. assess the need for a Bill of Rights that could be enacted by statute, the ACT Government contracted with Pam Ryan's organization to conduct a deliberative poll on the issues a Bill of Rights poses. The resulting poll took place the end of November in Old Parliament House, where the Republic Referendum and Aboriginal Reconciliation polls also occurred. Some 230 ACT voters took part and deliberated for two days on the folloing issues: 1) Why have a Bill of Rights and what form should it take? 2) What effect a Bill would have on the exercise of executive and judicial powers? 3) What rights should be protected by an ACT Bill of Rights?
As with the earlier deliberative polls, this one was co-chaired by the Hon. Ian Sinclair, former Speaker of the House, and Barry Jones, former President of the ALP. A third co-chair for the ACT poll was Sir William Deane, former Govenor-General of Australia. A dozen eminent legal scholars and jurists were present to answer questions that the cross section of citizens uncovered during their face-to-face deliberations.
The earlier telephone poll of a random ACT sample showed that 53 percent favored a Bill of Rights being enacted. After two days of deliberation at Old Parliament House, asking the same question revealed that citizen sentiment had become 59 percent for a Bill with 38 percent against it.
Message from the Director
The greatly increased attention to Australia-U.S. relations will make the centers and organizations that foster Australian studies even more significant vehicles for trans-Pacific interchanges. The Clark Center and the Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University are exploring ways in which they can help to illuminate the security and trade issues that will now dominate the bilateral political agenda. When it meets at Arcadia University in late February, the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (ANZSANA) will devote a large part of its program to airing the issues posed by this fall's events.
Although it did not suffer the grievous losses of Australia, New Zealand's shock over what happened in Bali was also great and the bombing's effect on NZ security policy will surely be large. There, too, the pros and cons of close relations with the U.S. will constitute major issues in the months ahead. New Zealand's exclusion, at least for now, from Free Trade negotiations with the U.S. will also give rise to much debate.
In early November, Moorhouse entertained UT-Austin's illustrious Faculty Seminar on British Studies (where many Australians before him have appeared) with a graceful and witty discussion about the trials and tribulations that novels dealing with historical realities create.
Professor Stapleton's scholarship centers on the private law of obligations, liability and compensation systems, and it ranges from comparative product liability to the philosophical foundations of common law concepts like causation, duty, and good faith. Among her many publications are Disease and the Compensation Debate (1986), and The Law of Obligations (1998). She is finishing a book tentatively titled <i>Unpacking Causation in Law. She is also at present a consultatnt to Australia's largest class action suit, the multi-billion dollar claim against Esso/Exxon for economic losses arising fromt he disruption of gas supply.
Starting in January 2003, Professor Stapleton will teach a course at UT-Austin on Products Liability and a seminar on Causation & Scope of Liability in Torts. As the following story shows, Professor Stapleton will hear her share of "G'days" when walking down the corridors of the UT Law School.
UT-NZ Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship to Start
The Fulbright Foundation of New Zealand, headed by Jennifer Gill, has just announced a competition for a senior political scientist who will be designated to teach about New Zealand and wider Pacific security and foreign policy issues in UT-Austin's Department of Government during the fall semester of 2003.
NZ Connection Bolstered by UT Librarian
Professor Loriene Roy, a member of UT-Austin's Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, is a specialist on developing library sources for indigenous populations. In addition to working with Native Americans, Prof. Roy has for several years been working with Maori librarians in New Zealand. In 1999 she attended the first international conference on indigenous librarians, which was held in Auckland. This past November she returned to New Zealand to give two lectures, one on information technology and indigenous peoples, and the other on tribal archives, at the annual conference of the National Library of New Zealand, meeting in Wellington.
Visitors to the Clark Center, Fall 2002
Dr. Lisa Beesley, from the School of Marketing and Management at Griffith University, presented the McCraw Lecture, which was titled "Formulating and Disseminating Research Designed for Application", and she headed a workshop that was organized by UT's Center for Public Policy Conflict Resolution in early December.
Professor James Belich, from the History Department at the University of Auckland, gave lectures to UT's Dept. of History and consulted with the Clark Center for a week in mid-October.
ANZSANA Meeting in Philadelphia
This year's ANZSANA meeting will take place February 20-21, 2003 at Arcadia University, which is located in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia. A call for papers has been issued by the ANZSANA president, Hoyt Edge (Rollins College in Orlando - Hoyt.Edge@Rollins.edu and persons interested in offering papers are urged to contact Hoyt as soon as possible. Last year's ANZSANA meeting at the Univ. of British Columbia in Vancouver was attended by the better part of a hundred scholars and students, and the expectation is that the upcoming meeting in Philadelphia will be no less well attended.
Clark Center Website
The Center is indebted to Ronda Rowe, the Australian subject bibliographer at the University's main library, for taking care of the Center's web site. This includes name changes and altering the logo for ASANA when New Zealand was incorporated into the Center and the ANZSANA, scanning in the full texts of Yacker for the last several years, and providing information regarding the ANZSANA conference in February 2003.
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