Melbourne Law School - Research Publications

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    Unlocking the Energy of the Amazon? The need for a Food Fraud Policy approach to the Regulation of Anti-ageing Health Claims on Superfood Labelling
    Curll, J ; Parker, C ; MacGregor, C ; Petersen, A (The Australian National University, Faculty of Law, 2016)
    The prevention and control of ‘food fraud’, including false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain, is now emerging as an important and discrete policy goal for governments and regulators in the interface between food and public health. The control and prevention of food fraud complements regulation to ensure microbial food safety. This article uses a case study of anti-ageing claims made in the labelling and advertising of açai berry superfood products to argue that Australia's new regulatory system for nutrient content and health claims on food (Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code Standard 1.2.7) inadequately addresses ‘food fraud’. This article argues that the over-reaching claims on açai product labelling will potentially mislead consumers and subvert public health messages in a context of ‘gastro-anomy’ (confusion over appropriate norms for eating) and ‘healthism’ (individual responsibility for making healthy choices). This conduct can usefully be conceptualised as food fraud. Second, the article argues that although the substance of Standard 1.2.7 is well designed to avoid food fraud, the fact that the standard allows food businesses to self-substantiate evidence when making some health claims undermines the protection offered. Australian food regulators need to articulate a more strategic and proactive approach to the prevention and control of food fraud.
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    By Students, For Students: A History of the Melbourne University Union
    Waghorne, J (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2022-05-09)
    The Melbourne University Union was and is the very heart of social life for students, and this book tells its story from its origins in 1884 until today.
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    Making robo-advisers careful? Duties of care in providing automated financial advice to consumers
    Paterson, JM (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-01-01)
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    How to Talk to a Populist About Climate Change
    Dibley, A (Graham Holding Company, 2019)
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    Murray-Darling report shows public authorities must take climate change risk seriously
    Dibley, A (The Conversation AU, 2019-02-04)
    The tragic recent events on the Darling River, and the political and policy furore around them, have again highlighted the severe financial and environmental consequences of mismanaging climate risks. The Murray-Darling Royal Commission demonstrates how closely boards of public sector corporate bodies can be scrutinised for their management of these risks. Public authorities must follow private companies and factor climate risk into their board decision-making. Royal Commissioner Brett Walker has delivered a damning indictment of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s management of climate-related risks. His report argues that the authority’s senior management and board were “negligent” and fell short of acting with “reasonable care, skill and diligence”. For its part, the authority “rejects the assertion” that it “acted improperly or unlawfully in any way”. The Royal Commission has also drawn attention to the potentially significant legal and reputational consequences for directors and organisations whose climate risk management is deemed to have fallen short of a rising bar.
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    Government-owned firms like Snowy Hydro can do better than building $600 million gas plants
    Dibley, A (The Conversation AU, 2021)
    The Morrison government today announced it’s building a new gas power plant in the Hunter Valley, committing up to A$600 million for the government-owned corporation Snowy Hydro to construct the project. Critics argue the plant is inconsistent with the latest climate science. And a new report by the International Energy Agency has warned no new fossil fuel projects should be funded if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change. The move is also inconsistent with research showing government-owned companies can help drive clean energy innovation. Such companies are often branded as uncompetitive, stuck in the past and unable to innovate. But in fact, they’re sometimes better suited than private firms to take investment risks and test speculative technologies. And if the investments are successful, taxpayers, the private sector and consumers share the benefits.
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    Can money buy you (climate) happiness? Economic co-benefits and the implementation of effective carbon pricing policies in Mexico
    Dibley, A ; Garcia-Miron, R (Elsevier, 2020-12)
    It is difficult for governments to implement effective climate change mitigation policies because they often create short-term costs for concentrated industry groups who oppose them. As such, climate policy scholars have theorized that governments will be more willing and able to implement mitigation policies where they align with other economic policy objectives. The logic of this “economic co-benefits” argument is that co-benefits create short-term gains for governments to offset the immediate costs they face in introducing mitigation policies. Through a most-similar systems design comparative study of a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme (ETS) in Mexico, this article interrogates the economic co-benefits theory of mitigation policy adoption. By comparing the motivations underpinning two carbon pricing policies in a single country, the article suggests that the presence of immediately accruing fiscal revenues created short-term incentives for the Mexican government to implement the carbon tax, whereas such short-term incentives were not present with respect to the ETS. However, in both cases concentrated affected industry groups were able to dilute the carbon prices to which they were subject. The implications of this study are that economic co-benefits may not be as useful in achieving effective mitigation policy outcomes, in the absence of measures which also independently change the interests of concentrated industry groups.
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    Decarbonization in state-owned power companies: Lessons from a comparative analysis
    Benoit, P ; Clark, A ; Schwarz, M ; Dibley, A (Elsevier, 2022-06-25)
    A rapid decarbonization of the electricity system is urgently required for the Paris Agreement objectives to stand a reasonable chance of being met. While state-owned power companies (SPCs) are the dominant firm type in the global electricity sector, representing nearly two thirds of global electric power generation capacity, most climate policy literature focuses on private sector companies when analyzing decarbonization interventions. SPCs’ distinct corporate governance structures, objectives, relationships with government, and sources of finance, however, can be markedly different from those of private companies. Here, we develop a framework for analyzing the extent to which common and divergent features of SPCs, and the markets in which they operate, affect their relationship to government interventions on decarbonization. We also consider the implications of these relationships for the effective implementation of sector-wide decarbonization strategies. We then apply this framework using a comparative case study analysis of six major SPCs, and highlight how differences in their agency, motivation, capacity, and market exposure may result in different potential responsiveness to government regulatory, policy and market interventions on decarbonization. We generalize these findings by developing four SPC archetypes and illustrate how they might respond differently to government interventions targeting decarbonization. Our analysis posits that SPCs can, under the guidance of governments pursuing ambitious climate policy, be more effective vehicles for decarbonization relative to private sector companies, particularly when they operate with a high degree of operational independence, are insulated from competitive pressures, and have the financial and technical capacity to invest in the decarbonization of their asset base. Similarly, market-wide policy interventions, such as carbon pricing mechanisms, could in practice be less effective interventions with respect to SPCs than their private counterparts when the SPC is ill-equipped to translate these incentives into decarbonization action because it is mandated to pursue supplementary objectives other than profit maximization alone. Ultimately, governments will need to step up their climate action to achieve carbon neutrality. SPCs can, and where they are major market players, must be key actors in driving decarbonization when the appropriate interventions are utilized and therefore deserve significantly more attention in the climate policy debate.
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    National COVID debts: climate change imperils countries' ability to repay
    Dibley, A ; Wetzer, T ; Hepburn, C (Nature Research, 2021-04-06)
    Analysis reveals three ways to boost green investment and achieve a resilient recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
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    Film Review: Four Perspectives on Hanung Bramantyo’s Kartini
    Pausacker, H ; Afrianty, D ; Yulindrasari, H ; Cote, J (Indonesian Resources and Information Program (IRIP), 2017-07)
    Following the Melbourne screening of Hanung Bramantyo’s new film Kartini in May 2017, the University of Melbourne’s Indonesia Forum organised a symposium on the theme ‘The film Kartini and Kartini as a source of historical and contemporary inspiration in Indonesia’. Four speakers were invited to present their responses based on their particular areas of research. Here they briefly re-present their takes on director Hanung’s latest cinematic interpretation of Indonesia’s iconic female national hero.