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  • (2022) Mostyn, Benjamin
    The adoption of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 (“the 1988 Convention”) has been widely viewed as the final step in establishing global drug prohibition. This thesis provides an examination of Australia’s decision to support and sign the Convention which has not been analysied before. It also provides a detailed history of the development of the Convention as Australia was a key participant in UN drug meetings at the time. This thesis is based on the first research to access archival files, primarily from Foreign Affairs but also from the AFP and Department of Health. Nearly 180 folders, totalling approximately 35,000 pages, were copied from the Australian archives. These files provide detailed reports of almost all meetings and drafts that progressed the 1988 Convention. Interviews with key participants were also conducted. It provides an interdisciplinary legal history of Australia’s involvement in the 1988 Convention using the lens of the international relations theory of neorealism and the political theory of historical institutionalism. Through process tracing, it uses the theories to examine whether neorealist geopolitical forces and institutional forces caused Australia to support and sign the Convention. The analysis finds that geopolitical considerations trumped early concerns that a third convention was not necessary. The analysis also demonstrates that institutional forces within the UN benefitted financially from drug prohibition and played an unusually strong role in encouraging the development of the 1988 Convention. It also finds that institutional forces within the Australian government, such as the AFP and Foreign Affairs, supported the new Convention to increase their own jurisdiction and powers. Lastly, it looks at whether alternative policies such as regulation or decriminalization were considered by key policymakers. It finds that key individuals did support decriminalization but were overpowered by institutional and geopolitical forces. The significance of the dissertation includes: large amounts of new data to explain the development of the 1988 Convention; it increases knowledge around the institutional forces of criminalization and global criminalization; it significantly increases our knowledge of the role of the United Nations in waging the War on Drugs; and it increases knowledge around how mid-level nations interact with global institutions.

  • (2022) Maranan, Noahlyn
    The 2016 vice-presidential election in the Philippines was contested on Facebook, the nation’s most prominent social media platform. Among the contenders was Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, son of former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr, who ruled between 1965 and 1986. Memes played a significant role in the election. They potentially enriched participatory engagement and information dissemination to a broader public. Through them, opposing camps worked through different versions of the Philippines’ past, present, and future. This case presents a novel opportunity to contribute to the growing scholarly debate about the relationship between social media and democratic politics. This study asks, “Can social media contribute to strengthening democracy in the Philippines?” It approaches this question through a conceptual framework that integrates work on democracy and political memory while also taking seriously the propensity of social media to be enlisted in information campaigns of a propagandist nature. Having analysed a sample of Facebook memes for their form and content, the study comes to an ambivalent conclusion. As immensely pliable and flexible texts, created and circulated with ease, the thesis finds that memes play a dual role in democratic politics. In the 2016 Philippine election, they (a) allowed for the inclusion of competing perspectives, narratives, and voices about Marcos Sr’s past regime and his son’s electoral bid. Rational and passionate voices, as one would expect from models of deliberative and agonistic democracy, were visible in this study. Enabled by digital platforms, memes became an important medium for the creative, potentially deliberative, and agonistic (if not outwardly antagonistic) articulation of sidelined memories about the regime of Marcos Sr. At the same time, (b) memes served as instruments for persuasive networked influence. While this may seem contrary to democratic communication, such propagandistic communication carries the potential to enrich reasoned argumentations in the broader public sphere when viewed from the lens of the wider literature on deliberative democracy. This potential, however, also depends on other factors, which include the techno-discursive platform in which propagandistic content circulates and the characteristics of the electorate.

  • (2022) Fan, Hui
    The integration of variable distributed energy resources and vehicle electrification has come to focus over the last few years. While much work has been done to address the challenges that arise in modern distribution system planning and operation, continuous improvement to the models with the change is essential. The objective of this thesis is to improve the distribution network planning and operation models in the presence of distributed generation and electric vehicles. It aims to build stochastic models including the power generation and the charging demand, determine the location and sizing of the energy resources and charging stations in the coupled systems, and evaluate the impacts of the new low-carbon technologies on the network. Using a mixed-integer nonlinear programming framework through an optimal power flow analysis, this thesis presents three major methodological contributions including uncertainty modelling, coordinated mathematical formulation, and conflicting objective solutions. First, a multivariate stochastic process based on the notion of copula is applied to derive probabilistic charging patterns and to obtain the stochastic charging profiles. Second, a two-stage stochastic program based on statistical analysis and numerical simulation is introduced to generate synthetic time series of solar and wind power generation. The continuous distributions are discretized to generate the scenarios and the number of scenarios is reduced using Kantorovich metrics. Third, a two-dimensional Pareto front of dominant solutions is given for the competing objectives using a multiobjective Tchebycheff decomposition-based evolutionary algorithm. Case studies are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed methods. An optimal charging scheduling problem is formulated to assess the stochastic charging models. The problem is formulated as a conic quadratic optimal power flow model and solved with a convex optimization algorithm. Network expansion planning problems are presented with carsharing and non-carsharing models, as well as the distributed energy generations. Overall, these problems aim to minimize the planning and operational cost of feeder routing, and substation alterations while maximizing the utilization of charging stations. It is found that an accurate estimation of the randomness intrinsic to the network is critical to ensure the secure and economic operation and planning of the distribution system intertwined with the transport network.