Australian APEC Study Centre

Australian APEC Study Centre

Background

The Australian APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Study Centre at RMIT University describes its mission as to “advocate and advance APEC's objectives of promoting open trade and investment, structural reform, the strengthening of financial systems and regional integration.” [1]

According to its website, the Australian APEC Study Centre at RMIT is “a leading centre in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of advocacy of APEC’s objectives of promoting open trade and investment, structural reform and regional integration through training programs, supporting institutional capacity building, symposia, dialogues and publications. It does this together with its component facility, the Melbourne APEC Finance Centre.” [2]

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) was created in 1989 and now boasts it encompasses 21 members spanning four continents. The center was established at the APEC Leaders Summit in 1993, where leaders agreed to set up APEC Study Centres “in the higher education sector to promote APEC’s goals and objectives.” [2]

From 1997 to 2009, the Centre was administered by Monash University. In 2007, the State Government of Victoria funded the Melbourne APEC Finance Centre which functioned as a part of the Australian APEC Study Centre. In April of 2009, both Centres were transferred to RMIT University's College of business. [2]

The Centre has functioned as a pro-free trade think tank, and also has a history of opposing the Kyoto Protocol and other climate change legislation. [2]

Climate science denier and lobbyist Alan Oxley functions as Chair of the Australian APEC Study Centre, while he also managed the Asia Pacific Page of the now-defunct www.techcentralstation.com, a website that regularly promoted the views of climate change deniers. [3]

Stance on Climate Change

March 2010

“The science of how the world’s climate works is very weak. The models used by the UN to predict changes have enormous gaps of knowledge. There is also very vigorous debate among scientists about whether or not levels of carbon dioxide cause global warming or are caused by it. In other words, we do not know if human generated carbon dioxide is significant or not. Many of us just want to think it is.”[3]

Funding

According to their brochure, “The Centre successfully bids for funds to support these activities from the Commonwealth government from AusAID and other sources. The Victorian Government finances activities of the Melbourne APEC Finance Centre to promote work in financial regulatory training and Melbourne as a regional financial centre.” [1]

Key People

Personnel/Staff

Note, 2005 through 2011 were individuals listed on the Australian APEC Study Centre's “Activity Report,” while 2017 are those listed on the Centre's website as of 2017 (although it is not clear when that list was last updated.)

Name 2005 - 2006 2006 - 2007 2007 - 2008 2008 - 2009 2010 - 2011 2017 Description
Alan Oxley Y Y Y Y Y Chairman
Briony Wood-Ingram Y Y
Aaron Soans Y Research Fellow
Alberto Posso Y Principal Research Fellow
Bonnie Rivendell Y Senior Manager (Acting)
Douglas Brooks Y Principal Research Fellow
Errol Muir Y Publications Editor
Joaquin (Jack) Gelvezon Y Reporting and Minitoring Analyst
John Farrugia Y Project Officer
Kevin Nguyen Y Project and Communications Assistant
Lisa Barker Y Lead Staffer of the ABAC Australia Secretariat
Roslyn Zakaria Y Project Officer
Margot Kilgour Y Y Executive Manager
Alex Kerangpuna Y Temporary Intern
Elissa Macleod Y
Jack Gelvezon Y
Mary Prusakova Y Temporary Intern
Alex Katz Y Y Y Project Manager
John McKay Y Y Y Senior Associate
Lauren Streifer Y Y Y Project Manager
Kenneth Waller Y Y Director, Australian APEC Study Centre (and Melbourne APEC Finance Centre)
Jaime Jobson Y Y Y Communications and Executive Manager
Judi O'Gorman Y Y Y Financial and Administrative Officer
Alison Hendy Y Y
Ken Waller Y Y Chair
Tim Wilson Y Project Manager (Resigned. April 2006)

Advisory Board

Name 2010 - 2011 2017 Description
Alan Oxley Y Y Chairman
Mark Johnson AO Y Y Chairman of the Board, Australian ABAC Member
Andrew Macintyre Y Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Vice-President RMIT
Chris Tinning Y Assistant Secretary APEC Branch, Investment and Economic Diplomacy Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Observer)
Geoff Raby Y Geoff Raby & Associates
Ian Palmer Y Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, College of Business, RMIT University
John Denton AO Y Partner and CEO of Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Justin Hanney Y Lead Deputy Secretary Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victorian Government
Ken Waller Y Chair
Merilyn Liddell AM Y Former President of RMIT Vietnam
Amb Richard Woolcott AC Y Former Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Bruce Kean AM Y Past Chairman of the Board
David Hanna Y Deputy Secretary, International Coordination Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, State Government of Victoria
John Larkin Y Assistant Secretary, APEC Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Kenneth Waller Y Director, Australian APEC Study Centre (and Melbourne APEC Finance Centre)
Ian Palmer Y Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, College of Business, RMIT University
Paul James Y

Financial Services Advisory Board

Name 2005 - 2006 2006 - 2007 2007 - 2008 2008 - 2009 2010 - 2011 Description
Alan Oxley Y Y Y Y Y Chairman
Chris Gaskell Y Y Y Y Y Head of International Relations, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
Christine Brown Y Y Y Y Y Professor, Department of Accounting and Finance, Monash University
David Knox Y Y Y Y Y Worldwide Partner, Mercer Consulting
Jules Gribble Y Y Y Y Y Director, Enterprise Metrics
Kevin Davis Y Y Y Y Y Research Director, Melbourne Centre for Financial Studies
Ian Thompson Y Y Y Y Managing Director, Chief Credit Officer and Head of Research & Training (Asia-Pacific), Standard & Poor’s
Kathryn Watt Y Y Y Y Principal General Council and Company Secretary, Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd
Joe Garbutt Y Y Y Policy Director, Institute of Internal Auditors - Australia
Aaron Smith Y Y Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (Industry Engagement), College of Business, RMIT University
Kenneth Waller Y Y Director
On Kit Tam Y Y Y Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Business International), College of Business, RMIT University
Justin Douglas Y Manager, Bank Policy Unit, Australian Treasury
Richard Foster Y Director, Foster Infrastructure
Rod Maddock Y Head of Group Strategy, Commonwealth Bank
Ros Grady Y Associate Professor, University of New South Wales
Adeline Hiew Y Senior Associate, Blake Dawson
Hugh Moor Y (Observer). Director, Financial Services, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development, State Government of Victoria
Robert Glading Y Y Y Y Consultant and Former Insurance Commissioner
Tim Coyne Y Y Y Y Partner, Financial Services, Ernst and Young
Edmond U Y Y Y CommInsure, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Richard Fisher Y Y Y General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, University of Sydney
Sean Balding Y Y Y Ernst and Young
Syd Bone Y Y Y Chairman, Melbourne Centre for Financial Studies
Leonie Lethbridge Y Y Head of Risk – International Partnerships, ANZ
Marcus Chadwick Y Y Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
Tony D'Arcy Y Y Project Manager- Financial Services, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development
Kerstin Wijeyewardene Y Financial System Division, Australian Treasury
Ken Waller Y Y Y Chair
Chris Legg Y Y General Manager, Financial SysteDivision, Department of the Treasury
Nick Minogue Y Y Division Head, Risk Management, Macquarie Bank Limited
Development Y
Jaime Jobson Y Communications and Executive Manager
Jayne Godfrey Y Deputy Dean, Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash
Kim Holmes Y Manager, International Cooperation Office of International Relations, Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Paul Rekaris Y Project Manager -Financial Services, Department of Innovation and Regional
Kim Holmes Y Senior Lawyer, Office of International Relations, Australian Securities and Investments Commission;
Mark Blair Y National Manager, International Affairs, Australian Stock Exchange;
Natalie Wells Y Director, Financial Services Ratings Asia Pacific, Standard and Poor’s.
Nelun Jayasinghe Y (Alternate member) Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
Siwe Sin Yuan Y (Observer) Associate, Insurance Regulation Development Division, Insurance Department,Monetary Authority of Singapore; and
Stefan Hohl Y (Observer) Representative Officer for Asia and the Pacific, Bank for International Settlements.

Actions

March 2008

Bill Bown of ITS Global wrote in an Australian APEC Study Centre publication that the Stern Report and the Garnaut Review on climate change “are advocating an approach to climate change that would increase, not decrease, poverty.” [4]

“Economic growth is the best way to continue to reduce poverty. However the Stern Report recommends we decrease growth,” the Centre's publication claims. “The Stern strategy would reverse the current trends to eliminate poverty. It would increase the number of people in poor countries in absolute poverty.” [4]

April 2005

The Centre organized a conference entitled “Managing Climate Change: Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future” supported by Tech Central Station and the International Public Affairs website. The conference, which included several climate science deniers as speakers, was also sponsored by Xstrata and ExxonMobil. [7][5]

Speakers included: [6]

  • Harlan Watson
  • Qingqing Zhao
  • Alan Oxley — Chairman of the Australian APEC Study Centre, Monash University.
  • Graeme Pearman — Director, GP Consultants Pty Ltd.
  • Bob Carter
  • William Kininmonth
  • John Zillman
  • Garth Paltridge
  • Roger Beale — Senior Associate, The Allen Consulting Group.
  • Brian Fisher — Director, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Meg McDonald — General Manager Corporate Affairs, Alcoa World Alumina Australia.
  • Aynsley Kellow
  • Alan Moran — Director, Deregulation Unit, Institute of Public Affairs.
  • Jon Stanford — The Allen Consulting Group.

January, 2005

After attending the tenth meeting of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, The Australian APEC Study Centre's Chair, Alan Oxley, wrote a paper titled “The prospects for global collaboration on climate change.“ [3]

Oxley writes that the Kyoto Protocol emissions reductions “would have negligible impact on global emission of carbon dioxide.” He proposes a “practical strategy for Australia,” where he recommends that emissions trading would be an “outdated” strategy, adding: “There is no point in Australia’s allying with the EU alone to support a global warming strategy that cannot work and which reduces global competitiveness.” [3]

He goes on to promote a supposed “debate” on the science of global warming. [3]

“This debate has real substance. A principal indicator of this is the unwillingness of Green groups to engage,” he writes. “The general response from Green groups has been to say the science was settled years ago and that there is a comprehensive consensus among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activity is the leading contributor. There has been orthodoxy rather than a consensus about the science.” [3]

Without citing sources, Oxley writes that “more detailed temperature readings of the upper atmosphere […] “generally do not support the claim that temperatures are rising in the atmosphere.” [3]

August 21, 1997

The APEC Study Centre organized a conference titled “Countdown to Kyoto” in conjunction with the Frontiers of Freedom Institute. [8]

Speakers included Patrick Michaels, John Christy, and Alan Oxley as well as Jerry Ellis, past Chairman of the multinational BHP Ltd. and Peter Hartley, director of a think tank called the Tasmania Institute.

At the conference, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel commented, “I believe we are headed down the wrong path in the negotiations for any global climate treaty to be signed in Kyoto, Japan, this December.”

Hagel went on to cite well-known climate change denier Richard S. Lindzen, quoting him as saying “a decade of focus on global warming and billions of dollars of research funds have still failed to establish that global warming is a significant problem.”

Hagel concludes that the “path to Kyoto should be abandoned until we have a better idea of the climate changes we are dealing with and until we can come up with a truly global solution that is fair and equitable for all the nations involved.” [9]

The centre also released a 1997 report before the conference, similarly titled “Countdown to Kyoto” written by prominent climate change denier John R. Christy. The paper describes climate change as an “uncertain phenomenon” and claims that warming is “more modest” than models suggest, which could “ take away some of the urgency for
immediate action on CO2 reductions.” The paper also promotes the supposed benefits of CO2, and downplays dangers of increased concentrations in the atmosphere, saying: [10]

“There is nothing toxic about CO2 at levels even five times that of the current amount. Plant life flourishes with increased CO2 (up to three times present concentrations), and the entire biosphere is invigorated with CO2 in greater concentrations. It was in such a rich CO2 atmosphere (at least three times today’s levels) that most of our present biosphere evolved,” the paper claims. 

Contact & Location 

Room 26, Level 6, Building 80 [11]
445 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 
Australia
Fax: +61 3 9925 5624

Related Organizations

  • The Lavoisier Group - Alan Oxley was a speaker at the inaugural conference of the climate science denial group.
  • Tech Central Station (TCS) — Alan Oxley ran the Asia Pacific page of TCS while also working as Chair of the Australian APEC Study Centre.  [3]

Resources

  1. “The Australian APEC Study Centre at RMIT University” (PDF), APEC.org.au, March 9, 2010.

  2. About the Centre,” The Australian APEC Study Centre. Archived August 18, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0wZnA

  3. “The prospects for global collaboration on climate change” (PDF), APEC.org, January 2005.

  4. Bill Bowen. “The Stern Strategy on climate change would increase poverty – Garnaut should not go down the same path,” APEC Currents, March 2008. Archived August 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/RrsBv

  5. APEC Currents (June, 2005 issue). Archived August 21, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/4tcVo

  6. “Centre Activity Report: June 2004 - June 2005” (PDF), The Australian APEC Study Centre.

  7. Papers available from the Australian APEC Study Centre Conference, April 4 'Managing Climate Change: Practicalities and Realities in a post-Kyoto future',” Climate Change Issues. Archived May 5, 2005. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/H6llK 

  8. Countdown to Kyoto: The Consequences of Mandatory CO2 Emission Reductions,” Monash University. Archived August 6, 1997.

  9. “Countdown to Kyoto” an International Conference on The Consequences of Mandatory Global CO2 Emission Reductions: Remarks by United States Senator Chuck Hagel” (PDF), Retrieved from APEC.org.au.

  10. John R. Christy. “‘Countdown to Kyoto’: The Consequences of the Mandatory Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions, Australian APEC Study Centre, Canberra, 19–21 August 1997” (PDF), The Australian APEC Study Centre, 1997.

  11. “Contact Us,” The Australian APEC Study Centre. Archived August 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/sJnMB

  12. Australian APEC Study Centre,” SourceWatch. Archived August 21, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/E8BAo

Other Resources