Eva U Wagner

Programme Coordinator Rule of Law, Energy & Development Policy Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific KAS Australia

Biography

Eva is KAS Australia’s Programme Coordinator for rule of law, energy and development policy in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. She has edited various Periscope volumes to date, and provided an introduction to the latest rule of law edition including reflections on the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Her aim for the serial publication is to contribute to global peace and justice by promoting appreciation of the rule of law and harnessing the benefits of cross-border collaboration.

Eva is a German lawyer with several years of work experience in private practice. Starting her legal career in intellectual property rights, she has since specialised in international estate matters and Australian migration and citizenship law. Her education includes a (civil law) Master’s degree in German law from the University of Konstanz and a (common law) Master’s degree in intellectual property rights from the University of Aberdeen, for which she researched at the University of Cape Town compulsory pharmaceutical licences under the TRIPS Agreement. Prior to joining the Foundation, Eva was engaged as Research Officer with the Austrian Embassy in Canberra, covering Australia, New Zealand and 11 Pacific Island States.

Paper Series

Digital Lens

Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM – Regional Solidarity Restored, For Now

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) may recently have overcome the greatest crisis since its inception. n 2021, in response to the election of Henry Puna from the Cook Islands as Secretary General (SG) of PIF, the five Micronesian member states announced their withdrawal from the regional forum. They insisted that under a gentlemen’s agreement, the Secretary General should have been chosen from the Micronesian subregion, and demanded that SG Puna step aside for their candidate to take his place (see Digital Snapshot #3/21). One by one, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Republic of Nauru and the Republic of Kiribati submitted their formal notices of exit to the PIF Secretariat. Back then, the media labelled their decision “Micronexit”, and experts feared the worst for regional cooperation and security. Subsequent apologies by Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and others could not change the Micronesian minds.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Australia’s Red Line in the Pacific

When Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced that they would develop hypersonic weapons via the recently created AUKUS security alliance, China accused these countries of attempting to build an Asia-Pacific version of NATO. Now that China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, it is for the AUKUS countries to consider its implications for their security. This holds particularly true for Australia, located in close proximity to the Solomon Islands. Given that Australia is scheduled to hold federal elections on 21 May this year, it is unsurprising that the security agreement has become a major election campaign issue. KAS Australia would like to take the opportunity to outline some of the major parties’ responses.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Security made in China?

Digital Snapshot #06/22 1 April 2022 A potpourri of current affairs topics from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific brought to you by KAS Australia and the Pacific.…

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Podcast

by Eva U Wagner

Periscope Podcast Series #1/22

KAS Australia proudly presents the first edition of its new Periscope Podcast Series. Periscope Podcast #1/22 features Dr Robert Glasser – Head of the Centre for Climate and Security Policy of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – National Party Ahead in Latest Polls

According to the latest 1 News Kantar public poll conducted between 5 and 8 March amongst 1000 eligible voters, the National Party has overtaken the governing Labour Party for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

AUSTRALIA – A Constitutional Monarchy With Republican Potential

Queen Elizabeth II recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The platinum jubilee coincides with the release of the Australian Republican Movement’s proposal for the country to become a republic. The Australian Choice Model describes what constitutional amendments are required for Australians to be able to elect their head of state. This Digital Snapshot takes a closer look at the republican debate in Australia, including the arguments in favour of retaining the status quo.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – National Party Elects New Leader

The National Party of New Zealand has elected a new leader. Christopher Luxon (national.org.nz), the former CEO of Air New Zealand, is the Party’s 5th leader in the last 5 years. His predecessors include Bill English (2016 to 2018), Simon Bridges (2018 to 2020), Todd Muller (2020) and Judith Collins (2020 to 2021). Nicola Willis (national.org.nz) was chosen as deputy leader.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

TONGA – General Elections

The Kingdom of Tonga held general elections on 18 November 2021. Tonga - a constitutional monarchy - has a unicameral Parliament (Legislative Assembly) (Fale Alea) with 26 seats. 17 seats are reserved for democratically elected representatives; 9 seats are chosen by the noble families amongst themselves. This year, more than 60,000 registered voters were called upon to elect their representatives from 72 candidates, including 12 women. Voters must be aged 21 or over and be in Tonga to be eligible to vote.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

FIJI – New Head of State (President)

The current Head of State’s, His Excellency Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi Konrote, term comes to an end this month after he served the maximum of 2 consecutive terms provided for under the 2013 Constitution of the Republic of Fiji - Laws of Fiji. President Konrote was the first non-iTaukei president to be elected by Parliament. Earlier presidents were elected by the Great Council of Chiefs, a constitutional body abolished (turned into an aristocratic body with no powers) in 2012 by former military dictator turned prime minister Frank Bainimarama. The election of Ratu Wiliame Katonivere is said to show the respect that people still have for the chiefly system.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – New Governor General

Following the end of Dame Patsy Reddy’s term last month, Dame lcyion Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro was sworn in as the New Zealand’s 22nd Governor General on 21 October. Dame Cindy is the 4th woman, the 3rd Māori after Sir Paul Reeves and Sir Jerry Mateparae and the 1st female (wāhine) Māori to hold this office. What else do we know about her?

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACIFIC – Reception of AUKUS

A lot has been said and written recently about the new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, however, we have heard much less about what the Pact actually means for the Pacific region. So, let’s start with some context before taking a closer look at what the media have reported in regards to how it has been received by the Pacific Island states.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

VANUATU – Vacancies in Parliament?

In the beginning of June, the (now former) Speaker of Parliament declared vacant 19 seats of 52 members of parliament, including those of Prime Minister Bob Loughman and Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau, on the ground that they were absent from three consecutive sittings without his permission. The Supreme Court initially stayed the Speaker’s decision, so that parliament could continue sitting the next day, and issued consent orders under which the Speaker had to resign, which he did, saying that...

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

Updates from the Antipodes

Following the latest National Cabinet (2 July), Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have announced the country’s pathway out of the pandemic. In his press conference, he said the National Cabinet had agreed to a four-phase plan, including the setting of vaccination targets. The details of those targets are yet to be determined, as are the measures to achieve the them.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SAMOA – A FAST End to an Era of Political Dominance?

In Samoa, events have unfolded thick and fast since the general election held on 9 April. In order to understand them, some basic details are needed.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – Budget 2021

The New Zealand Government has released its Budget for the upcoming financial year. In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Grant Robertson from the governing Labour Party said that the Budget was about securing the country’s economic recovery.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – State of Play

New Zealand owing to the coronavirus pandemic was in a state of national emergency from 25 March until 13 May 2020. The emergency was declared by the then Minister for Civil Defence Emergency Management, Peeni Ereatara Gladwyn Henare, under section 66 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002. The national emergency was followed by a national transition period under section 94A of the aforementioned Act, which in turn ended on 8 June 2020. These periods went along with an early and hard lockdown and equally strict measures in response to subsequent outbreaks.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND and the SOUTH PACIFIC – Latest news

More than twelve months have passed since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Germany, Europe and most of the rest of the world are still in the grip of the pandemic. The situation for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific is a slightly different one.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SAMOA – General Elections

The Independent State of Samoa held general elections on 9 April. Voters were called upon to elect the 17th Parliament (Parlamene) from just under 200 candidates representing five parties plus a dozen independents. The unofficial election result sees both major parties with 25 seats each in the 51-seat parliament, meaning the only independent candidate may play the role of kingmaker.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

TUVALU – Digital Transformation

Tuvalu, one of the world's smallest independent nations, comprises nine low-lying coral atolls. Half of its estimated population of 11,000 lives in the capital Funafuti. Apart from climate change and rising sea levels, with only one ATM and no online banking, accessing cash ranks amongst its biggest issues. In response, the government is considering the introduction of blockchain technology. The objective is for the country to become a paperless society, with all of its legislative, executive and financial data stored online in a public ledger. The idea is also to replace its cash economy with a new digital currency, rather than using one of the cryptocurrencies currently available.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA – General Elections

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) held general elections on 2 March 2021. Of the unicameral Congress’ 14 seats, ten were available. In the absence of political parties, all candidates stood as independents for the two-year parliamentary term.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM – Regionalism in Crisis

Since 2014, the Pacific Islands Forum’s work is guided by the Framework for Regionalism, which sets out the strategic vision, values, objectives and approaches to achieve deeper integration in the region. The Framework defines regionalism as:

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

NEW ZEALAND – APEC 2021

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is hosted by New Zealand this year under the theme Join. Work. Grow. Together. The economic and trade forum was kicked off by way of informal senior officials’ meetings between 9 and 11 December 2020. For the first time in the forum’s history, all meetings will be held virtually. While the host country’s decision to go virtual is comprehensible with a view to the ongoing pandemic, it has given rise to cybersecurity concerns.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACER plus

The Pacific Agreement On Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus is due to come into force on 13 December 2020. Eleven years after the negotiations commenced and three years after they concluded, the Agreement was signed by Australia, New Zealand and nine Pacific Island countries. Of the signatories, nine countries have ratified it: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Niue and the Cook Islands. Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have signed the Agreement but not yet ratified it. Neither Fiji nor Papua New Guinea, the two largest economies in the Pacific, have signed the Agreement to date.

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Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a constitutional monarchy and member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II, currently represented by Governor General Sir Bob Dadae. Since 2019, the government is led by Prime Minister (PM) James Marape. PNG’s unicameral national parliament has more than 100 members who are elected for five year terms. They nominate the governor general, who is then appointed by the British monarch, and the prime minister, who in turn appoints the ministers of the cabinet.

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

New Zealand – Official Election Results

There were over 3.2 million enrolled voters, a record of just under 2 million of which voted in advance. Given the total number of party votes of just under 2.9 million, only about 900,000 voters must have cast their votes on the actual election day. Official figures of special declaration votes (including overseas votes) are expected to be made available as of 20 November.

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Digital Snapshot

By Dr Beatrice Gorawantschy & Eva U Wagner

SPECIAL EDITION: NEW ZEALAND – General Elections

New Zealand has elected a new parliament on 17 October 2020. The preliminary election results are in line with the pre-election polls and show that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party has gained the absolute majority.…

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

New Zealand – Run up to the elections

Following Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to postpone the date by four weeks, New Zealand is scheduled to hold general elections on 17 October 2020. With less than two weeks to go, it is high time for KAS Australia to provide a pre-election update.

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

Pacific Islands Forum – Candidates for Secretary General

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was founded in 1971 and describes itself as the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. The Forum has 18 members including Australia and New Zealand. There are 14 independent island states (the Cook Islands – in a free association with New Zealand, Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), two non-self-governing territories administered by France (New Caledonia and French Polynesia) and one associate member (Tokelau).

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Digital Snapshot

By Eva U Wagner

South Pacific Update

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic warrant an update on the situation in the South Pacific. Let’s take a look at the case numbers first, using Australia, Germany and New Zealand as benchmarks.

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