Tag Archives: Australia

Advocate and introduce legislation promoting the free movement of citizens between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

We believe in the citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the CANZUK countries) benefiting from a freedom of movement initiative, advancing the ever growing cultural, historical, economical and political connections that we already share through our Commonwealth ties.

Because of the unique relationship and socio-economic bonds that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom share, we believe that each country can benefit from a free movement agreement with each other, similar to the policies of the European Union and the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (T.T.T.A) between Australia and New Zealand.

We propose that the governments of the aforementioned countries finalise agreements (and inevitably, legislation) which make it possible for citizens to move freely with no restrictions regarding work permits or visa controls.

Read more >> Change.org
https://www.change.org/p/parliaments-of-canada-australia-new-zealand-and-the-united-kingdom-advocate-and-introduce-legislation-promoting-the-free-movement-of-citizens-between-canada-australia-new-zealand-and-the-united-kingdom?recruiter=78012716&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-no_msg

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Australia to boost defence spending

Australia has announced a surge in defence spending, a move that reflects concern over military expansion in the region.

Military spending will grow by A$29.9b ($21.4b, £15.4b) over next 10 years, the 2016 Defence White Paper outlined.

The largest investment will be made in submarines, with investment also being made in additional naval vessels, fighter jets and personnel.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35657021

India- Govt. ships 450 maiden made in India metro coaches to Australia

This is the first shipment of the planned 450 coaches that will be exported to Australia over two-and-a-half year period

The government on Friday said maiden consignment of six metro coaches made in India were shipped to Australia from Mumbai port.

“The maiden consignment of six metro coaches built in Baroda for export to the Australian government were shipped from Mumbai Port,” a statement from Ministry of Shipping said.

Read more » DNA India
See more » http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report-government-ships-450-maiden-made-in-india-metro-coaches-to-australia-2171566

We are “cruel & dishonest. The rest of the world sees it.” – Julian Burnside

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Julian Burnside: Now is the time to stand up for justice

We need to face the fact that we are being cruel, selfish and dishonest, and the rest of the world sees it.

Our treatment of asylum seekers is unjust. Like many people, I am profoundly concerned about Justice. Campaigning for the just treatment of boat people has had strange consequences, including death threats and hate mail. I am liked by some people, and loathed by others because I stand up for decent treatment of refugees. It is an uncomfortable thing to be publicly vilified.

At a glamorous social function, the wife of a very senior and respected colleague sidled up to me and asked:

“Do you think it appropriate that a member of the bar speaks publicly about these matters?”

I answered, with more wit than preparation:

“Do you think it appropriate to know about these matters and remain silent?”

There the conversation ended.

Australians don’t usually get noticed by overseas media, unless it concerns sport.

But a recent exception to that was a favourable piece by Katie Hopkins, in an article published in the London Sun. Her admiration of Australia’s refugee policies looked less flattering when she described boat people as “vermin” and “cockroaches”. Presumably someone forgot to remind her that they are human beings.

The British Medical Journal recently published an article titled “Refugees: time for moral leadership from the Western democracies”. Its subheading was “Australia sets a disgraceful example in its treatment of refugees”.

It is a striking thing for Australia’s refugee policy to attract such sharp commentary in an international journal of such high standing.

Continue reading We are “cruel & dishonest. The rest of the world sees it.” – Julian Burnside

Australian Foreign Minister to visit Pakistan in May

ISLAMABAD: Australian Foreign Minister Ms Julie Bishop’s will arrive in Pakistan on May 6 on a two-day official visit.

“During her visit, Minister Bishop will hold meetings with Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal,” a spokesman for the Australian High Commission to Pakistan told DawnNews.

She would also deliver a speech on women empowerment and gender equality issues in order to highlight the support of the Australian government to Pakistan in this regard. Her speech would have the audience of senior government officials and lawmakers.

Also read: Pakistan, Australia to deepen defence ties

The Australian foreign minister would moreover visit Lahore on May 7 and meet with Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

She is also scheduled to inaugurate a project funded by the Australian government.

The foreign minister’s visit comes nearly two months after Pakistan and Australia agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of defence and security, including military training.

The two sides agreed to enhance defence cooperation during talks between Australian Chief of Defence Force (CDF) Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.

News courtesy: DAWN
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179355/australian-fm-to-visit-pakistan-in-may

Australia – Regional unemployment hits 12-year high

By 

The unemployment rate in regional Australia has risen to 7.3 per cent, a 12-year high, as job demand shifts increasingly to major cities with the winding down of the mining construction boom.

Regional Australia has not experienced unemployment rates this high since March 2003, with regional NSW recording the largest increase in jobless rates in the past three months, particularly in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle – big coal-producing regions.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says analysis of this week’s Bureau of Statistics quarterly employment data shows the unemployment rate in regional Australia, in non-seasonally adjusted terms, remains structurally higher than in capital cities.

Read more » The Age
See more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/regional-unemployment-hits-12year-high-20150424-1msjaq.html

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation: report

By 

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation, with no signs of strong wage growth, longer unpaid commuting times and a rise in workforce casualisation putting more pressure on middle- and lower-income households than they have faced in 20 years.

A new report from Per Capita, an independent think tank, also shows the split of national income between labour and capital is continuing to worsen in Australia, with wages’ share of national income dropping from 65.5 per cent at the turn of the century to 59.7 per cent in 2012.

It says this has occurred at the same time as the bulk of productivity improvements have come from labour rather than capital in recent years.

The report, “Paradise Lost? The race to maintain Australian living standards”, says Australians’ living standards are under threat due to slowing productivity, rising unemployment and slowing wages growth.

It warns Australians face an “inevitable correction” in their income and wages levels – with real wages set to fall markedly to reflect the country’s changed economic circumstances and lack of reform over the last decade – if nothing is done about it.

David Hetherington, Per Capita’s director, warned Australian governments they must re-start the reform process now to arrest the worrying trends, saying the benefit of the economic reforms of the 1980s and ’90s had run their course.

“Australia must either reform once again or face a dramatic downwards adjustment in wage levels and living standards,” Mr Hetherington said.

“To continue to lift labour productivity, we must lift our investment in hard infrastructure like transport and broadband, as well as soft infrastructure like skills and education.

Courtesy: The Age
Read more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australians-living-standards-face-the-greatest-threat-in-a-generation-report-20150423-1mrppz.html

Australian-first floating solar farm due to begin construction in SA

PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)
PHOTO: Solar panels will be floated at the wastewater facility at Jamestown similar to a current project in France. (Supplied: Infratech Industries)

By Matthew Doran

An Australian-first floating solar power plant is expected to be operational in South Australia by early April, with construction about to begin.

The plant will float on a wastewater treatment facility in Jamestown in the state’s mid north.

Felicia Whiting of Infratech Industries said the plant was designed so that much of the construction could be carried out offsite and slotted together at the facility.

“We should see some plant on the site within about two weeks,” Ms Whiting said.

She also explained that as the solar panels were floating they would be kept cool by the water mass, making them about 57 per cent more efficient than land-based solar panels.

“It prevents water evaporation up to 90 per cent of the surface area covered, and for dry states and dry climates that’s a big water saving measure,” Ms Whiting said.

“It prevents the outbreak of blue-green algae by keeping the surface water cool, which is for treated wastewater an issue in water quality.

“By preventing photosynthesis, the energy from the sun goes into the panel rather than into the water.”

Read more » ABC
See  more » http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-05/australian-first-floating-solar-farm-for-sa/6281374

Sydney hostages: Sydney gunman identified as Iranian

The gunman holding people hostage in a Sydney cafe has been identified as an Iranian refugee who was on bail facing a number of charges.

Man Haron Monis, who was granted political asylum in Australia, was described by his former lawyer as an isolated figure, who was acting alone.

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30481241

Should we follow the German way of free higher education?

Against the international trend, Germany has announced it will abolish tuition fees and higher education will once again be free for its citizens. Could the same happen in Australia?

In a shortlived experiment, Germany’s public universities – funded by state (Länder) governments – introduced fees in 2005. But as early as 2008, following public outcry, individual states started backtracking. The last two of the Länder still levying them will phase them out this year.

Fee-reversal could happen in Australia. We have only one government funding 37 public universities, compared to Germany’s 16 Länder funding more than 100. But perhaps the question for Australia is: should higher education be free?

The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights supports the implementation of free higher education on the basis that higher education should be equally accessible to all. But free doesn’t necessarily mean equal.

What’s the point of having a free education if only a few can access it? Or if the quality of higher education is sub-standard? On the other hand, what if a country charges high student fees, but ensures that anybody needing financial support gets it?

Read more » theconversation.com
http://theconversation.com/should-we-follow-the-german-way-of-free-higher-education-23970

Australia has proved Solar power can replace fossil fuels

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels.

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Read more » Science Alert
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140506-25618.html

Australia cuts ties with Thailand over military coup

By Reuters

PERTH Australia (Reuters) – Australia downgraded ties with Thailand on Saturday in the wake of this month’s military coup, imposing a travel ban on the junta leaders and cutting defense cooperation in some of the toughest punitive measures taken by a foreign government.

The U.S. and other foreign governments have condemned the May 22 coup, calling for a rapid return to democracy.

The Australian government said it had postponed three activities with the Thai military and would prevent the leaders of the coup from traveling to Australia as it continues to have “grave concerns” about the military’s actions in Thailand.

Read more » The Chicago Tribune
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-31/news/sns-rt-us-thailand-politics-australia-20140530_1_military-junta-coup-leader-military-coup

Australians March in March to Show No Confidence in Government

March In March Australia 2014, three days of peaceful assemblies, non-partisan citizens’ marches and rallies at Federal Parliament and around Australia to protest against government decisions that are against the common good of our nation.

This signifies a ‘people’s vote of no confidence’ in government policies and decisions that go against common principles of humanity, decency, fairness,social justice and equity, democratic governance, responsible global citizenship and conserving our natural heritage.

Many Australians are deeply concerned with the way our country is being governed. Not just at the present moment, but in general. They are concerned over issues which directly affect them, their families, and indeed all Australians. They are concerned about the policies and behaviour of all Australian political parties. They are concerned with the direction in which Australia’s great civil society is heading.

Democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box. It is the right, if not duty, of all Australians to hold our elected representatives to account; to remind them that they are, above all else, public servants. We must inform them regularly, daily if need be, of our concerns with the issues that affect all Australians. We must participate directly in our democracy in order for it to be truly representative.

Read more » http://revolution-news.com/australians-march-march-show-confidence-government/

Australia violated refugees’ human rights, UN says

By Michael Gordon

Australia has been found guilty of almost 150 violations of international law over the indefinite detention of 46 refugees in one of the most damning assessments of human rights in this country by a United Nations committee.

The federal government has been ordered to release the refugees, who have been in detention for more than four years, “under individually appropriate conditions” and to provide them with rehabilitation and compensation.

Consistent with Australia’s treaty obligations, the government has been given 180 days to assure the committee that it has acted on the recommendations and taken steps to prevent “similar violations in future”.

The UN’s Human Rights Committee concluded that the continued detention of the refugees, most of them Sri Lankan Tamils, is “cumulatively inflicting serious psychological harm” and in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/australia-violated-refugees-human-rights-un-says-20130822-2sdxq.html#ixzz2czBXeB00

Snowden leaks may embarrass Canberra

By Philip Dorling

American intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden may expose top secret Australian intelligence gathering operations and embarrass Australia’s relations with neighbouring Asian countries, Australian intelligence officials fear.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/snowden-leaks-may-embarrass-canberra-20130625-2ov4l.html#ixzz2XEZC9jUQ

Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

The United Nations human development index now ranks Canada as 11th

By the Canadian Press

Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries listed in the annual United Nation’s human development index — a far cry from the 1990s when it held the first place for most of the decade.

The 2013 report, which reviews a country’s performance in health, education and income, places Canada in 11th place versus 10th last year.

Continue reading Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

Vanishing Sindhis!

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

I share the following appeal from Mr. Mekan Vandiyar on “Vanishing Sindhis!”. Please share your comments and suggestions to mekan39@yahoo.com

My own comment is that Sindhis in Sindh, Sindhis in India and Sindhis living elsewhere should not be disheartened as there are encouraging signs that Sindhis all over the world can even say today “here is a Sindhi girl / boy from the Globe”. I do not have much insight into the notion that Sindhis in India can win a separate province, however, I feel that the harsh barriers that have kept Sindhis in India and Sindhis in Sindh, Pakistan away from each other will soon vanish and all Sindhis will also be be able to say “”here is a Sindhi girl / boy who loves Sindh as much as their new homeland“.

A recent announcement by the Indian and Pakistani government that they are normalizing business and economic relations and giving each other the “most favorite trading partner” status is one of those signs. The Sindhis from all over the world should not only encourage but also organize and participate in events that welcome every Sindhi regardless of where they live now. For example, the Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) whose members predominantly consist of those who migrated from Sindh (Pakistan) into the USA has been in the forefront of inviting prominent educationalists, political leaders, and writers who now live in India. It is time that all other Sindhi associations also follow this practice to bridge the gaps that may exist between various Sindhi communities.

Lastly, I assure Mr. Vandiyar that Sindhis in Sindh are more than ever determined to protect and advance Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture of peace, and Sindhi identity. They are and will continue provide all their support to Sindhis in India or elsewhere in the world in their efforts to protect their and advance their Sindhi language, Sindhi heritage, Sindh culture, and Sindhi identity.

Continue reading Vanishing Sindhis!

India Vietnam Sea oil exploration deal

Time to teach those around South China Sea a lesson

By Long Tao

No South China Sea issue existed before the 1970s. The problems only occured after North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1976 and China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands then became the new country’s target.

Unfortunately, though hammered by China in the 1974 Xisha Island Battle and later the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, Vietnam’s insults in the South China Sea remained unpunished today. It encouraged nearby countries to try their hands in the “disputed” area and attracted the attention of the US so that a regional conflict gradually turned international.

China, concentrating on interior development and harmony, has been ultimately merciful in preventing such issue turning into a global affair so that regional peace and prosperity can be secured.

But it is probably the right time for us to reason, think ahead and strike first before things gradually run out of hands.

It seems all the countries around the area are preparing for an arms race.

Singapore brings home high-end stealth aircraft while Australia, India and Japan are all stockpiling arms for a possible “world-class” battle. ….

Read more » Global Times

OWS spreads all over

– Occupy protests spread around the world; 70 injured in Rome

By Faith Karimi and Joe Sterling, CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia — and took a particularly violent turn in Rome.

Firefighters battled a blaze at an Interior Ministry building near Porta San Giovanni in Rome, the main gathering site of the Italian protesters taking part in the Occupy movement Saturday, said eyewitnesses who reported seeing a Molotov cocktail thrown near the building.

A spokesman for Mayor Gianni Alemanno, who condemned the violence, confirmed 70 people were injured, 40 of them police officers. No arrest numbers were available late Saturday. ….

Read more » CNN

Occupy the world

– by DAWN.COM

Inspired by the Wall Street rallies that began on September 17, protestors worldwide have joined in the movement against financiers and politicians they accuse of ruining global economies.

Dozens of cities across the world, including London, Frankfurt, Washington Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong, are holding demonstrations today in a show of solidarity with “Occupy Wall Street”, which is being coined as the “people powered movement for democracy.”

According to participants, these non-violent demonstrations are being staged to be initiate global change.

As these protests gain momentum globally, comparisons have been made between the Occupy Wall Street protests and the recent demonstrations in several Arab countries, some of which have seen change as a result.

In your opinion, can these protests actually reform global financial systems and how our countries economies are governed?

Is there really such a thing as people’s power?

Read more » Dawn.com invites its readers to give their views and suggestions.

Top of Chinese wealthy’s wish list? To leave China

by Wichaar Desk

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese millionaire Su builds skyscrapers in Beijing and is one of the people powering China’s economy on its path to becoming the world’s biggest.

He sits at the top of a country — economy booming, influence spreading, military swelling — widely expected to dominate the 21st century.

Yet the property developer shares something surprising with many newly rich in China: he’s looking forward to the day he can leave.

Su’s reasons: He wants to protect his assets, he has to watch what he says in China and wants a second child, something against the law for many Chinese.

The millionaire spoke to The Associated Press on condition that only his surname was used because of fears of government reprisals that could damage his business.

China’s richest are increasingly investing abroad to get a foreign passport, to make international business and travel easier but also to give them a way out of China.

The United States is the most popular destination for Chinese emigrants, with rich Chinese praising its education and healthcare systems. Last year, nearly 68,000 Chinese-born people became legal permanent residents of the U.S., seven percent of the total and second only to those born in Mexico. Canada and Australia are also popular. ….

Read more → WICHAAR

The End (of Religion) Is Near, Scientists Say

Scientists often have a funny way of talking about religion.

By Louis Ruprecht

A case in point concerns a new study that was discussed at the American Physical Society meetings in Dallas, Texas, in late March. Religion, it seems, is going extinct. You heard me: extinct. Dead and gone. Like the dinosaurs.

The data that a team of mathematicians used to reach this rather surprising conclusion were census reports of religious affiliation. Using a complicated means of mathematical analysis called “nonlinear dynamics”—complicated, ironically, because its purpose is to make complicated things simpler by reducing them to one variable—the team attempted to extrapolate from data on religious affiliation in nine countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Turns out, every case of self-reported religious affiliation is trending downward: 40% self-identify as religiously non-affiliated in the Netherlands, as do 60% in the Czech Republic. The mathematicians seem far more surprised by these numbers than most religionists would be. ….

Read more : Alternet.org

‘China ready to go to war to safeguard national interests’

Beijing: Terming US attempts to woo India and other neighbours of China as “unbearable”, an article in a Communist party magazine has said that Beijing must send a “clear signal” to these countries that it is ready to go to war to safeguard its national interests.

The article published in the Qiushi Journal, the official publication of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) said China must adhere to a basic strategic principle of not initiating war but being ready to counterattack.

“We must send a clear signal to our neighbouring countries that we don’t fear war, and we are prepared at any time to go to war to safeguard our national interests,” the article said, suggesting an aggressive strategy to counter emerging US alliances in the region.

“Throughout the history of the new China (since 1949), peace in China has never been gained by giving in, only through war. Safeguarding national interests is never achieved by mere negotiations, but by war,” it said.

The piece said countries like Japan, India, Vietnam, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Korea are trying to join the anti-China group because they either had a war or a conflict of interest with China. …

Read more : ZeeNews

The Reko Diq fiasco

By Feisal Naqvi

The interesting thing about the internet is that it is as great a force-multiplier for ignorance as for knowledge. Take, for example, the Reko Diq project. The average Pakistani newsreader is convinced that (a) the Federal Government is an evil stooge of western interests; (b) the people of Balochistan are being ripped off yet again; and, (c) it is now up to the Supreme Court to save us. All three beliefs are completely wrong. Here are some facts about the Reko Diq project.

Read more : Pakistan Today

“WikiLeaks” is right. To lead our world to freedom. we deserve THE TRUTH : Defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange!

Defend Wikileaks and Julian Assange! Australia should break the military alliance with US!

December 7, 2010 — “The Australian government should defend and support Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange and their efforts to expose the lies, duplicities and outright crimes of the US government and its allies”, said Peter Boyle, national convener of the Socialist Alliance on December 7. …
Read more : Links International Journal