Tag Archives: Australia

Global News

Australia same-sex marriage referendum result

Australians in support of same-sex marriage are celebrating today after over 60% of citizens voted in support of marriage equality.

Although the referendum result is not legally binding, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took to Twitter to reassure the country, posting: “The people of Australia have spoken and I intend to make their wish the law of the land by Christmas. This is an overwhelming call for marriage equality.”

The postal vote referendum was marred in controversy with critics asking why the move could not be legislated for in Parliament without the need for a referendum – as was the case in Scotland. The move  follows the equal marriage referendum in Ireland, which took place in May 2015.

In Zimbabwe, the military have taken control. President Robert Mugabe, is being held under house arrest.

The 92-year-old leader became head of state in 1987, after seven years as Prime Minister.

It is alleged that the military take-over was at least in part caused by the sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangawa, who was relieved of his duties last week.

 

Russia

International tensions between Russia and neighbours are rising. On Monday, Theresa May claimed the Russian government were responsible for planting fake news stories to cause discord in the West.

Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are a threat to Western values, namely tolerance and openness.

The Russian Government have proposed a bill that will require all foreign journalists working in the country to register as ‘foreign agents.’

The state Duma (lower house) voted in favour of the move. It will now come before the Federation Council (upper house) and must be approved by Vladimir Putin.

The move comes in retaliation to ‘RT’ having to register as a foreign broadcaster in the U.S. Formerly ‘Russia Today,’ the media outlet are financed by the Kremlin.

This comes against the back drop of allegations that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, which Kremlin representatives deny.

Brexit Talks Get Underway

Yesterday, MPs voted in support of a landmark Brexit Bill, which will end the supremacy of E.U. law in the U.K. Ministers voted to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act.

This comes early in eight days of talks on the topic of the Withdrawal Bill, with Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U. scheduled for 29 March 2019 – exactly two years to the day since the triggering of Article 50.

Reports claim the decision to fix the date of the Withdrawal so early in the debating process was criticised by some, but this has been dismissed by those within the Conservative Party as media attempts to divide the party.

Activists condemn ‘Another Pine Gap’

by Tom Freeman and Marie Montodo

Australian peace activists have criticised a new agreement between Australia and the US
which will lead to an increased American military presence in the area.

President Barack Obama assured the Asia-Pacific region that the U.S. was “here to stay,” after announcing 2,500 U.S. troops and aircraft will operate out of the city of Darwin, close to the Indonesian border.

Missile guidance base Pine Gap is an example of how the US and Australian militaries have worked together since the 1970s .

Cameron Hall, 35, from Tasmania, said “A lot of Australians will be upset about this.  In the cold war many people were worried because Pine Gap made us a target for Russia and China.  This announcement is bad timing because China is our main trade partner, and there is also a growing feeling of dissent about what is seen as a cavalier attitude by our government to giving away Australian territory.”

Pine Gap, near Alice Springs employs over 800 staff and is a Joint Defence Facility, like Menwith Hill in the UK.

“I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority,” Obama told an audience of American and Australian troops at the Royal Australian Air Force base in Darwin yesterday.

China has already expressed concerns about the move.  Xinhua, China’s state news agency, said “it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the United States is trying to seek hegemony in the region, which would be in line with its aspirations as a global superpower.”

Obama responded to these objections by saying the U.S. wants to work with China: “We’ll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing.” He also added, however, that the U.S. would not ignore issues such as human rights in the region.

“Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict, or cooperation; needless suffering or human progress,” he said.

SOUND FILE: obama addresses troops.

Emigration Expo for Scots

by Wendy Wan

The air was thick with dreams and anticipation of  people wanting a new life far away from Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow at the weekend. 

According to the government, between 2007 and 2008 almost 38,800 Scots moved abroad, with almost the same number, 38,500 adopting Scotland as their new home from overseas. 

Every year around 200,000 UK citizens emigrate, with the most popular destination being Australia, followed by Canada and New Zealand.

An estimate of 4000 visitors showed up at the SECC exhibition designed specifically to pave the way for people to leave thier country of birth and adopt another. 

But due to the recession things are changing.  Australia has now introduced changes to their legislation designed to preserve jobs for Aussies, making it harder for those who want to emigrate

That however is not stopping the 200,000 Brits from moving abroad looking for a better standard of living.  Many UK citizens move to Canada for bigger and cheaper housing as well as for their impressive education and health care.

Things are not always greener on the other side though, an estimate 25% of emigrants end up returning to the UK.

New light shed on ‘Empire of the Son’

By Al Innes

British children await passage to Australia

Gordon Brown looks set to issue a formal apology to the child victims of a forced migration policy. Brown is believed to have commented that in the new year he feels the “time is right” to say sorry for a scheme that sent 150,000 children, some as young as three years old, abroad to a life of abuse and hardship. Between 1920 and and 1967 children in state or charitable care were sent abroad, often alone, to live and work in places such as Australia and Canada. Many had parents in the UK who were told the children faced a better life, while most ended up as unpaid labour abroad.

Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, remarked that the policy had been “a stain on our society.” Balls further commented saying:

“The apology is symbolically very important, I think it is important that we say to the children who are now adults and older people and to their offspring that this is something that we look back on in shame, It would never happen today. But I think it is right that as a society when we look back and see things which we now know were morally wrong, that we are willing to say we’re sorry.”

"Apology is symbolic" says Balls

Australia’s premier, Kevin Rudd, went one step further than the British Prime Minister with his own apology to the 7,000 victims of the policy who still live in Australia.

“Sorry that as children you were taken from your families and placed in institutions where so often you were abused. Sorry for the physical suffering, the emotional starvation and the cold absence of love, of tenderness, of care. Sorry for the tragedy – the absolute tragedy – of childhoods lost.

The British government were believed to be offering the children a chance of a better life, while other evidence suggests they were seen as a burden to the British state and were more useful as labour for the colonies. In 1998 a British parliamentary inquiry reported findings that suggested:

“A further motive was racist: the importation of ‘good white stock’ was seen as a desirable policy objective in the developing British Colonies.”

According to the official files released by the National Archives, the representative of the governor of Tasmania in 1951, Sir John Norris stated:

“In this vast country of ours we must populate or face the possibility of losing it to some of the millions of Asiatics that menace us.”

He went on to request that re-population from European ethnic groups was essential.

“We want migrants of British stock.”

Kevin Rudd has recently apologised for the ‘lost generation’ of children who were sent out to institutions ranging from foster homes to orphanages and, under state protection, were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Rudd described these environments as “utterly loveless.”

Only ending in 1970, Rudd directed a parliamentary bill at the tens of thousands of mixed-race children who were taken from their families in a process of white assimilation.

Brown looks set to apologise for Britain's shameful policies of the past

The question of the Black War, during which accusations of genocide against the indigenous inhabitants of Tasmania have been leveled at the British army, is one that still causes controversial debate among academics as well as politicians. Most controversial for many is the collaboration of both civilian and military in the removal and extermination of Aboriginals on the island.

Many of the victims of the child migration policy are seeking legal aid in order to sue the Government for compensation.

Tony Blair apologised in 1997 for the suffering caused to the Irish people during the potato famine, and in 2007 he issued a statement of regret for Britain’s role in the slave trade with many claiming this was far from the unconditional apology required.

Prince Phillip for a new generation

By James Bradley
Prince Edward has caused controversy after commenting on the death of a teenage hiker in Australia this week. After being asked for a comment, rather than just stating his sympathy and sending his wishes to the family, the royal decided that he should go one step further and make a comment that would make his father shed a tear in pride.

Prince Edward stated that the risk of death is appealing to teenagers and young people when it comes to hiking and other activities. Though in my experience teenagers with an interest in death don’t usually spend their time hiking mountains or white water-rafting.

However when it comes to gaffes there is one man, nay hero, in the UK that is somehow able to get away with flagrantly absurd comments without raising much more than a chuckle from the public.

Prince Phillip is this man; somehow he has been able to get away with more gaffes than a Big Brother contestant. Everyone has their own favourite Prince Phillip quotes; I myself am quite fond of: “If it doesn’t fart or eat, she isn’t interested.” A comment on his own daughter Anne, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the Queen’s hubby.

However, there are a few differences between Prince Phillip and a Big Brother contestant. A Big Brother is only in the spotlight until we get bored of them or their sex tape has poor production values; Prince Phillip is there for life.

And bizarrely enough some of these comments do spark controversy and even anger from certain groups; for the most part his eccentric, almost fantastical views on the world are embraced by the people of the UK.

Why is this though, for what reason do we love these streams of consciousness emanating from what can only be called a true member of the aristocracy? (Mainly because it’s more polite than saying ‘a complete nutter’)

For those against the aristocracy it seems to be an affirmation that people born with blue blood are so completely separated from reality that they are unable to fathom that anything they say could be anything other than completely right and utterly hilarious. And not what those on the receiving end of these statements probably believe i.e. a complete berk.

Those for the aristocracy seem to believe that it’s right for someone with such status to be able to say what he feels, and not be restricted by so called ‘political correctness’. However it should be said that there is a definite difference between being politically correct and having common sense.

However as the years pass and this pillar of respect and solidarity grows older, who will take his place when the unfortunate day comes and he is laid to rest? Who can take the place of the man who once gave his wisdom to several visitors to the orient warning them of the risk that their faces may transform to fit into the society they were now staying: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”

There can be only one man who can take his place, and that is Prince Edward his son. A man who said that the British media “hates anyone who succeeds”, and spent most of his time trying to create television shows that frankly nobody wanted. This is the man to be the pride of Britain, and our representative to the world, though hopefully not to any country that has an army which is more than five men with a spear.

But why do we need someone who can say these things? Why do we need someone who acts as though he has been pulled straight out of the 1920’s, given a suit and pushed in front of a bunch of foreign dignitaries and given free reign? Well in my opinion, it’s just a bit of a laugh really.

British Backpackers not practicing safe sex Down Under

by Linn Dupont

Backpackers-6356853British backpackers traveling around in Australia has been accused for spreading sexually transmitted diseases caused by their risky behavior. That is found from a study made by Britain’s John Moores University in Liverpool and Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

A survey carried out amongst backpackers at hostels in Sydney and Cairns found out that the British backpackers often had triple the number of sexual partners compared to how many they were normally having sex with at home. This regardless being single or not.

The report shows that of those who were single when arriving to Australia and having sex, 40.9 percent reported not using condom on a regular basis, while 24.0 percent had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Australia is a very popular travel destination and each year 700, 000 young Britons go there to enjoy life while traveling around and provide for themselves by carrying out different jobs on the way. Almost one fifth of the backpackers have more than one sexual partner when they’re on vacation.

“Backpackers are at high risk of sexually transmitted infections and other negative sexual outcomes”, the study sums up. Both John Moores University and Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre strongly wish for backpackers to take a closer look at their behavior both before and during their travels in order to make an effort for improvement.

Backpackers

Captain Pietersen quits in England turmoil

By Ross Hart

English cricket is in turmoil as captain Kevin Pietersen resigned and coach Peter Moores was sacked in dramatic fashion yesterday.

Batsman Andrew Strauss will captain England for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies, which starts on January 25th with a warm up match against a St Kitts and Nevis Invitation XI before the first test in Jamaica on February 4th.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that there had been an “irretrievable breakdown” in Pietersen and Moores’ relationship and that the squad had been split as a result.

In a statement, Hugh Morris, managing director of the ECB, said: “The England and Wales Cricket Board has late this afternoon accepted, with regret, the resignation of Kevin Pietersen as England captain.

“Kevin recognised that in the present situation it was impossible to restore the dressing room unity, which is vital, if England are to win the forthcoming tour to the Caribbean, the ICC global events or regain the Ashes in the npower Ashes Test series.” Continue reading Captain Pietersen quits in England turmoil

England postpone India cricket tests

By Ross Hart                     

Anthony Devlin/PA
Picture courtesy of Anthony Devlin/PA

The England and Wales Cricket Board have postponed England’s final one day matches against India in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai.                                     

101 people, including six foreign nationals, are reported to have been killed in co-ordinated attacks by gunmen across the city, which was due to host a test match between the two countries from December 19.

The England squad will remain at their hotel in Bhubaneswar, 580 miles east of Mumbai, for at least 24 hours as the ECB and their Indian counterparts continue talks as to whether the remaining games will be played.

In a statement, the ECB’s managing director Hugh Morris said: “On behalf of the board and the England team, we would like to express our condolonces to the families and friends of those people who were killed or injured in last night’s attacks.”

Mr Morris added that “the safety and security of the England team is of the utmost importance to the ECB”. They will continue discussions with Indian officials over the next 24 hours.

England are 5-0 down in the seven match series, with the sixth game due to take place on Saturday and the final match scheduled for December 2.

Kevin Pietersen’s side are also due to play a three day match from the 5th of December before taking on two test matches from the 11th, but the future of these remains uncertain.

The inaugural Twenty20 Champions League tournament due to start in Mumbai next Wednesday has also been postponed in the wake of the attacks.

English county side Middlesex were due to take part in the competition but delayed flying to Mumbai, while two participating Australian teams were stopped from travelling by the Australian cricket authorities.