Title: Australian News
Australia (TheOne) - March 7, 2012 10:36 AM (GMT)
Australia (TheOne) - March 8, 2012 05:53 AM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
GILLARD TO CALL EARLY ELECTIONS AS MASS RESIGNATIONS ROCK GOVERNMENT
The Kevin Rudd leadership challenge saga has not ended, with ministers and members of parliament who publicly supported Kevin Rudd, today resigning from their positions, effectively crippling the government.
In total, five ministers have resigned. They have been followed by three senators, and seven other members of parliament.
The Gillard camp has pointed the finger squarely at Kevin Rudd, accusing him of seeking to undermine Julia Gillards leadership and bring down the government as retribution. Kevin Rudd has however denied he orchestrated the mass resignations. "I am in no way shape or form responsible for the decisions and actions of those senators, ministers and members of parliament who have today decided to resign their positions, as a result of loosing all confidence in the ability of Julia Gillard to lead the country."
Kevin Rudd went on to warn that he would not be surprised if others also walked out on the Gillard government, and that in time, he will be vindicated for his decisions.
Julia Gillard is expected to visit the Governor General some time this week, and call an early election.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has capitalized on Labors implosion, "This is further evidence that Labor has lost its way and is not fit for government to lead this country. It is one disaster after the next. Their internal disharmony and self destruction has left Australia effectively without a leader at the helm for over a month now. This is unacceptable to the Australian people. The Labor party is incapable of sorting out it's own problems and mess, how do they think they'll be able to run a country? The Gillard government has been nothing but shambolic since she infamously knifed Kevin Rudd in the back to lie and deceive her way to the top job."
Australia (TheOne) - March 13, 2012 07:22 AM (GMT)
THE AGEFIRST ALL-FEMALE BATTLE SETUPRight, Julie Bishop, Left, Julia Gillard
Julie Bishop has yesterday managed to take the reigns of the opposition Liberal Party from Tony Abbott, in a scandal-free, and relatively low key leadership challenge. With the country now on a course for early federal elections, the change in leadership by the opposition and Kevin Rudd's failure to retake the top job from Julia Gillard, Australia will make history with the very first all-female battle to become Prime Minister.
Tony Abbott continued to slip in the polls. While the Liberal Party was preferred over the Labor Party, Abbott was not very popular amongst voters. Gillard too is rather unpopular amongst voters. The change in leadership by the opposition is clearly a move aimed at winning the upcoming election.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard will today visit the Governor General, and announce early elections.
Australia (TheOne) - March 13, 2012 01:26 PM (GMT)
BISHOP FIRES FIRST SHOTS
Newly appointed opposition and Liberal Party leader, Julie Bishop, has wasted no time in firing the first shots, in what is expected to be one of the most heated election campaigns in Australian political history, as for the first time two women take both major parties to the polls.
The opposition leader outlined key policies, when a reporter questioned whether she will be any different to Tony Abbott at a media conference this morning. Among the opposition leaders top priorities will be the creation of a new free trade zone and customs union with New Zealand, and other neighboring nations. While similar in nature to the European Unions custom union, the opposition leader will stop short of seeking to create a political and economic monetary union such as the European Union, instead focusing on the free flow of goods and services in Oceania.
Opposition leader Bishop also declared that a government under her leadership will have a zero tolerance approach to illegal boat arrivals. "No individual from any boat arriving illegally in Australian waters will set foot on Australian soil. I will do what is necessary to ensure the continued sovereignty of our nation."
"We will do what a timid, weak Labor government has failed to do to secure Australia's interests."
The government however dismissed these policies as either being rehashed from the Howard years, or ideas the Labor party has already floated it self.
Australia (TheOne) - March 13, 2012 01:36 PM (GMT)
THE AUSTRALIANAUSTRALIA GOES TO THE POLLS IN AUGUST
VOTE NOW: Who will you vote for?
- Julia Gillard
- Julie Bishop
The Prime Minister early this morning made her way to the see the Governor General, Ms Quentin Alice Louise Bryce at her residence in Canberra. A short time later she emerged but avoided the media, returning to Parliament house, holding a press conference an hour later where it was announced that she, the Prime Minister, had been to see the Governor General, and that an election was to be held in August.
The Prime Minister briefly discussed a range of issues, such as the strengthening of the government with the appointment of Senator Bob Carr to the Senate and as Foreign Minister, and how it was an honour and with sincere gratitude that the Australian people had elected her in 2010 to lead the nation. She declined to comment on Julie Bishops appointment as opposition leader, or recent announcements by the opposition, saying it was not the appropriate time or place to comment on such matters.
Australia (TheOne) - March 13, 2012 09:59 PM (GMT)
BISHOP WANTS AUSTRALIA IN SPACE
The new opposition leader has barely warmed her seat in Parliament, but she is already actively pitching the Liberal party under her leadership as an alternative and viable government to the Australian people.
She had already announced several key policies even before the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had made her expected visit to the Governor General and called an election, and today she was busy knocking our socks off with yet another announcement. A Julie Bishop lead Liberal government will take Australia into space.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Julie Bishop, if she becomes Prime Minister, has announced that a government she leads will establish a space program.
"Some may call me crazy, some may say this is pie-in-the-sky stuff. But to them I say it is time Australia was represented and made it's presence in space. Can we afford it? Yes. Do we have the know how? Yes. What we are missing is the political will to get it done and I intend to change that.
More and more countries are making a presence in space. Sending their own probes and satellites into orbit. Australia risks being left further behind, technologically, if we do not act."
The government naturally laughed off the new opposition leaders latest policy announcement as yet more 'show boating'. The government announced plans, that if re-elected, it would invest in green technologies to create a new high-tech industry that Australia could become a world leader in. The Prime Minister said "What we have is concrete, realistic policies for the benefit of Australians with thousands of new jobs, while the opposition is busy announcing any ludicrous idea that pops into their heads."
Australia (TheOne) - March 14, 2012 03:56 PM (GMT)
THE AUSTRALIANCARR STANDS UP FOR WEST PAPUAMorning Star flag, banned in Indonesia
Foreign Minister Bob Carr has done what none of his predecessors bothered, or dared, to do. Make a stand against Indonesia's ongoing and systematic human rights abuses against the people of West Papua.
In what reports indicate is a heated meeting between him self and his Indonesian counterpart, Bob Carr in no uncertain terms, is believed to have told the Indonesian foreign minister that the human rights abuses need to come to an end, and the people of West Papua need to be given the right to self determination. Still image from a video of a torture scene of a West Papuan villager by Indonesian soldiers.
Human rights organizations have been sending in dozens of reports of human rights abuses, including extreme accounts of torture and brutal killings, with Indonesian security forces cracking down indiscriminately and without any concern for a loss of human life. Such reports have been confirmed by refugees who sporadically arrive on Australia's northern shores from the region.
This is the first time since Australia sent in troops to end the human rights abuses and genocide in East Timor, that the Australian government has intervened on behalf of a minority group in Indonesia regarding human rights abuses. Observers and human rights activists alike, have said that now that the foreign minister has made a stand, the pressure needs to be ramped up against Indonesia in order to end the human rights abuses for good.
Other newspaper front page headings;THE AGEFREE WEST PAPUA, CARR TELLS INDONESIASYDNEY MORNING HERALDCARR TO INDONESIA: END THE ABUSE IN PAPUA
Australia (TheOne) - March 15, 2012 12:57 PM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
FUTURE FUND BATTLE
Liberal party leader Julie Bishop has attacked the government, saying it can not be trusted to manage the Australian Future Fund, created under the last Liberal government lead by John Howard, as Labor has in the past 'raided' the Future Fund to pay for it's promises. "Who can guarantee that they will not raid the Future Fund again to pay for this elections promises? They can not be trusted," said Bishop. The Australian Future Fund currently stands at $90 billion, with the aim of it holding $140 billion by 2020.
"What we have now, is a Prime Minister in Julia Gillard, who has made a career based upon lying to and deceiving the Australian people, and stabbing her superiors in the back through more deceit. She promised the Australian people she would not introduce a carbon emissions tax, yet she went and did it anyway.
Julia Gillard is not a person who is fit for the office of Prime Minister of Australia.
A government under my leadership, will repeal this tax before it impacts on the hard working mums and dads of this country and their families. Unlike Julia Gillard, I intend to keep this promise."
The Liberal leader went on to say that a government under her leadership would not dip into the Future Fund to pay for any election promises. A Bishop Liberal government would also increase the target from $140 billion, to $150 billion by 2025.
The government however rejected this, with Treasurer Wayne Swann saying that Julie Bishops policy of increasing the Future Fund was not sustainable, and cuts to critical government spending would have to be made to achieve such an unrealistic and irresponsible target.
"People need to think about how this target is going to be reached by a Julie Bishop Liberal government. Will they cut spending on health, education or infrastructure? Perhaps pensions and other forms of government financial assistance to the sick and disadvantaged will be cut back to pay for this irresponsible announcement? The Labor government has continued to make deposits into the Australian Future Fund in sensible amounts, as the economic climate allows. And will continue to do so if elected. We also created funds for education, health and infrastructure."
Australia (TheOne) - March 15, 2012 03:44 PM (GMT)
HERALD SUNFREEDOM FOR WEST PAPUAScene from music festival in Australia
At the recent world music festival WOMAD, in Adelaide, where almost 100,000 people attended over the weekend, a sign of solidarity with the people of West Papua and their struggle for independence, was staged.
On the final night of the festival, Blue King Brown together with artists from West Papua, were joined by a 25,000 strong crowd, raising their fists in support for freedom for West Papua, while the West Papuan flag was raised over the festival, in what was the biggest show of support for West Papua in Australia to date.
A festival organizer said, "We sent a message tonight to Indonesia. The Australian people stand with the people of West Papua together in their struggle for freedom from the oppressive and genocidal rule of Indonesia.
We sent a message tonight to the current Australian government. The people of Australia want you to take action to end the occupation of West Papua, to end the human rights abuses, and give the people of West Papua what they deserve, freedom like every other nation on earth."
The huge show of solidarity with West Papua comes amidst a meeting between the Indonesia and Australian foreign ministers, where Bob Carr is confirmed to have literally thrown the issue in his Indonesian counterparts face. A Department of Foreign Affairs staffer has confirmed that foreign minister Bob Carr, in no uncertain terms, told the Indonesian foreign minister the abuses need to end immediately and the people of West Papua allowed to decide their future.
Australia (TheOne) - March 15, 2012 03:49 PM (GMT)
CALLS INTENSIFY TO ISOLATE INDONESIA
Human rights groups, as well as the Green's, Free West Papua movement, the Australian Red Cross, and various other minor political parties in Australia, have demanded the Australian government freeze all aid to Indonesia and suspend all military assistance. Aid which this year will be an estimated half a billion dollars. Greens leader Bob Brown says that money would be better spent helping New Zealand rebuild the city of Christchurch after the devastating earthquake.
The Greens went one step further, demanding the government freeze all trade with Indonesia and withdraw all investments, as well as cancel all military and security agreements signed with Indonesia. "While human rights abuses are still occurring, the Australian government should not be involved in any way that can be seen as supporting the Indonesian government's systematic and brutal genocide of the West Papuan people. Rip all agreements up now!" Greens leader Bob Brown was quoted as saying on a national radio broadcast today. A trade ban would not significantly hurt either country, but would hurt Indonesia more, as it exports around $6 billion worth of goods to Australia annually, as compared to around $4 billion imported from Australia. Australian investments in Indonesia are close to $6 billion.
He also demanded that a travel ban be placed on Indonesia, with nearly 800,000 Australian's holidaying there in 2010, such a ban would significantly hurt Indonesia's tourist industry, which only receives 7.6 million tourists annually. Australians represent the second largest arrivals.
Opposition leader Julie Bishop has come out firing as well, saying the government needs to urgently take the matter before the United Nations and force Indonesia to respect the human rights of the West Papuan people, as well as force the Indonesian government to respect the previous United Nations agreement that granted the West Papuan people the right to self determination in the form of a referendum, which Indonesia staged a mock referendum, selecting around 1,000 people in the late 1960's, and threatening them to vote against independence.
A spokesperson from the Department of Foreign Affairs said the government was not considering any of those demands.
Australia (TheOne) - March 15, 2012 04:07 PM (GMT)
KATTER WEIGHS IN ON WEST PAPUA DEBATE
As pressure continued to grow on Canberra to take action, Bob Katter has weighed in on the West Papua debate, saying the government should not only demand the end of human rights abuses, but it should forget calls for a referendum, and actually recognize West Papua as an independent country.
He said that most people were unaware that earlier in the year, in March, the Federal Republic of West Papua was 'registered' at the United Nations Security Council. "Our government should stop pussy footing about, even the secretariat of the United Nations has acknowledged the Federal Republic of West Papua", said Katter in an interview.
Should the Australian government recognize the Federal Republic of West Papua, it could open the flood gates for recognition, and mobilize the International community to take action to support the West Papuan people.
Australia (TheOne) - March 15, 2012 09:56 PM (GMT)
THE AGESOME RANDOM INDONESIAN SAYS AUSTRALIA OPPRESSORS ABORIGINALS..SURELY HE JESTS?
Apparently the recent media attention in Australia for the plight of the West Papuan people and their right to self determination has not gone down too well with Indonesians. In particular, one academician in some far flung university the name of which nobody has heard before, who has decided he will try and give Australia a serving over it's treatment of it's indigenous people. He has gone on the record to accuse Australia of not only violating the human rights of Australia's indigenous people, but of oppressing them too.
Rather then belittle this alleged academician, who being someone who is allegedly meant to be educated, we will instead endeavor to educate and enlighten him.
Indeed, the treatment of Aboriginals by past Australian governments has been shameful. So shameful in fact, that no amount of money or effort is spared today to provide every form of assistance and support to Australia's indigenous communities.
Here is a list of the support and assistance governments provide;
Work placement support
On top of all this government support, which far exceeds anything any other Australian citizen receives, various companies and corporations also provide support to local Aboriginal communities were they operate. If it is not various banks providing training and work placement programs for Aboriginal youth, it is mining companies which provide hundreds of millions of dollars worth of support to local indigenous schools and community programs.
Australia's indigenous people also have native title land rights, across all of Australia.
The Aboriginal flag flies in every capital city alongside state and national flags. It is not banned, nor do people go to jail for 15 years for displaying it.
Aboriginal culture and customs are taught throughout the school curriculum, in every school.
Aboriginal culture, and the contribution of the Aboriginal people to Australia and Australian society is not only recognized, but it is celebrated. You will find Aboriginal people in every aspect of society, from politics to television and music, to business people, to the armed forces and the police force. They are not oppressed, like the West Papuan people. The Australian police and the Australian Army do not conduct brutal violent crack downs which result in the death of indigenous people. They do not torture and systematically destroy Aboriginal communities.
The hypocrisy, mr academician of Gunadarma University, is yours. The Australian government, the Australian media, the Australian people, are telling you, clean up your act. But rather then take note of how Australia treats it's indigenous people, you chose to sling your ill-informed opinions around. If you are what is considered an academician in Indonesia, I shudder to think about the future of your country.
Australia (TheOne) - March 16, 2012 09:05 AM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
INDONESIAN PRESIDENTS SHAME
The Indonesian president has made statements regarding the situation in West Papua. Declaring that the perpetrators of the violence have been arrested and imprisoned and will be put on trial. Yet, he has made no mention of any commanding officers or government officials who ordered and orchestrated the systematic genocide of West Papua. Nor has he made any mention of the past soldiers, police officers, commanding officers or politicians who were involved. On top of these upcoming sham trials, he has announced security forces will undergo what he has labeled "human rights training".
Human rights training? There is nothing at all difficult about not killing, torturing, raping and molesting civilians, that warrants extra training. If the Indonesian security forces are required to undergo special training outside of their regular training, in order to learn how to respect civilians and follow the rule of international law regarding non-combatants, one has to wonder just what their regular training entails.
Regardless of what announcements the Indonesian leader makes, these are all cosmetic in nature designed to appease the Australian government and the International community. In reality however, very little will change on the ground for the West Papuan people. Their basic human rights will still be denied to them, their freedom and independence prevented by a military occupation.
Australia (TheOne) - March 17, 2012 06:36 AM (GMT)
THE AUSTRALIANAUSTRALIA SET TO BECOME WORLDS BIGGEST GAS SUPPLIER
With over $200 billion in natural gas projects underway or in the pipeline, Australia is set to over take Qatar as the worlds biggest gas power.
Some of the biggest projects inlude the $43 billion Gorgon project, the $35 billion Browse project and the $34 billion Ichthys project. Along with smaller projects such as the $15 billion Curtis LNG project, $16 billion Gladstone project, and the $14 billion Australia Pacific project.
Australia (TheOne) - March 21, 2012 05:45 AM (GMT)
GILLARD PROMISES HEALTH EQUALITY
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced, that a returned Labor government, would significantly boost funding for indigenous health care, with the aim of bringing equality in services.
She pledged that an extra $5 billion would be spent on health care and services for indigenous communities in remote parts of Australia. This will include more facilities and beds, as well as new training programs for indigenous people. The initiative will recognize the fact that it is near impossible to attract existing doctors and nurses to go live and work in remote parts of the outback, and the need to train and equip people in remote communities to provide essential health services. Up to twenty five nurses and ten doctors a year will potentially be trained from outback communities.
Australia (TheOne) - March 21, 2012 05:53 AM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
BISHOP: WE WILL NOT STOP NBN, ONLY CARBON TAX
Julie Bishop has declared that any government she leads will not pull the plug on the roll out of the multi-billion dollar fiber optic national broadband network currently being rolled out across Australia, as often accused by the Labor government.
She announced that a Liberal government would 'tear up' the Carbon Tax, a tax which Julia Gillard promised at the last election that no government she leads would introduce, yet introduced last year anyway.
"The carbon tax is an unfair and unjust burden on the Australian people. The federal government does not need more money by bleeding dry the Australian people. It needs to be run by a team of people who are capable and competent to manage the nations revenue with sustainable policies," said Julie Bishop on talk back radio this morning.
The opposition leader also did not rule out removing the mining tax, which is aimed at the super profits of the big mining corporations. The government is already facing a revolt from the Western Australian state government over the issue of the mining tax.
Australia (TheOne) - March 22, 2012 12:02 AM (GMT)
POLLS TWO PARTY PREFERRED, PREFERRED PM
Published in various major newspapers
Two Party Preferred
Nielsen LABOR 46%, LIBERAL 46%
Roy Morgan LABOR 51% LIBERAL 41%
Newspoll LABOR 43% LIBERAL 49%
Preferred Prime Minister
Nielsen GILLARD 45% BISHOP 49%
Roy Morgan GILLARD 38% BISHOP 55%
Newspoll GILLARD 48% BISHOP 52%
Australia (TheOne) - March 22, 2012 11:31 AM (GMT)
BISHOP: BAN ON IMPORT OF WORKERS
With the federal election just weeks away, Julie Bishop has announced if she wins the election, she will seek to ban the importation of foreign workers by Australian and foreign corporations. In recent years the issue has caused wide spread debate, with some foreign corporations with operations in Australia seeking to import a work force from over seas, rather then employing local Australian's from the communities in which they operate. Australian companies are not innocent either, with several using such methods to try and evade paying the higher salaries and wages they would be required to pay a local Australian work force.
Bishop said, "It is totally and completely unacceptable that any company be it Australian or foreign would seek to import a work force for their local operations, rather then employ local Australian people who are more then skilled and educated.
What a Liberal government under my leadership will say, particularly to foreign corporations, is that if you wish to establish operations in Australia, or continue operations in Australia, your work force in Australia will be exclusively Australian.
I will not accept any company importing a single worker when an Australian is able to be hired for a particular job.
What a government under my leadership will do is impose hefty fines and punishments for any corporation or company which undertakes such practices."
Australia (TheOne) - March 22, 2012 11:39 AM (GMT)
GILLARD: MORE HELP FOR AUTO INDUSTRY
Julia Gillard is not resting on her achievements as Prime Minister to help win her another term in the top job, she too like her counterpart Julie Bishop is busy announcing new policies.
Today the Prime Minister announced if she is returned to power her government will provide more financial assistance to the auto manufacturing industry which employs tens of thousands of Australians.
Part of the plan includes increasing the green-car fund, and widening it's scope to provide a major financial incentive for the two local manufacturers to design and create new technologies and applications. However it will go further, with financial assistance given for the development of more locally designed and manufactured vehicles. "What we are seeking to do is not just help our local manufacturers create greener, cleaner cars for the future, but to create new technologies, and also new vehicles which in the past they would not have been able to do. This will create more jobs for Australians, which is what we are all about. Creating more job opportunities for Australians and getting more people into work. It's good for the economy, it's good for the Australian people, and it's good Australia."
General Motors Holden, one of the two big local car makers, has flagged it's interest in expanding beyond it's small-megium-large car line up, and designing and manufacturing commercial vehicles such a trucks and vans, a segment of the market which is dominated by imports.
Australia (TheOne) - March 23, 2012 03:44 AM (GMT)
POLLS TWO PARTY PREFERRED, PREFERRED PM
Published in various major newspapers
Two Party Preferred
Nielsen LABOR 44%, LIBERAL 49%
Roy Morgan LABOR 50% LIBERAL 43%
Newspoll LABOR 45% LIBERAL 50%
Preferred Prime Minister
Nielsen GILLARD 45% BISHOP 52%
Roy Morgan GILLARD 34% BISHOP 60%
Newspoll GILLARD 42% BISHOP 53%
Australia (TheOne) - March 23, 2012 04:00 AM (GMT)
BISHOP FIRMS AS PREFERRED PM
With the latest polls in, Bishop has firmed as the favorite for Prime Minister, while Julia Gillard has slipped considerably, a few days out from the election, with Gillard dropping to as low as 34% on the Morgon poll.
The news is a major blow to the Gillard camp, with Rudd's supporters smiling in the background saying "we told you so". At the start of the year Rudd launched an ambitious leadership challenge, which he lost dramatically, culminating in the resignation of several ministers and back benchers in March, forcing early elections.
Gillard yesterday was busy announcing she would raise tariffs on imported vehicles, to help support the local auto manufacturing industry, while Bishop countered with a policy of her own, a new Buy Australian campaign, funded by the federal government to support not only the auto manufacturing industry but all Australian produced goods.
The Labor government is expected to lose the election, with Bishop's popularity elevating the Liberal party to it's highest level of popularity since the Howard era. Kevin Rudd refused to comment on whether he would launch another leadership challenge for the Labor party if Gillard loses.
Australia (TheOne) - March 25, 2012 02:10 AM (GMT)
EARLY RESULTS SHOW SWING AGAINST GILLARD
With polls now closed counting is underway across the country. Early indications are showing that there has been a general swing away from Labor and Julia Gillard.
First results are not expected to be confirmed until later this evening. Updates will occur as they happen.
Liberal party has won 15 seats, Labor 6.
Liberals up to 23 seats, Labor 13.
Liberals 39 seats, Labor 25, Greens 2, Nationals 1, KAP 1.
Liberal 43 seats, Labor 30 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 4, KAP 1.
Liberals 49 seats, Labor 38 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 5, KAP 1, Independents 3.
Liberals 55 seats, Labor 40 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 5, KAP 1, Independents 5.
Liberals 60 seats, Labor 41 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 5, KAP 1, Independents 5.
Liberals 65 seats, Labor 43 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 7, KAP 1, Independents 6.
LIBERALS ON THE VERGE OF VICTORY, LABOR DECIMATED
The Liberal party and Julie Bishop are on the verge of winning government this morning with 65 seats already under their belt, needing a further ten seats to secure government. In addition to their own seats, they will be joined by the National Party, which has so far won seven seats, giving the Coalition an outright majority even if the Greens and all the independents do a deal with Labor.
Labor has so far only managed to pull 43 seats, with the general national trend of a swing against them, therefore making it unlikely they will retain government. It would be nothing short of a miracle to win from this far back now.
Liberal Party 68 seats, Labor 45 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 8, KAP 1, Independents 6.
Liberal Party 74 seats, Labor 48 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 8, KAP 1, Independents 6.
Liberal Party 76 seats, Labor 49 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 8, KAP 1, Independents 6.
3pm Update - Final
Liberals 80 seats, Labor 53 seats, Greens 2, Nationals 8, KAP 1, Independents 6.
Australia (TheOne) - March 25, 2012 02:38 AM (GMT)
JULIE BISHOP DECIMATES LABOR
After being at the helm of the Liberal party for less then a year, Julie Bishop has managed to steal an election victory in dramatic fashion, with her party winning government in it's own right.
The result means Bishop and the Liberal party will not need to rely on the Nationals, their traditional Coalition junior partner, to get through new legislation in the House of Representatives.
"It is with great honour and respect for my predecessors, that I take the reigns of our great country. The people of Australia have spoken. They wanted change. They wanted an alternative to Labor and their policies. And I intend to deliver these changes to the Australian people. The resources boom has put the economy in a good position, but so much more could be done by government to power the economy further ahead, were Labor has failed time and again, but were we will succeed."
In other election news, by-elections in the three senate seats vacated by three Labor senators during the mass resignations which forced this federal election, have seen the Liberals pick up one extra senate spot, and the two other Labor senators running as independents and retaining their positions.
Julia Gillard conceded defeat shortly after midday. Which some party elders have called a premature decision, which only proved she was not a suitable leader, which the Australian people had now made clear. Kevin Rudd has remained silent, with no indication on whether he will launch another challenge. Former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keeting, has suggested that if Kevin Rudd was to try take the leadership back again, he would be best off making an attempt now, in the aftermath of the election disaster.
Australia (TheOne) - March 25, 2012 09:46 AM (GMT)
THE AUSTRALIANBISHOP UNVEILS CABINET
Newly elected Prime Minister Julie Bishop has wasted little time in getting on with the job, announcing her cabinet less then forty eight hours after defeating the Labor government at the polls. Former leader Tony Abott, has received the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio, with Malcom Turnbull, another party heavy-hitter, being elevated to the Foreign Ministry and also picking up the trade portfolio along with communications and broadband. More then half of the Nationals who won a seat, have been given ministries in the cabinet, although the Liberal party is able to hold government without the National Party.
There are few surprises in her cabinet line up, with the Prime Minister choosing to maintain the positions held from the shadow cabinet during the Liberal party's time in opposition.
- Liberal - Ledaer of the Government(Liberal party leader) Julie Bishop
- National - Deputy Leader of the Government(National Party leader) Warren Truss
- Liberal - Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Trade, Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcom Turnbull
- Liberal - Minister for Defence David Johnston
- Liberal - Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Tony Abott
- Liberal - Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Eric Abetz
- Liberal - Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Attorney-General, Minister for Arts George Brandis
- Liberal - Treasurer Joe Hockey
- Liberal - Manager of Government Business in the House, Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training Christopher Pyne
- Liberal - Deputy Leader of the Nationals, Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion
- National - Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water Barnaby Joyce
- Liberal - Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction, Chairman, Coalition Policy Development Committee Andrew Robb
- National - Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane
- National - Minister for Health and Ageing Peter Dutton
- Liberal - Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services Kevin Andrews P
- Liberal - Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Greg Hunt
- Liberal - Minister for Productivity and Population, Immigration and Citizenship Scott Morrison
- Liberal - Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science Sophie Mirabella
- National - Minister for Agriculture and Food Security John Cobb
- Liberal - Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Bruce Billson
Australia (TheOne) - March 25, 2012 01:56 PM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALDNUCLEAR SUBS BACK ON THE AGENDAA US Navy Virginia Class nuclear attack submarine
The new government is barely days old, and already it has set about exploring the previous Labor governments decisions and re-examining the options available to them.
In particular, new Minister for Defence, David Johnston, has declared on the issue of Australia's future submarine project, that nuclear propulsion is now "back on the agenda".
The current project, Project SEA 1000, is still in it's definition phase, therefore this decision will not hurt the project or delay it by any considerable amount of time."Simply put, conventional propulsion systems are just not adequate enough for the needs of the Royal Australian Navy, to be able to provide a deterrent against any would-be adversaries, nor capable enough to provide the navy with the capability for extend periods on patrol in Australia's large exclusive economic maritime zones."
The decision to put nuclear propulsion back on the agenda as an option is believed to be centered around the offer by the United States for the Australian government to lease American nuclear powered submarines as an interim solution, while American defence firms work with their Australian counterparts to integrate an American designed nuclear propulsion system onto an Australian designed submarine, with American battle management systems. The future submarines have already been designated as land attack capable, and regardless of their propulsion, will carry Tomahawk cruise missiles that can strike targets as far as 2,500km away.
Australia (TheOne) - March 27, 2012 02:55 AM (GMT)
#333399HERALD SUN100 YEAR SUPER-CYCLE
South Australia is entering the start of the 'most transformative decade in the State’s history', says Economic Development Board chairman Raymond Spencer.
Aside from the political rhetoric of mining booms, Spencer went a step further yesterday, declaring the State is 'not in a boom – we’re in a 100 year super cycle'
He was speaking at the Technology and Innovation Review forum at the Intercontinental Hotel – a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event.
A director and chairman of several global corporations, Spencer recently returned to live in Adelaide after 35 years living and working in the US, India and Europe.
He said the Olympic Dam expansion project was the starting point for a major shift in the State’s economy."Olympic Dam is one of 30 mining projects in development, adding to the 19 that are in production or construction, which has resulted in an extraordinary growth in the State’s mineral and energy sectors – a veritable mining super cycle"
Spencer told 100 delegates at the forum."We’re not in a mining boom – what follows a boom? We’re in a 100 year super cycle. We are at a turning point and there are opportunities that we can seize. The real opportunity is to use the growth in our natural resources sector and the historical strength of our agricultural sector to drive the wider economy forward by adding value-added industries. For businesses to find new markets and grow we need to firstly capitalize on the opportunity and use mining as a platform. But we also need to take some steps backwards before we take the long steps forwards. This decade will be viewed by the future generations as the most transformative decade in the State’s history."
Aside from the opportunities of the future, Spencer had major concerns about SA’s current levels of productivity. "There are many measures of productivity growth. But by any of those measures, Australia’s performance in the last decade has been abysmal."
Productivity in Australia had grown at half the rate of that in the European manufacturing belt."Our labour productivity has gone from 92 per cent of the US equivalent in 1998 to just 84 per cent in 2010,” Spencer said. Labour costs in the US and Europe have declined by one per cent per annum while in Australia it’s increased by two per cent per annum.”"
Another speaker at the forum, mining services Codan Ltd’s CEO Donald McGurk reflected Spencer’s concern with labour costs and manufacturing productivity when he revealed the company designed its products here, but manufactured them overseas. "It’s a hybrid manufacturing model that involves making our goods in Asia"
Playford Capital’s CEO Amanda Heyworth had a different view in her remarks, adding that Australia needed to keep making things so we could survive other economic pressures.
Australia (TheOne) - March 30, 2012 11:42 AM (GMT)
CARBON TAX ABOLISHED BY END OF FINANCIAL YEAR
Prime Minister Julie Bishop has announced the Carbon Tax, introduced only this year by the previous government, will be scrapped.
From the middle of 2013, the end of the current financial year, the Carbon Tax will no longer be "completely and totally abolished". Treasurer Joe Hockey said that he will leave no trace of any Carbon Tax legislation in place that forces hard working honest Australians to pay more ridiculous taxes that were "created to cover the gaps in Labors crazed over spending sprees".
He went on further to accuse his predecessor Wayne Swann of being reckless and indulgent at the Australian tax payers expense. "It's all very well and good for politicians on large salaries to be able to absorb these tax hikes without flinching, but the ordinary Aussie should not have to have these extra financial burdens placed on them. Certainly not when the sole reason of the implementation of these additional taxes is to pay for the irresponsible and reckless spending habits of a government."
Mr Hockey also announced he and Prime Minister Julie Bishop will be meeting with representatives from the mining industry, including the CEO's of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, to discuss the mining super tax. "The mining companies have expressed to me that they are not completely against the idea of tax on their profits. What we as a government need to do is sit down and find a suitable level at which this should be implemented, if at all.
It is insanity to think that government will tax corporations which perform well and manage to increase their profits through efficient and sound business models.
By doing so we are basically telling the rest of the world that Australia is closed for business, when what we should be doing is demonstrating to the rest of the world that despite Australia's geographic isolation it is not only open for business, but it is among the best at what it does, to attract more foreign investment of the right kind."
The treasurer would not comment on the issue of foreign land ownership in Australia, in particular prime farming land. Although it is believed the new government is preparing to clamp down on it, with wide spread speculation that they will introduce legislation to strip foreign corporations with direct ties to foreign governments of any land purchased, on the grounds of national sovereignty and security.
Australia (TheOne) - March 30, 2012 01:07 PM (GMT)
RETURN OF MANDATORY MILITARY SERVICE?
Mandatory military service is set to make a come back, if speculation is to be believed.
The rumour began circulating earlier in the week that the new defence minister, David Johnston, was pressing prime minister Bishop about the idea.
It is suggested that he has had plans drawn up for the introduction a mandatory twelve to eighteen month required service. Under the plan, all males and females between the ages of 18 and 45 will be eligible for service. However the mandatory service will only be applied to those who are about to turn 18, and those who are still in their 18th year.
Eligible males will undergo a period of eighteen months of service, while females will undergo twelve months.
Exemptions will exist, it is believed, for disabilities and long term medical conditions, and certain university and higher education/trade courses.
The Greens, which had a disastrous showing at the recent election, slammed the idea of mandatory military service as a 19th century mentality. "While we do not have the power to stop such a ridiculous plan being implemented, we will oppose it regardless as a form of protest should the government introduce it into parliament," said Bob Brown, Greens leader.
Prime Minister Julie Bishop denied the reports, saying that no such plan had been presented to her by anyone within her government. "These reports are false and misleading. No such plan was introduced to me. That is not to say that such a plan is not in existence or being drawn up by others, but I can not comment on what others are doing that I have not been made aware of as yet. If and when such a plan is introduced to me, I will present it to the Australian public."
Defence Minister David Johnston also denied the reports that he presented a plan to the prime minister, however he did acknowledge that his office was actively exploring ways in which to boost Australian Defence Force personnel numbers, say that his office was open to a range of new ideas, however the most probable option would likely be an improvement in personnel pay and other conditions and benefits.
Australia (TheOne) - March 31, 2012 12:29 AM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALDNAVY EXPANSION CONTINUES WITH MORE DESTROYERS
Defence Minister David Johnston has today announced at a press conference at the ASC facility in Adelaide, that a fourth destroyer has been given the green light with an order, with two more now being planned.
The Hobart class destroyers will replace the Adelaide Class guided missile frigates, starting in 2014 when the lead ship, HMAS Hobart enters service, followed by the HMAS Brisbane in 2016 and HMAS Sydney in 2017. The fourth ship, likely to be named HMAS Darwin, will enter service the following year in 2018, with the next two ships entering service in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The initial contract was worth $8 billion, or around $2.6 billion per ship. The high cost is associated with 'startup costs', and establishing the ship building facility at ASC, as well as acquiring the necessary equipment and training personnel. The next three ships are expected to cost significantly less.
The announcement of up to three more destroyers continues the naval expansion undertaken by previous governments, as the Asia Pacific region continues to see a dramatic surge in military spending and military capabilities being boosted across the region.
The Department of Defence is also thought to be close to a decision regarding the ANZAC frigate replacement project, which could start earlier then intended, in order to ensure ship building personnel remain employed.
Australia (TheOne) - March 31, 2012 08:54 AM (GMT)
HERALD SUNBREAKING: RON PAUL WINS US PRESIDENTIAL RACE
Republican candidate Ron Paul has been declared victor in the United States presidential election race, along with his running mate vice presidential candidate Mitt Romney, defeating Democrat Obama, who many feel had failed to deliver on his promises of change, and left the nation in a worse state then when he took office four years ago.
Ron Paul becomes the 45th, and oldest President in the history of the United States of America. Ron Paul becomes the first President to serve simultaneously with two family members, or two sons, also serving in both the Senate and Congress. Wall Street greeted the news with a surge on the markets, finishing higher. Our own market is expected to be on a high as it opens in the morning.
Several high-level meetings are now expected to take place between Australia and the United States, which were on hold during the election campaign in the United States. In particular the Defence Minister and his American counterpart are expected to meet in the coming weeks.
Australia (TheOne) - April 4, 2012 07:42 AM (GMT)
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Tony Abott has revealed how he has tasked his department with creating a new infrastructure and transport 'road map' for Australia. The plain will involve billions of dollars worth of investment in new infrastructure, with the crown jewel on the east coast being the controversial construction of a second Sydney airport which is estimated to cost $3 billion.
Several major ports will receive multi-billion dollar upgrades and expansions. Major highways, particularly the national highway, or now commonly referred to as A1, will receive at least $4 billion in funding for a major upgrade right round the country. A particular emphasis will be placed on cutting edge safety features.
Australia (TheOne) - April 4, 2012 02:01 PM (GMT)
HERALD SUNAUSTRALIA TO REACH FOR THE STARSUniversity of Queensland concept scramjet rocket
Prime Minister Julie Bishop declared Australia will enter the 'space age', officially and in full, with a new multi-billion dollar commitment from her government for the further development of scramjet based engines and rockets for satelite launching from Woomera in the Australia outback. Under the program, Australia's top universities will be given billions in funding to develop satellites for use both commercially and by the government. Julie Bishop said, "It's not a matter of if we can, but do we have the will to do it and are we willing to bare the cost. And I strongly believe that as a nation, Australia and Australian's are ready to take that burden upon them, to excel our nation to new heights."
Woomera, the worlds largest land based test range, has seen extensive use by the Australian department of defence, and various companies and governments from around the world, particularly during the Cold War. However it is understood that the Woomera 'prohibited area', will become off limits to most International users in the near future as the Australian program picks up speed. Proposed space port at Woomera
A whole range of development is planned for the Woomera range, with the construction of new specialized facilities not only for testing, but also the launching of commercial and government pay loads into space. The government is also believed to be interested in creating a space-tourism sector, with plans to either entice Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic team back with funding for the once propose space port, or funding provided to local developers and companies to develop an aircraft capable of entering the upper reaches of the earths atmosphere, often referred to as the edge of space.
Australia (TheOne) - April 5, 2012 03:17 AM (GMT)
THE AUSTRALIANDRONE BASE ON COCOS ISLANDS
The Australian Department of Defence is to spend $750 million constructing a 'secretive' airbase on the Australian Indian Ocean territory of Cocos Islands. The airbase will be home to a part of the Royal Australian Air Forces new drone fleet of Globalhawks, but other, manned aircraft, such as the Orion fleet, will also be capable of operating from the base.
The DoD was queried whether this was aimed at any nation in particular, to which the answer was 'no'. The Department of Defence stated that this deployment is not aimed at any foreign government, but it is part of Australia's efforts to combat people smuggling as well as illegal fishing activities. A spokesperson also said that should a disaster strike in the region again, such as the 2005 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, the Australian Defence Force will be able to respond sooner.
Australia (TheOne) - April 10, 2012 05:18 AM (GMT)
DEAL REACHED ON MINING TAX
Over the past few months, the government has been meeting with mining industry heavy-weights, particularly from BHP and RIO Tinto, but also from the medium and small sized mining operators. The major issue on the table was the proposed mining super tax, planned by the previous Labor government which sought to impose what the mining companies labeled an unnecessarily hefty tax on their profits.
BHP Billiton CEO, Marius Kloppers, said "BHP Billiton has been a proud Australian corporation for decades. It has contributed through the taxes it pays greatly to Australia and it's economic well-being. We have every intention of continuing to contribute to Australia, not only through the mandatory taxes we must pay as a responsible corporate body, but also through the community programs for remote areas in Australia which benefit the indigenous populations of those regions, which are paid for through our own pockets. These are initiatives which we have undertaken to give something more back to the community.
What the previous government proposed would have made a serious dent in our ability, and I believe in the ability of other mining companies, to be able to provide these community programs for our indigenous populations in remote regions.
I am however glad to say that we have reached a mutually acceptable agreement with the current government."
Finance Minister Andrew Robb and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane met extensively with industry heavy-weights such as Marius Kloppers, to discuss what level of taxation would be appropriate. Labor has accused the government of 'caving' in to pressure from the mining giants, saying rather then the government setting out a clear policy, it has been told what it should do by the mining giants. Minister for Finance Andrew Robb however said the accusations were ridiculous and utterly baseless. "We went into these meetings with a clear and concise policy. We knew already that the Labor proposal was unworkable. It was clear a middle ground had to be reached, a solution which would not leave the Australian people short-changed."
The agreement for an increase in tax on mining corporations, is equivalent to 1% of GDP, and will be put into effect this financial year. Under the agreement reached between the government and mining industry, an annual increase of between 0.25% and 1% will take place each financial year until 2016. This year alone it will add an estimated $20 billion to the governments coffers. The 'mining profits tax' will be up for review in 2017.
Australia (TheOne) - April 10, 2012 05:41 AM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
AUSTRALIA GETS A SPACE AGENCY
Funding for the space program at Woomera has been announced, with the government allocating $7 billion this year for design and development programs. The funding will go towards the design and development of twenty first century state of the art facilities at the Woomera range, as well as infrastructure work around the region to improve access with upgraded highways and rail connections.
Funding will also be allocated toward the further development of scramjet technology, with the end result being a scramjet "powered" rocket capable of taking a small payload, such as a satellite, into orbit around the planet. In conjunction with the development of the rocket, launch facilities will also be developed.
Prime Minister Julie Bishop said "This is a significant national program which will propel Australia back onto the International stage and into space. Once again Woomera will become a focal point for space research, development, and exploration. Australian satellites are currently launched by foreign space agencies, on board foreign rockets. No longer will this be the case. This is only the beginning, and future governments will have the responsibility of evolving the Australian space program to new heights."
The government also officially launched it's space agency, known as the Australian National Space Research Agency, or ANSRA. It is estimated an annual operating budget of $3 billion will be allocated to the new agency, not including any additional funding announced for projects. A new government department, the Department of Space Research and Development, has been created, which will oversee the operations of ANSRA and also Australia's involvement and interactions with other space agencies around the world. The new department portfolio will be given to Minister of Defence David Johnston(Minister of Defence & Space Research and Development). The new agency, ANSRA, will be headed by world-renowned astronaut Dr Andy Thomas, who will return from NASA in the United States to his home state of South Australia. A funding program for the next five years has been announced, totaling $30 billion.
One of the first acts of the new agency, ANSRA, is to 'ban' all foreign access and use of the satellite ground tracking station at Mingenew, in Western Australia. The previous Australian government had agreed to allow China access to the facility, to help track it's satellites. However, under a recent review by Defence ordered by the Defence Minister, it was determined that since China does not differentiate between it's civilian and military satellites, that allowing China access to such facilities is essentially an act against Australia's national interests and a compromise of national security. The Department of Defence nor the Minister were available for comment.
FIVE-YEAR FUNDING PROGRAM
2013 - $7 billion for design, development & infrastructure/facilities
2014 - $5 billion for design, development & infrastructure/facilities
2015 - $6 billion for design, development, testing & infrastructure/facilities
2016 - $6 billion for design, development, testing & infrastructure/facilities
2017 - $6 billion for design, development, testing & infrastructure/facilities
AUSSIE PLASMA THRUSTER ENGINE WILL POWER AUSSIE SATELLITES
A revolutionary new propulsion system, called the plasma thruster which has been developed and pioneered by the Australian National University, will be used to power and move a new generation of Australian satellites. The federal government granted funding toward the project last decade, and the Australian National University had worked with the European Space Agency to further advance the technology.
However with the establishment of the Australian National Space Research Agency and substantially more government funding, the deployment of this new technology can be carried out without the assistance of third parties from abroad.
This however does not mean that the project to deploy this new technology onboard a prototype satellite this year, as planned, will be called off. Although ANSRA has taken control of all existing and planned space related programs and projects in Australia, all projects will continue, particularly projects with international collaboration. Minister for Space Research and Development, David Johnston, said "ANSRA will continue existing work with other international space agencies and universities, and seek to further expand international collaboration."
Australia (TheOne) - April 10, 2012 06:14 AM (GMT)
KEVIN RUDD RETURNS FAVOR TO GILLARD
Kevin Rudd has returned the favor to opposition leader Julia Gillard, managing to re-take the leadership of the Labor party in his second attempt since being disposed of as party leader and Prime Minister by a surprise 'challenge' by Gillard and her backers.
In early 2012, Kevin Rudd attempted to retake the party leadership, in the run up to the federal election. However he lost in a landslide victory for Gillard, who retained leadership with 71 votes to 31 in the party caucus. Kevin Rudd at the time stated he would not challenge again or support another challenger, however a spokesperson for Mr Rudd has said that while he did say those things, he did not specify that he would not challenge should Labor lose the next election under Gillard's leadership.
This time around, with Gillard's abysmal polling figures and disastrous election result, there were few who stood in Kevin Rudd's way to the leadership. Julia Gillard was 'demolished' in what Kevin Rudd's supporters are calling an "extinction level event", with Kevin Rudd being unanimously voted in 95 votes to 7.
Kevin Rudd announced he would now set about restoring the Labor party so a serious challenge can be presented to the Liberal government at the next election in three years time. "Our first objective is to restore Labor from within. We can not continue stumbling along as a fractured party. United, we will challenge the Liberal party. Divided, we will cease to exist. I offer this plea to my colleagues. Either we unite as a party with common goals and objectives, or those who can not step aside. The Labor party is bigger then our personal divisions. It is bigger than me and Miss Gillard. We all wish to see our selves returned to government by the Australian people to lead this great nation of ours. Only through party unity will the Australian people return us to government."
Australia (TheOne) - April 11, 2012 06:35 AM (GMT)
NEW SHIPS AMIDST PLANNED SHIP BUILDING REVOLUTION
With the announcement of up to twenty new multi-role ships for the Royal Australian Navy by the Ministry of Defence, the federal government and several state governments have announced that they will be providing joint-funding, along with funding from ship builders, towards the expansion of Australia's ship building capabilities.
BAE Systems Australia will move to a gigantic purpose built facility, comprising some 520,000 square meters in Melbourne's south-west, around two kilometers north of their present facilities. The construction of this facility is estimated to take up to two years and will cost $1.5 billion, featuring state of the art technology and equipment, with the governments contributing $950 million.
The Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide, already expanded to build the Hobart class destroyers, will undergo another expansion, with the addition of a dry dock, at a cost of $125 million. Additional facilities will also be constructed to allow for the construction of multiple vessels simultaneously. The South Australian state government has announced it will be funding the project, estimated to cost $300 million, entirely.
Austal will also expand into Adelaide, using a federal government grant of $500 million and South Australian state government grant of $300 million, to build a new state, complete, state of the art facility
Australia (TheOne) - April 11, 2012 07:03 AM (GMT)
HERALD SUNNEW SHIPS AMIDST PLANNED SHIP BUILDING REVOLUTIONRight: New BAE facility in Melbourne, Left: New Austal facility in Adelaide
With the announcement of up to twenty new multi-role ships for the Royal Australian Navy by the Department of Defence, the federal government and several state governments have announced that they will be providing joint-funding, along with funding from ship builders, towards the expansion of Australia's ship building capabilities.
BAE Systems Australia will move to a gigantic purpose built facility, comprising some 520,000 square meters in Melbourne's south-west, around two kilometers north of their present facilities. The construction of this facility is estimated cost $1.5 billion, featuring state of the art technology and equipment, with the governments contributing $750 million.
The Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide, already expanded to build the Hobart class destroyers, will undergo another expansion, with the addition of a dry dock, at a cost of $125 million. Additional facilities will also be constructed to allow for the construction of multiple vessels simultaneously. The South Australian state government has announced it will be funding the project, estimated to cost $300 million, entirely.
Austal will also expand into Adelaide with a $900 million, 210,000 square meter facility, using a federal government grant of $600 million and South Australian state government grant of $300 million, to build a new state, complete, state of the art facility which is planned to be less then a kilometer on the other side of ASC.
Austal will also see it's main operations in Perth developed further, with similar facilities to the other expansions that will be happening, in a project estimated to cost the Western Australian government $650 million.
All the new yards and expansions are scheduled to be completed by 2014, with the first vessels being laid down in 2015.20 NEW MULTI-ROLE VESSELS
The Department of Defence has announced up to twenty new multi-role vessels will be acquired from 2015 onwards. Two designs are more then likely going to be built, with a consortium of Austal, ASC, Thales Australia and BAE Australia. The Department of Defence is believed to favor a consortium for such a large number of vessels in order to procure them at a speedier rate then would be possible if one ship yard was responsible. The cost, a cool $12.5 billion, along with the fact up to twenty vessels will be built, makes it one of the largest single ship building program in Australia's history.
As part of the plan to use a consortium, the government is expanding Australia's ship building capabilities across three states, funded jointly by federal and state governments and defence contractors, to the tune of $3.35 billion, of which governments will put up most of the funding, at $2.6 billion.
Australia (TheOne) - April 21, 2012 06:40 AM (GMT)
AID TO VIETNAM STOPPED OVER ISRAEL FLOTILLA
The Australian government has announced today that it is suspending all it's foreign aid programs to Vietnam, in protest against Vietnams militarized flotilla to Gaza.
Five years ago, a Turkish flotilla attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of several activists on board. A similar flotilla was also attempted out of Greece, however was not allowed to depart.
With this flotilla, Vietnam escalates the situation by involving it self in a conflict that bares no relevance to Vietnam or it's interests. Just what has motivated or drawn the government in Hanoi to insert it self into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unclear.
ICELAND TO ADOPT AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR?
Recent reports indicate that the Icelandic central bank is weighing up it's options on adopting a new base currency for the country. Among the options being reported as under consideration, are the Swedish krona, the Canadian dollar, the Danish krone, the Norwegian krone, and the Australian dollar.
The Australian federal reserve bank declined to comment on the matter, however the government stated it would not stand in the way of Iceland adopting the Australian dollar as it's currency. "We would have no issue with it. In fact we would encourage it, if anything. It would present more opportunities for small and medium sized Australian businesses to grow and find a new market, and increase trade between the two countries. So in that respect, it would be welcomed."
It is unclear what the response of other governments and central banks has been on the issue.
Icleand adopting the Australian dollar successfully, could pave the way and open the door for New Zealand to also adopt the Australian dollar as a common currency.
Australia (TheOne) - April 26, 2012 11:25 PM (GMT)
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
NAVY LACKS ADEQUATE MAINTENANCE: REPORT
Recent reports, some made public, others leaked, have revealed that the Royal Australian Navy's maintenance standards, while can be considered up to the mark, are not adequate enough and in some cases, such as the nations front line war ships the Anzac frigates, is below par.
The problems get worse with the submarines, which for the better part of a decade, no more then three at any single time have been in an acceptable condition ready for missions. Although the submarines have had other issues since their acceptance into service, those issues were ironed out many years ago, and defence analysts say there is no excuse for all six submarines not being ready for the roles they were intended for, even if the navy does not have enough submariners to crew all six.
The reports are far and wide in their scope, and criticism has even been brought on how the Navy and Defence Materials Organization, have handled the upgrade of the Anzac frigates, which saw two to three frigates docked and out of commission while they under went their upgrades for an extended period of time. One analyst put it bluntly, "If Australia went to war with a competent adversary, our navy simply would not be up to the task of defending all of Australia. The entire fleet in some form or another is due to be replaced with newer more modern ships over the next decade or two. How can we expect the RAN to fulfill it's duties and roles, when it's ships are not properly maintained? This is a critical issue of ship availability. Not only does the government need to address the issue of recruitment levels, but maintenance standards as well. Thankfully with new ships maintenance is less intense as with older ships, so they will have a window of opportunity to ensure maintenance is up to the highest of standards."
The defence minister has ordered a complete independent review of the DMO, and various ADF practices. It is expected that the findings will determine that maintenance funding is increased.
In other defence news, the government has suggested that it is considering mandatory military service for the long term unemployed, as well as other measures to boost recruitement levels such as financial incentives for 'gap year' between high school and university. The Defence minister said "One of the things we are looking at is a one of bonus of possibly up to ten thousand dollars, for example, that will go towards a students university costs, if they decide to take up the gap year and spend in it in the ADF. We are exploring other various ideas and options, and I will be making an announcement soon."