Category Archives: Australia/Oceania

July 15, 2017

How New Zealand’s rich-poor divide killed its egalitarian paradise

A new report shows New Zealand’s economy has been most affected by inequality out of all the OECD nations. How did the land of the fair go end up in such a state?

In the 1940s, New Zealanders hated inequality so much that one visiting academic suggested they should erect a statue of equality in Auckland harbour, as a counterpart to the United States’s celebrated sculpture. And that image lingers: many people still think of New Zealand as an egalitarian paradise, a friendly and accommodating country where “a fair go” is the national phrase.

Those observers, and indeed many New Zealanders, might have got a shock this week when the OECD published a landmark report, showing that economies the world over are being hamstrung by growing inequality – and that New Zealand was the worst affected. A stark rich-poor divide, the OECD argued, had taken over a third off the country’s economic growth rate in the last 20 years. But how could this be?

The simple answer is that in the two decades from 1985 onwards, New Zealand had the biggest increase in income gaps of any developed country. Incomes for the richest Kiwis doubled, while those of the poorest stagnated. Middle income earners didn’t do too well, either.

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June 28, 2017

Johnny Depp may face perjury charges, Australia’s deputy PM warns

“We’re an island continent and we take biosecurity very seriously and it doesn’t matter if you think that you’re Mr Who’s Who of Hollywood, you’re going to obey our laws.”

Australia’s deputy prime minister has threatened US actor Johnny Depp with perjury charges in a new instalment of the “war on terrier”.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star and then-wife Amber Heard failed to declare their dogs to Australian customs after arriving by private jet in 2015.

Ms Heard escaped conviction and the pair released an unusual apology video.

But legal documents filed in a US court allegedly show Mr Depp was “fully aware” he was breaking Australian laws.

His former business managers, The Management Group (TMG), claimed the actor had “pressured one of his long-term employees to ‘take the fall’,” in papers obtained by People.
‘It is called perjury’

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce subsequently hinted that the government may reinvestigate Depp.

“If the allegation is correct, there’s a word for that – it is called perjury,” Mr Joyce told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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April 19, 2017

Australia toughens foreign worker visas, says Australian jobs for Australians

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents more than 60,000 businesses, said the changes would improve the integrity of Australia’s visa programme.

Australia will abolish a temporary work visa popular with foreigners and replace it with a new programme requiring better English-language and job skills, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.

Turnbull, struggling with poor voter approval ratings, rejected suggestions the visa policy change was in response to far-right wing political parties, such as One Nation, demanding more nationalistic policies.

But in a Facebook announcement Turnbull said: “Our reforms will have a simple focus: Australian jobs and Australian values.”

In a similar vein, U.S. President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday directing changes to a temporary visa programme used to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill highly skilled jobs. The order is an attempt by Trump to carry out his “America First” election campaign pledges.

Turnbull said the visa change would attract better skilled workers and see Australians employed over cheap foreign workers brought in under the old 457 visa programme.

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April 8, 2017

Muslims Fight Australia For Separate Country (Video)

Must watch.

April 4, 2017

Prominent Kiwis pen open letter saying free speech is under threat in NZ universities (Video)

It comes after a group called the European Students Association at Auckland University was closed down after threats to its members and accusations of racism. Its leaders had denied it was racist.

A group of 27 high-profile New Zealanders, including unlikely allies such as Don Brash and Dame Tariana Turia, have penned an open letter warning freedom of speech is under threat in the country’s universities.

It was the brainchild of Auckland University of Technology’s History Professor Paul Moon, and rejects “the forceful silencing of dissenting or unpopular views” on university campuses.

It also insists debate must not be suppressed because the ideas put forth “are thought by some or even by most people to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed”.

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Complete text and video linked here.

February 13, 2017

‘Round them up and get them out’: Pauline Hanson calls for deportation of African gang members (Video)

Pauline Hanson has called for African gang members to be deported following the latest incident of violence in Melbourne at the weekend.

A gang of up to 40 youths of African appearance stormed the family-friendly festival Summersault, in Melbourne’s west on Saturday night, kicking and punching some festival goers and stealing wallets, bags and phones.

A teenager was also hospitalised after being confronted by members of the gang outside the neighbouring Caroline Springs police station.

It is the latest in a string of gang crime allegedly committed by African youths in Melbourne and Ms Hanson said she had a simple solution to curb it.

“I’ve got the best solution to this. Round them up and get them out!” the One Nation leader posted, attracting more than 300 comments largely supporting her view.

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January 11, 2017

Ex-Aussie PM Tony Abbott Urges UK to ‘Seize its Destiny’, Prioritise One-Page FTA with Australia

The UK should abandon the “statism and bureaucracy” of the European Union and prioritise a one-page free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia. According to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, this simple move would provide a post-Brexit blueprint for the two trading partners ahead of similar agreements across the Commonwealth.

In a foreword for a report by UK conservative politicians James Cleverly and Tim Hewish, Mr. Abbott claimed “Britain was back” and ready to reclaim its status as a world leader able to trade with any nation on earth.

“The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the mother of parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader,” he said.

Mr. Abbott said no two countries were more like-minded than Britain and Australia, with a common language, set of values and much-shared history.

“If Britain is determined to make the most of Brexit – and everything about Prime Minister (Theresa) May shows this steely determination – why not strive for a one page FTA with Australia?” he wrote.

“If a car is fit to be sold in Britain, it’s fit to be sold in Australia. If a doctor is fit to practise in Australia, he or she is fit to practise in the UK,” Mr. Abbott said.

He said the movement of goods between the two nations should be “absolutely free of tariffs or quotas”.

“Provided people are coming to work rather than to take advantage of social security or health services, Australians should also be free to live in the UK and vice versa.”

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November 25, 2016

Australia ceases multimillion-dollar donations to controversial Clinton family charities

Australia has finally ceased pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to Hillary Clinton’s charities.

Which begs the question: Why were we donating to them in the first place?

The federal government confirmed to news.com.au it has not renewed any of its partnerships with the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, effectively ending 10 years of taxpayer-funded contributions worth more than $88 million.

The Clinton Foundation has a rocky past. It was described as “a slush fund”, is still at the centre of an FBI investigation and was revealed to have spent more than $50 million on travel.

Despite that, the official website for the charity shows contributions from both AUSAID and the Commonwealth of Australia, each worth between $10 million and $25 million.

News.com.au approached the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for comment about how much was donated and why the Clinton Foundation was chosen as a recipient.

A DFAT spokeswoman said all funding is used “solely for agreed development projects” and Clinton charities have “a proven track record” in helping developing countries.

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Australia: Pauline Hanson fed up with ‘reverse racism’ (Video)

‘There is a lot of this going on in this country,’ Senator Hanson said. ‘We can’t have an opinion, we can’t say anything anymore.’

One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, says Australians are fed up with reverse racism and being told to be tolerant of people with no intention of assimilating into the Australian way of life.

Senator Hanson, along with Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, has proposed a private bill that seeks to decimate race-hate laws.

During debate in the Senate on Thursday she said people look instead at the way different religions make comments to women who don’t wish to cover themselves up.

She claimed women couldn’t swim at beaches because others were offensive towards them

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November 14, 2016

U.S. to resettle refugees from Australia

Most from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka.

The United States has agreed to resettle an unspecified number of refugees languishing in Pacific island camps in a deal that is expected to inspire more asylum seekers to attempt to reach Australia by boat, officials said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would not say whether he had discussed the deal with President-elect Donald Trump during their telephone conversation on Thursday. The Obama administration had agreed to resettle refugees among almost 1,300 asylum seekers held at Australia’s expense on the island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Another 370 who came to Australia for medical treatment then refused to return to the islands would also be eligible.

“We deal with one administration at a time and there is only one president of the United States at a time,” Turnbull told reporters.

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