Browsing articles in "Diplomacy"
Monday 25th January 2016 - 5:17 pm
Comments Off on Australia explores opportunities in Singapore

Australia explores opportunities in Singapore

by Alan Thornhill

Australia may soon be seeing more students from Singapore.

This is part of the adjustment that this country has been forced to make to the collapse in iron ore and coal prices.

We are now looking to expand service industries – like education – instead.

Australia’s Trade and Investment Minister, Andrew Robb, who is now in Singapore to drum up business is well aware of all that.

In a statement today Mr Robb said he would be seeking both to assess the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and to advance progress with it,

The Prime Ministers of both countries launched the partnership last June.

It marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Mr Robb said the new partnership identifies a wide range of initiatives across the economic, foreign affairs, defence and security fronts.

“One of the many initiatives identified was an early review of the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), which entered into force back in 2003,” he added.

“ The review is scheduled for completion by July this year,” he said.

“Other economic initiatives include expanding two-way investment flows and exploring investment opportunities in sectors such as food, agribusiness and infrastructure in areas like northern Australia.”

Mr Robb  also spoke of increasing the flow of skilled labour and visitors; joint tourism cooperation; building additional research and development partnerships and enhancing aviation and maritime connectivity.

“There are also various initiatives to deepen defence cooperation in areas such as military training, exchanges and postings; intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism, organised crime and cyber-crime,” he said.

“A strong focus has also been placed on deepening links between our educational, scientific and research institutions, including new opportunities for students under the New Colombo Plan,” he said.

“There will also be more cooperation between our arts institutions,”Mr Robb added.

He said, too, that a shared strategic perspective and complementary economies are the cornerstones of the Australia-Singapore relationship.

“To me our ambition for deepening our relationship and economic integration should be akin to the close relationship we enjoy with New Zealand,” he added.

Mr Robb said the FTA is an important component of our economic relationship, and the review provides an opportunity to further strengthen our bilateral trade and investment links with our fifth largest trading partner and foreign investor.

“The review of the FTA is timely and consideration is being given to enhancements in areas such as goods trade, services, investment and government procurement,” he said.

“There are significant opportunities to build on our relationship across a range of sectors including in science and research, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness and infrastructure.”

 

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Sunday 6th December 2015 - 9:46 pm
Comments Off on Climate:advice from our neighbours

Climate:advice from our neighbours

by Alan Thornhill

As you read this, a delegation of Australian politicians will be flying out to the Pacific to meet local islanders

 

Steven Ciobo, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, who will be leading the group, said it would be visiting Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
He said the delegation would be observing the outcome of Australia’s aid and investment in the region.
Its aim would be to strengthen Australia’s relations with its Pacific neighbours.
But that’s only half of the story.
Members of the delegation may well find themselves spending more time listening than they expect.
Australian aid is welcomed – and highly valued – in the Pacific.
But that has never meant that it is above criticism.
One senior Pacific politician, for example, liked to talk about what he called “boomerang aid.”.

 

His point was that too much of the money that Australia sets aside, to help the people of the Pacific, actually ends up in the pockets of Australian aid workers, instead.

 

So who is going on this trip, for Australia?

 

Mr Ciobo said the members of the bi-partisan delegation he is leading are Nola Marino the Chief Government Whip, Jane Prentice, the Federal Member for Ryan, Sharon Claydon the Federal Member for Newcastle and NSW Senator, Deborah O’Neill.
These are serious people doing an important job, in Mr Ciobo’s view.

 

As he says:“the delegation underlines the strength and breadth of support in Australia for closer relations with our region.”
That declaration will be welcomed in the Pacific.

 

 

Tongans, in particular, often feel their geographically isolated position in the world very keenly.

 

So they won’t be allowing these Australian politicians to fly back home without knowing how they see the great issues of the day.
And for Pacific Islanders, no issue is greater than climate change.

 

For they know, all too well, that if rising sea temperatures, cause the Antarctic ice sheet to melt, many of the beautiful islands they call home, would simply disappear beneath the sea.
The BBC reports that World leaders, meeting in Paris last week, approved a draft text they hope will form the basis of an agreement to curb global carbon emissions.
The 48-page document will be discussed by ministers today.
They will try to arrive at a comprehensive settlement on outstanding issues this month,
Some of them will be tricky.
The French climate ambassador has warned that major political differences still need to be resolved.
Delegates from 195 countries worked through the night at the conference centre in Le Bourget, conscious of a Saturday deadline imposed by the French president.

 

The aim now is to turn this draft text into a long-term agreement.

 

And although they are on the other side of the world, Pacific Islanders are determined to make their voices heard, in support of that objective.

 

With good reason.

 

 

They have already seen what can go wrong, when many people feel compelled to leave home, for whatever reason.

 

 

These include civil war.

 

That’s what happened in the Solomon Islands, when 30,000 islanders from Malaita took to the sea in canoes, intending to settle on the island of Guadalcanal.
That gave the world an early glimpse of what the results of large population movements can be.
So Australia – and the world – have good reason to press  their climate change negotiators for a tight agreement.

Friday 27th November 2015 - 7:30 am
Comments Off on Malcolm;s big statement

Malcolm;s big statement

by Alan Thornhill

Some might call it a mini-budget.

 

All the Prime Minister said, in an interview with Leigh Sales on the ABC last night, though, is that his government would release “an innovation statement” within the next two weeks.

 

Well, perhaps he did add a little dressing, to make the prospect enticing.

 

How?

By promising, for example, that he would would “set out a very large number of substantial measures. to drive the innovation that would ensure that Australians, their children and grandchildren, will have great jobs.”

 

“…better jobs in the future that will drive our economy,” he added.

 

Then he laid it on the line.
“I don’t think anybody has any doubt that if we are to remain the high wage, generous social welfare net country, first world country that we want to be then we need to be more innovative, more competitive, more productive and the innovation statement will be a good example of the measures the government is undertaking to achieve that.”

 

Yet Mr Turnbull, himself, has some catching up to do in this regard.
He saddled Australia with the pursuit of an internet system which, even if achieved, would offer speeds be well below those of many other first world countries, such as France.
Of course, with its vast expanses to connect, Australia does have difficult – and expensive – problems to overcome, in building anything that could – even remotely – be called a fast internet system.

 

Yet the picture emerging from Mr Turnbull’s attempt to do so – on the cheap – has not been impressive, so far.

 

Long waits for connection.

Cost over-runs.

 

There can be no doubt about one thing.

 

This “innovation statement, when it appears, will be drawn up to underwrite Mr Turnbull’s bid for re-election next year.

 

Politically, his situation has its difficulties, despite what some are calling his initial “honeymoon” period.

 

He is still the man who became Prime Minister, without a popular mandate.

 

And he is not short of opponents who stand ready to remind him of that fact, if he starts making mistakes, as most Prime Ministers do, as they start to settle into office.

Mr Turnbull also declared during his interview last night that he is “comfortable” in his new job.

 

But make no mistake.

 

His handling of the Brough affair is already being watched very closely.

Tuesday 24th November 2015 - 12:55 pm
Comments Off on National security:the PM speaks

National security:the PM speaks

by Alan Thornhill

This is the statement on national security that the PM Malcolm Turnbull has just made to Federal parliament.

 

THE PRIME MINISTER

 MALCOLM TURNBULL

 PRIME MINISTER

 

Mr Speaker,

 

When innocent people are dying at the hands of violent extremists, no matter where in the world this is happening, hard questions are asked of societies like our own — hard questions for which there are no easy answers.

 

For all freedom-loving nations, the message could not be clearer: if we want to preserve the values that underpin our open, democratic societies, we will have to work resolutely with each other to defend and protect the freedoms we hold dear.

 

Following the recent mass killings of innocent civilians in Paris and around the world, I take this opportunity to update the House on Australia’s global, regional and domestic policies to respond to terrorist attacks.

 

Let me start by once again expressing my condolences to all the victims. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones and to those recovering from their injuries.

 

We should grieve and we should be angry.

 

But we must not let grief or anger cloud our judgment. Our response must be as clear eyed and strategic as it is determined.

 

This is not a time for gestures or machismo.

 

Calm, clinical, professional, effective.

 

That’s how we defeat this menace.

 

The threat from ISIL is a global problem that must be addressed at its source, in the Middle East, by ensuring our involvement in coalition efforts in Syria and Iraq is resolute and effective.

 

ISIL aims to overthrow all the existing governments in Muslim societies, and beyond. It regards as apostates any who will not submit to its own perverted view of Islam.

 

Strategically, ISIL wants to create division by fomenting resentment between non-Muslim populations and Muslims.

 

ISIL emerged as an extremist, terrorist group out of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. Their territorial gains in Syria and Iraq have fed into their narrative of conquest.

 

By most measures, however, ISIL is in a fundamentally weak position.

 

We must not be fooled by its hype. Its ideology is archaic, but its use of the Internet is very modern. ISIL has many more smartphones than guns, more twitter accounts than fighters.

 

It does not command broad-based legitimacy even in those areas under its direct control. It is encircled by hostile forces. It is under military pressure.

 

And, through its depraved actions, ISIL has strengthened the resolve of the global community, including Russia, to defeat it.

 

The 60 nation-strong coalition’s objective is to disrupt, degrade and ultimately to defeat ISIL. This will require a patient, painstaking full spectrum strategy. Not just military, but financial, diplomatic and political.

 

This involves a combination of air strikes in both Syria and Iraq and support and training for Iraq’s army.

 

Australia’s contribution to coalition forces on the ground in Iraq is second only to that of the United States and large relative to our population and proximity to the conflict.

 

Larger, for example, than any European nation, larger than Canada or any of the neighbouring Arab States.

 

We have six FA-18s involved in missions in that theatre, with 240 personnel in the air task group, 90 special forces advisers, and around 300 soldiers training the Iraqi army at Taji.

 

The special forces are authorised by our Government to advise and assist Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service in the field at headquarters level.

 

However the Government of Iraq has not consented to any of our defence forces being deployed outside the wire on ground combat operations.

 

The Government of Iraq believes that large scale Western troop operations in its country would be counterproductive.

 

Australia’s servicemen and women are making a significant contribution to the Coalition campaign and we will continue to support our allies as our strategies evolve in what is likely to be an extended campaign.

 

In Iraq, ISIL’s momentum has been halted.

 

Its capabilities degraded.

 

Kurdish and Iraqi forces have won back territory with coalition support.

 

I have to report to the House that the consensus of the leaders I met at the G20, at APEC and at the East Asia Summit is that there is no support currently for a large US-led Western army to attempt to conquer and hold ISIL-controlled areas.

 

In Syria, the broader conflict and the absence of a central government that the West can work with makes action against ISIL even more complicated.

 

Following the destruction of the Russian airliner over the Sinai and the Paris attack, Russia and France have raised their operational tempo against ISIL.

 

Ultimately a political solution is needed in Syria. Only this would allow attention to turn more fully to eliminating ISIL as a military force. We support the negotiations in Vienna to find a pathway to a political resolution in Syria.

 

Under the circumstances I have outlined, and mindful that Australia has a range of security priorities across the globe and in our own region, there are currently no plans for a significant change in the level or the nature of Australia’s military commitment in Iraq and Syria.

 

No such change has been sought by our allies – if one were we would of course carefully consider it.

 

We will always proceed on the basis of the considered advice of our military professionals in the Australian Defence Force, just as we rely on the advice of our counter-terrorism experts domestically.

 

Current advice to the Government is that the unilateral deployment of Australian combat troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria is not feasible or practical.

 

As a supplement to our already significant military commitment, our interests – and those of the countries and people in the region – are served by supporting stability in countries neighbouring Iraq and Syria, particularly Jordan. We will continue to look for ways to further strengthen cooperation with Jordan.

 

The rise of ISIL and the conflict in Syria have increased the threat environment in Southeast Asia. I have discussed this issue at the East Asia Summit and in depth with the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

 

We are working more closely than ever to share intelligence and counter messaging strategies.

 

From an Australian perspective, we see a real risk that terrorist groups in the region might be inspired by attacks such as we have seen in Ankara, Beirut, Bamako and Paris and we are very

mindful of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Australians visit Southeast Asia every year, for business, study or holidays.

 

Just as Australia cannot fight any military conflict against ISIL unilaterally, we cannot counter violent extremism alone, particularly online. In my recent discussions with regional colleagues at the East Asia Summit and APEC I further committed Australia as a leading partner in this area.

 

We look forward to supporting the new Malaysian counter messaging centre and to further cooperation with Indonesia, beginning with the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, who is also the Minister assisting me on Counter Terrorism, shortly taking up an offer to visit Indonesia in December to hold discussions focused on furthering our countering terrorism and violent extremism efforts in the region.

 

The Paris attacks demonstrate ISIL has an ability to launch concerted attacks in Western cities. It was also a reminder that, while coordinated, there is not much sophisticated planning required for armed fanatics to slaughter unarmed civilians with military assault rifles and suicide vests.

 

As Prime Minister, and speaking on behalf of the heads of ASIO and the AFP, as well as the Chief of the Defence Force, I want Australians to be aware that a terrorist incident on our soil remains likely but also that Australians should be reassured our security agencies are working diligently and expertly to prevent that happening.

 

In addition to being the most successful multicultural society in the world, Australia, as an island continent, has some natural advantages over Europe, which is currently facing the uncontrolled movement of hundreds of thousands of people.

 

Unlike the Europeans we are in control of our borders. For example, people who successfully enter Greece are moving at will throughout much of the EU.

 

We are an island nation. The people smugglers’ business model has been broken. The boats have been stopped.

 

We also have very strong gun laws that make access to weapons more difficult and play a vital role in keeping our public safe.

 

As your Prime Minister my highest duty, and that of my government, is to keep Australians safe.

 

We cannot eliminate entirely the risk of terrorism any more than we can eliminate the risk of any serious crime.  But we can mitigate it. We will continue to thwart and frustrate many attacks before they occur.

 

We are examining closely the implications of the Paris attacks for our own domestic arrangements. I am receiving updated intelligence on this every day. We are working more closely than ever with our European partners.

 

Public safety is the highest priority. And a major part of this is to be as open and transparent with Australians as possible about both the threat and what everyone can do to help.

 

In September last year, the alert level was raised to HIGH, and it has remained there ever since. We have subsequently seen terror attacks against police officers in Melbourne, the Sydney Siege and the murder of a police worker in Parramatta by a radicalised young man.

 

The tempo of our domestic counter terrorism efforts has increased and our capabilities have been tested. Since September 2014, 26 people have been charged as a result of 10 counter terrorism operations around Australia.  That’s more than one-third of all terrorism related charges since 2001. Counter Terrorism Units at our airports are also stopping people leaving for, and returning from, the conflict zone.

 

The fact that there has to date been no mass casualty attack owes much to the vigilance of our security agencies.

 

ASIO and the Federal Police have advised me that there is no evidence that the recent attacks, including Paris, will materially affect the threat level in Australia but we are constantly on watch for any evolving or emerging threats.

 

The Council of Australian Governments agreed in July to develop a new threat advisory system to make it clearer to the public what our security experts believe to be the current threat from terrorism.

 

The new framework, recommended by ASIO, has been subject to extensive consultation and review.

 

I can inform the House that the National Threat Assessment Centre (or NTAC) that sits within ASIO will this week transition to the new National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

 

The new system will provide the public with more information on the nature of the threat we are facing. The adoption of a five-tiered threat system will also provide ASIO with greater flexibility in determining threat levels, reflecting the need to adapt to an evolving security environment.

 

Rapid developments in communications technology present both opportunities and challenges for our agencies; modern messaging and voice applications are generally encrypted in transit. Human intelligence, relationships with communities, are more important than ever.

 

I have therefore asked that ASIO and other relevant agencies work with our international intelligence partners to address the challenge of monitoring terrorist groups in this new environment.

 

I will be meeting with my State and Territory colleagues next month. Co-operation between all tiers of government and state and federal agencies is vital in the counter-terrorism effort.

 

At COAG on December 11, I will continue our discussions with Premiers on how to best counter violent extremism. I will raise with them initiatives under consideration to address the problem of radicalisation in prisons.

 

I have also asked that our law enforcement agencies test their responses to a mass casualty attack.  Such an attack leaves little, if any, room for negotiation.

 

This work is in addition to the extensive reform of our national security laws which has already seen the introduction of five tranches of legislation. These laws ensure our agencies have all the tools required in the effort to keep us safe.

 

Within Australia, our Counter-Terrorism Strategy calls for partnerships between all levels of government, community and the private sector.

 

It emphasises the need to limit the spread and influence of violent extremist ideas.

 

The root cause of the current threat we face is a perverted strain of Islamist extremist ideology. Not all extremism ends in violence but all politically motivated violence begins with extremist ideology.

 

Any war with ISIL is not just one in a military sense, but also a war of ideas. Through their extensive use of social media, they seek the maximum propaganda advantage from any territorial gains as cover for their fundamental military weakness and the barbaric nature of their mindset.

 

The Government’s investment in Countering Violent Extremism programs has tripled over the past four years to more than $40 million.

 

The Government’s approach has four tiers:

 

  • maintaining a strong, multicultural society
  • helping institutions and sectors of our community combat violent extremist ideology where it emerges
  • challenging and undermining the appeal of terrorist propaganda, especially online, and
  • intervening to divert individuals away from their violent extremist views.

 

Importantly, governments cannot win this battle alone. Community leaders and groups have great responsibility both in denouncing violent extremism and teaching unity in diversity, mutual respect instead of hatred.

 

The condemnation of ISIL and the promotion of authentic, modern and tolerant Islam by the leaders of big majority Muslim nations – including Indonesia, Turkey and Malaysia –  has been especially important.

 

To this end, I thank all those Muslim groups and leaders who made statements denouncing the Paris attacks.

 

A strong and trusting relationship between the government and communities is crucial to ensuring the right messages reach the hearts and minds of those who might be vulnerable to the propaganda of terror groups.

 

Part of the message is promoting the truth that Australia not only does its part in the military coalition to defeat ISIL but in the humanitarian cause.

 

Australia has committed to accepting over four years an additional 12,000 people who have fled the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Australia has also provided around $230 million in humanitarian assistance since 2011 to support Syrians and Iraqis affected by the conflict.

 

This is a significant humanitarian initiative by Australians. We have one of the strongest records of any nation for resettling people facing persecution in their homelands. Since the end of World War Two, Australia has resettled more than 825,000 refugees and others in humanitarian need.

 

The focus of the 12,000 intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees is on persecuted minorities and those assessed as being most vulnerable – women, children and families with the least prospect of returning to their homes.

 

All applications are rigorously assessed on an individual basis – in line with Australia’s existing refugee and humanitarian policies.

 

Our national security interest is always the first and abiding priority.

 

Strict security, health and character checks will not be compromised.

 

In Iraq and Syria, ISIL must be defeated militarily – enabled by  a durable political settlement in both countries that will reduce the capacity of the extremists to recruit and mobilise.

 

The threat of ISIL-inspired terrorism must be addressed through domestic, regional and global counter-terrorism efforts; as an ideological threat, it needs to be confronted globally.

 

There are no quick fixes.

 

We will redouble our efforts in support of domestic and regional counter-terrorism efforts.

 

Across the region, our engagement will intensify, pursuing collective counter-terrorism objectives by better prioritising and coordinating with regional partners.

 

We will defeat these terrorists.

 

And the strongest weapons we bring to this battle are ourselves, our values, our way of life.

 

Our unity mocks their attempts to divide us.

 

Our freedom under law mocks their cruel tyranny.

 

Our mutual respect mocks their bitter intolerance.

 

And the strength of our free people will see off these thugs and tyrants as it has seen off so many of their kind before

Tuesday 24th November 2015 - 7:31 am
Comments Off on Take a lead in Paris:scientists say

Take a lead in Paris:scientists say

by Alan Thornhill

Australian scientists are urging the Turnbull government to take a lead at the world climate change talks which open in Paris this week.

 

The Australian Academy of Science says this – and global co-operation – will be essential if we are to avoid the worst effects of global climate change.

 

Delegates from more than 190 countries are heading to Paris this week in an attempt to reach an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.

 
In a statement today, the Academy’s President Professor Andrew Holmes urged world governments to take note of the scientific evidence and the implications of inaction.

 
“The science is clear, we need to move to net zero carbon emissions by the second half of this century to avoid serious impacts on our health, our economies and on our environment.

 

 

“Paris will be a critical turning point along the path to a carbon neutral world,” Professor Holmes said.
“Australia has an important responsibility, as one of the world’s biggest per capita emitters, to show leadership at this important moment in history.

 

“As the world’s twelfth largest economy, we also have the capacity to do our fair share.
“Australia has some of the best climate scientists in the world and a wealth of expertise in clean energy; we have the opportunity to play a leading role,” Professor Holmes added.
“The national commitments so far are promising and Australia’s own post-2030 targets are an important start but now is not the time for complacency.

 

“We must understand that the only sustainable long-term goal is net zero-emissions and the risks are too great to keep on our current high emissions path.”

 

In a submission to the Australian government in May, the Academy recommended cuts in greenhouse gas emissions 30 to 40 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030.

 

An attempt by Australia to take a lead at the Paris talks would be likely to have high impact.

 

That’s because of the record of previous Australian leaders, including Tony Abbott, of dismissing climate change science.

 

The Coalition’s approach to tackling climate change, by subsidising big polluters, in an attempt to persuade them to change their ways, hasn’t impressed climate change scientists either.

 

Nor has the willingness of government MPs to speak up for the coal lobby in parliament.

 

Sunday 4th October 2015 - 1:13 pm
Comments Off on Parramatta:some preliminary reflections

Parramatta:some preliminary reflections

by Alan Thornhill

It is easy – and tempting – to blame Muslims for the fatal shooting outside the Parramatta police station last Friday.

 
What – after all – are they teaching their children – that a 15 year old boy should be doing something like this?

 

Well I’m no expert, but as an old reporter I do know the value of checking original sources.

 

And I do know that Mahomet once said that “The religion most like ours is Christianity.”

 

And it was Christ who said:“Judge not, lest ye also be judged.”

 

None of that excuses what was the apparently cold-blooded killing of a police accountant.

 

But that ugly event, which has still to be examined by Australian courts, does suggest that terrorism has arrived in this country.

 

So, even at this stage, two things are in order.

 

Firstly, a close look at the facts, as they are known so far.

 

Secondly, a preliminary assessment of our advantages and disadvantages, as far as we know them, at this point.

 

That has already started with reports in the Fairfax press and other media.

 

One notes that the boy charged attended high school just 300 metres from where the attack took place.

 

It also reports that he visited the nearby Parramatta mosque, just hours before the attack took place.

The report also says:“Police executed a search warrant at Paramatta Mosque on Saturday night as part of their investigations…”

 
It also quotes the chairman of the Parramatta Mosque, Neil El-Kadomi, saying they walked away empty-handed half an hour later.

 

“I don’t see him in the mosque very often,” he added.

 
Friday’s tragedy had nothing to do with the mosque, Mr El-Kadomi said.

 

“He died and his secret died with him.

 

“I don’t know if it’s terrorism.

 

“What the boy’s motive is we don’t know,” he said.

 

Mr El-Kadomi’s words, though, do reflect sorrow, restraint, and perhaps a desire to know more.

 

Here is a man who, apparently at least, is reflective about this terrible event.

 

Could this – Muslim – man be a good example to us all, in this respect?

 

Have you spoken to a Muslim about it?

 

Could they be Australia’s biggest asset, in the battle against home-grown terrorism?

 

That question seems reasonable, as reflection suggests that Muslims Australians have more than most to lose, by allowing terrorist sympathies to take hold.

 

Other questions also spring quickly to mind.

 

We might wonder, for example, where the boy got his gun?

 

After all, as his former flack, David Gazard, reminded us on Facebook this weekend, his long-time boss, John Howard, tried hard to tighten Australia’s gun control laws.

 
Mr Gazard said this was the thought that brought him most pride, as he reflected on his time in public life.

 

Then there’s Nauru, Christmas Island, and Australia’s refugee policies.

 

All have deep black marks.

 

Nothing that would come close to justifying what happened outside the Parramatta police station last Friday, of course.

 

But worth some thought, nevertheless.

Saturday 19th September 2015 - 4:35 pm
Comments Off on International students:Australia overhauls the rules

International students:Australia overhauls the rules

by Alan Thornhill

Australia is to streamline provision of its international education services, cutting the red tape and duplication now required from those who provide it.
The Education Minister Christopher Pyne explained as he introduced the necessary legislation into parliament today that education is now Australia’s biggest non-resource export.

He said the new law would streamline regulation, remove duplicative requirements and cut red tape for Australia’s international education providers.
Mr Pyne said the Education Services for Overseas Students (Streamlining Regulation) Amendment Bill 2015 removes unnecessary reporting from the ESOS Act while protecting the high quality of Australia’s international education sector.
“International education is Australia’s largest non-resource export and generates an estimated 130,000 jobs throughout the country,” Mr Pyne said.
“The Government is committed to growing our international education sector while ensuring high levels of student protection and quality assurance.

“The Bill I have introduced today will generate an estimated $76 million a year in deregulatory savings for our education institutions.”
Mr Pyne said the reforms to the ESOS Act would enhance the quality of Australia’s international education institutions and create a more appropriate and efficient regulatory framework.
He said the Government had undertaken extensive consultation and  worked closely with the international education community, peak bodies and national quality assurance agencies in preparing the reforms.
“This Bill demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to cutting red tape while improving Australia’s reputation as a high quality, world class destination for international students,” Mr Pyne said.

AlanThornhill has just published his e-novel Weathercoast. 

 

Seven young Anglican Christian brothers were killed, as spies, during recent “tension troubles” in the Pacific, for trying to bring peace to their troubled Pacific homeland, the beautiful Solomon Islands. Yet the sacrifice of these brave men, martyrs in the truest sense of that once honorable word, is barely recognised, if at all, in the wider world. How did that happen? Alan Thornhill, who attended the trial of their killers, attempts to explain – and looks at the lessons – in his e-novel, Weathercoast.It’s available at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/571043

 

Lukim Iu

Alan

 

 

Tuesday 15th September 2015 - 5:46 pm
Comments Off on New PM drops some clues

New PM drops some clues

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull gave some clues, about how he intends to operate, when he me reporters shortly after his election as Australia’s new Liberal leader.

He said he would try some “Trans Tasman wisdom.”

Australia’s Prime Minister elect said the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Keys, had adopted the habit of explaining complex economic issues to the public of that country in very simple terms, then moving forward “through advocacy.”

Great progress had been made in that way.

Mr Turnbull also spoke of a need for “the Australia of the future” to be competitive.

But that might be difficult in a country with a slow, second rate internet system, which was chosen because it was cheap.

Even if it, too, has since run into some – quite substantial – cost over-runs.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce was among the first to congratulate both Mr Turnbull and his new deputy, Julie Bishop.

The chamber also urged them to adopt the reforms necessary to improve Australia’s “productivity and competitiveness.”

Its CEO, Kate Carnell, also urged the Coalition to get behind Mr Turnbull “for the sake of the country and the economy.”

A big public service union, though, is proving less co-operative.

It is about to launch what it calls another round of industrial action, to press its pay claims.

This will start with a lunch time rally, involving staff from the Department of Human Services today.

It is expected to spread to other pressure points, such as international airports, later.

 

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My book

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Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill

A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.

Available now on the iTunes store.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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