Tag Archives: Australia

“That’s Something China Can’t Tolerate”: Tensions Erupt As China Slams Australia’s “Irresponsible Comments”, by Tyler Durden

Many nations commercial relationships with China are so extensive that China can throw its weight around. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

It all started in late February when we reported that a political row had erupted between China and Australia, with Beijing cracking down on imports of coal from Australia, cutting off the country’s miners from their biggest export market and threatening the island nation’s economy at a time when it and its fellow “Five Eyes” members who have sided with the US by blocking or banning Huawei’s 5G network technology.

In the weeks that followed, while Beijing disputed such a draconian export crackdown, China was overtly targeting Australian coal imports with increased restrictions – what Beijing claims were quality checks – that delayed their passage through northern ports. Given Australia has the highest level of income dependency on China of any developed nation as 30.6% of all Australian export income came from China last year, equivalent to US$87 billion (twice the trade volume with Japan, Australia’s next biggest trading partner), and Australia’s coal industry is deeply dependent on its exports to China, which account for 3.7% of Australia’s GDP, this prompted much speculation that Beijing is punishing coal companies as retribution for political acts by Canberra, one of Washington’s closest allies. “The last time Australia was so dependent on one country for its income was in the 1950s when it was a client state of Britain,” Sydney Morning Herald’s international editor, Peter Hartcher Hartcher said in March, according to the SCMP.

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As Washington Vacillates, Asia’s Alliances Are Shifting, by Conn Hallinan

America’s Asian allies are hedging their bets. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

“Boxing the compass” is an old nautical term for locating the points on a magnetic compass in order to set a course. With the erratic winds blowing out of Washington these days, countries all over Asia and the Middle East are boxing the compass and reevaluating traditional foes and old alliances.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the past half-century, and both have nuclear weapons on a hair trigger. But the two countries are now part of a security and trade organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with China, Russia, and most of the countries of Central Asia. Following the recent elections in Pakistan, Islamabad’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has called for an “uninterrupted continued dialogue” with New Delhi to resolve conflicts and establish “peace and stability” in Afghanistan.

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A Housing Bubble Pops: Update on Australia, by Wolf Richter

Australia has had one of the longest running housing bubbles around, but it looks like it’s popped. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

It is rare that a housing market makes such a beautifully defined U-turn, after a long hard surge.

In Sydney, Australia’s largest housing market and one of the world’s biggest housing bubbles, prices of homes of all types fell 5.4% in July compared to a year ago, and 5.5% from the peak in September. Prices of single-family houses dropped 7.0%, and prices of condos (“units”) fell 1.6%, according to CoreLogic’s Daily Home Value Index:

The most expensive quarter of the market got hit the hardest, with prices down 8.0% in July compared to a year ago. Across the so-called “most affordable quarter of the market” – “least unaffordable” would be more appropriate – prices fell by 1.8%.

And supply in Sydney is starting to come out of the woodwork: Total number of homes listed for sale in July, at 26,103, was 22% higher than a year earlier, and according to CoreLogic, the most since July 2012.

In the chart below, the number of homes listed for sale in 2018 is denoted with the black line. It’s below only the blue line (2012), but creeping up on it. Note the seasonality, with listings getting pulled during the Christmas holiday period (chart via CoreLogic):

And so goes the rental market, where “conditions eased further in July,” CoreLogic noted in its report: In Sydney rents fell 0.4% year-over-year. While that might not sound like much of an annual decline, it is “the largest decline on record” in CoreLogic’s data going back over a decade.

Melbourne lags a few months behind Sydney but is now catching up. Home prices in Melbourne fell 0.5% in July year-over-year, according to CoreLogic, and are down 3.0% from their peak at the end of November 2017: House prices fell 1.4% from a year ago while condos are still up 2.3%. The index is now back where it had been at the end of June, 2017:

To continue reading: A Housing Bubble Pops: Update on Australia

Australia: A Model for Curbing Immigration, by Giulio Meotti

How Australia controls immigration, from Giulio Meotti at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • “Europeans think it’s easy in Australia to control our borders, but they’re just making up excuses for doing nothing themselves.” — Major General (Ret.) Jim Molan, co-author of Australia’s asylum policy.
  • “We have got hundreds, maybe thousands of people drowning in the attempts to get from Africa to Europe… [The] only way you can stop the deaths is in fact to stop the boats”. — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
  • “My long experience in Australian politics has been that whenever a government is seen to have immigration flows under control, public support for immigration increases, when the reverse occurs hostility to immigration rises.” — Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
  • It must be crushing to live in a country where governance might be questionable at best, and economic opportunities limited, if that. People know they are risking their lives in search of a better break. But if the West is not to be overwhelmed, these problems seriously need to be addressed.

Four years ago, the Australian government sparked criticism after it ran an advertisement aimed at discouraging asylum seekers from traveling illegally to the country. “No Way“, the poster read. “You will not make Australia home. If you get on a boat without a visa, you will not end up in Australia. Any vessel seeking illegally to enter Australia will be intercepted and safely removed beyond Australian waters”.

It was an extremely tough message, but it worked. “Australia’s migration rate is the lowest it’s been in 10 years”, said Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister. Speaking last week on the Today Show, Dutton added that the drop was about “restoring integrity to our border”. The Australians are apparently happy about that. A new poll just revealed that 72% of voters support Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s immigration policy. Australia, a Western democracy, has for years, tried to deal with a migration crisis from the sea.

“Europeans think it’s easy in Australia to control our borders, but they’re just making up excuses for doing nothing themselves,” said retired major general Jim Molan, co-author of Australia’s asylum policy.

In 2013, Tony Abbott was elected Prime Minister under the slogan “Stop the boats“. “Stop the boats” is now also the slogan of the new Italy’s new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who, since the formation of a new government last month, has been totally focused on curbing immigration from “the world’s most lethal” route: across the Mediterranean.

To continue reading: Australia: A Model for Curbing Immigration

 

Bringing Julian Assange Home, by John Pilger

By all means bring Julian Assange home, to Australia. Does Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have the balls, or is he just another US eunuch? From John Pilger at global research.ca:

The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Or it will end in tragedy.

The Australian government and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull have an historic opportunity to decide which it will be.

They can remain silent, for which history will be unforgiving. Or they can act in the interests of justice and humanity and bring this remarkable Australian citizen home.

Assange does not ask for special treatment. The government has clear diplomatic and moral obligations to protect Australian citizens abroad from gross injustice: in JulianE’s case, from a gross miscarriage of justice and the extreme danger that await him should he walk out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London unprotected.

We know from the Chelsea Manning case what he can expect if a US extradition warrant is successful — a United Nations Special Rapporteur called it torture.

I know Julian Assange well; I regard him as a close friend, a person of extraordinary resilience and courage. I have watched a tsunami of lies and smear engulf him, endlessly, vindictively, perfidiously; and I know why they smear him.

In 2008, a plan to destroy both WikiLeaks and Assange was laid out in a top secret document dated 8 March, 2008. The authors were the Cyber Counter-intelligence Assessments Branch of the US Defence Department. They described in detail how important it was to destroy the “feeling of trust” that is WikiLeaks’ “centre of gravity”.

This would be achieved, they wrote, with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution” and a unrelenting assault on reputation. The aim was to silence and criminalise WikiLeaks and its editor and publisher. It was as if they planned a war on a single human being and on the very principle of freedom of speech.

Their main weapon would be personal smear. Their shock troops would be enlisted in the media — those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth.

The irony is that no one told these journalists what to do. I call them Vichy journalists — after the Vichy government that served and enabled the German occupation of wartime France.

Last October, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Sarah Ferguson interviewed Hillary Clinton, over whom she fawned as “the icon for your generation”.

This was the same Clinton who threatened to “obliterate totally” Iran and, who, as US secretary of State in 2011, was one of the instigators of the invasion and destruction of Libya as a modern state, with the loss of 40,000 lives. Like the invasion of Iraq, it was based on lies.

To continue reading: Bringing Julian Assange Home

Why Bringing Assange Home Would Be the Best Possible Thing for Australia, by Caitlin Johnstone

Australia, according to native Caitlin Johnstone, needs to assert itself. From Johnstone at theantimedia.org:

Well I’ll be damned, it’s about time.

According to a new report by the Sydney Morning Herald, officials from Australia’s High Commission have just been spotted leaving the Ecuadorian embassy in London, accompanied by Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Robinson confirmed that a meeting had taken place, but declined to say what it was about “given the delicate diplomatic situation.”

So, forgive me if I squee a bit. I am aware how subservient Australia has historically been to US interests, I am aware that those US interests entail the arrest of Assange and the destruction of WikiLeaks, and I am aware that things don’t often work out against the interests of the US-centralized empire. But there is a glimmer of hope now, coming from a direction we’ve never seen before. A certain southerly direction.

If the Australian government stepped in to protect one of its own journalists from being persecuted by the powerful empire that has dragged us into war after war and turned us into an asset of the US war/intelligence machine… well, as an Australian it makes me tear up just thinking about it. It has been absolutely humiliating watching my beloved country being degraded and exploited by the sociopathic agendas of America’s ruling elites, up to and including the imprisonment and isolation of one of our own, all because he helped share authentic, truthful documents exposing the depraved behaviors of those same ruling elites. I have had very few reasons to feel anything remotely resembling patriotism lately. If Australia brought Assange home, this would change.

We Australians do not have a very clear sense of ourselves; if we did we would never have stood for Assange’s persecution in the first place. We tend to form our national identity in terms of negatives, by the fact that we are not British and are not American, without any clear image about what we are. A bunch of white prisoners got thrown onto a gigantic island rich with ancient indigenous culture, we killed most of the continent’s inhabitants and degraded and exploited the survivors, and now we’re just kind of standing around drinking tea as the dust settles saying, “Hmm… well, we’re not stuck-up like the Brits, and we’re not entitled like the Yanks.”

That’s pretty much our entire nation right now. A beautiful continent where the Aboriginal Dreamtime has been paved over with suburbs and shopping centers. We are a warm and charitable people, we value family and community, but we’ve got no sense of who we are and what it means to be Australian.

To continue reading: Why Bringing Assange Home Would Be the Best Possible Thing for Australia

FBI Investigating Millions Of “Mishandled” Dollars Funneled From Australian Govt To Clinton Foundation, by Tyler Durden

If Clinton Foundation donors weren’t seeking favors from a potential president of the US, why did so many donations dry up when Hillary lost the election? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The FBI has asked retired Australian policeman-turned investigative journalist, Michael Smith, to provide information he has gathered detailing multiple allegations of the Clinton Foundation receiving tens of millions of mishandled taxpayer funds, according to LifeZette

“I have been asked to provide the FBI with further and better particulars about allegations regarding improper donations to the CF funded by Australian taxpayers,” Smith told LifeZette.

Of note, the Clinton Foundation received some $88 million from Australian taxpayers between 2006 and 2014, reaching its peak in 2012-2013 – which was coincidentally (we’re sure) Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s last year in office.

Smith names several key figures in his complaints of malfeasance, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and multiple Australian government officials – including senior diplomat Alexander Downer, whose conversation with Trump aide George Papadopoulos that Russia had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton allegedly launched the Trump-Russia investigation (as opposed to the Fusion GPS dossier, of course).

Within hours of the NYT publication, the paper was immediately shredded as the information Papadopoulous told Downer was already public

The materials Smith is giving to the FBI focus on a 2007 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDs Initiative (CHAI) and the Australian government.

Smith claims the foundation received a “$25M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deception” as a result of actions by Bill Clinton and Downer, who was then Australia’s minister of foreign affairs.

Also included in the Smith materials are evidence he believes shows “corrupt October 2006 backdating of false tender advertisements purporting to advertise the availability of a $15 million contract to provide HIV/AIDS services in Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Australian government after an agreement was already in place to pay the Clinton Foundation and/or associates.”-Lifezette

As a reminder, the Australian government announced that they would stop pouring millions of dollars into accounts linked to the Clinton charities in November of 2016 – right after Hillary Clinton lost the election.

To continue reading: FBI Investigating Millions Of “Mishandled” Dollars Funneled From Australian Govt To Clinton Foundation