Australia

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Not all eyes are on the prize: Eurovision is often as much about undeclared alliances, voting blocs and political paybacks. Andres Putting (EBU)/Eurovision

Glitz meets politics: an Australian viewer’s guide to Eurovision voting

For the first time, Australians can vote for this year's Eurovision winner. But it's as much a political battlefield as a song contest -- so hopefully the Russians have forgotten the “shirtfront”.
President Joko Widodo is not crying over cuts to Australian aid for Indonesia. AAP Image/Eka Nickmatulhuda

How will a 40% cut in Australian aid affect Indonesia?

Australia has cut aid to Indonesia by 40%. That may cause diplomatic displeasure, but the country has restructured its development programs in recent years to be less dependent on foreign money.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar travelled in this fishing boat to Sumatra, Indonesia, with officials announcing some 2000 people were rounded up or rescued after arriving in Malaysia and Indonesia over the weekend. EPA

Pushed offshore, the ‘boat people’ crisis demands regional response

Australia may have 'stopped the boats' but the tragedy of people drowning at sea continues to our north and is getting worse. A regional solution to the refugee crisis is urgently needed.
Survival capsule used by Australia to return asylum seekers from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to Indonesia. Himawan Nugraha/EPA

Would Australia’s asylum seeker policy stop boats to Europe?

What would it mean if the European Union decided to "get Australian" and adopt a tougher approach to asylum seekers? Could it work, and at what cost?
Despite declining gun fatalities, there should be no room for complacency in Australia, with an estimated 260,000 illegal guns in Australia – including this MP5K 9mm machine gun, seized in Queensland in 2013. Dan Peled/AAP

Good news: fatal shootings are now less common in Australia, NZ, Canada and even the US

The rate of fatal shootings has fallen in Australia, the US and other nations in recent decades. Yet anti- and pro-gun ideology still makes it hard to have a sensible discussion about gun violence.
Like their allies, New Zealand troops served in Afghanistan without the ‘Rolls Royce’ legal agreement now being demanded by some politicians for the upcoming joint mission with Australia in Iraq. AAP/NZ Defence Force, CPL Sam Shepherd

ANZAC troops' mission to Iraq undermined by petty NZ politics

Australia and New Zealand's joint mission in Iraq is getting underway. But in NZ, the decision to send 143 troops to train Iraqis against Islamic State has faced a divided parliament and public.
An Australian Super Hornet refuels from a KC30 tanker while flying over Iraq. @VCDF_Australia/Twitter

Why Western boots should stay out of Iraq and Syria

There are two reasons why we should ignore the growing calls in the United States, Canada and Australia for Western “boots on ground” – meaning ground troops – to fight and destroy the Islamic State (IS…
Ice cores reveal that Antarctica was polluted long before Scott and Amundsen set foot there. Andrew Mandemaker/Wikimedia Commons

Our pollution reached Antarctica long before the great explorers

Lead pollution from Australia reached Antarctica in 1889 – long before the frozen continent’s golden age of exploration – and has remained there ever since, new research shows. In our study, published…
A tourist train from Sheringham to Holt steams past an offshore wind farm, one of many that have sprung up along the UK coast. Gerry Balding/Flickr

UK shows how Australia can cut emissions without a carbon tax

Australia’s carbon price has gone – but a UK review released this week shows that to lay the foundations for a low-carbon economy, pricing carbon is far from the whole story. Over recent months, as Australia’s…
A China-Australia FTA agreement would be handy for business but it’s just the first step. Parker Song/Pool/AAP

Australia-China FTA a stepping stone rather than an end point

Going from raw data the Australia-China trade relationship should be a source of celebration and congratulation. In 2013, bilateral trade came to A$140 billion, up 20% on the year before. Even better…
This Vietnamese school girl is growing up in a new era: by the time she is middle-aged, 60% of the world’s children will be living in a tropical region. UN Photo/Mark Garten

How the world is turning tropical before our eyes

Our Tropical Future: A new report on the State of the Tropics has revealed rapid changes in human and environmental health in the Earth’s tropical regions. This is the first in a four-part series about…
Sunrise over Queenstown in New Zealand in July 2012. This year’s ski season is just beginning in Australia and New Zealand. Trey Ratcliff/Flickr

Winter is here, but will there be snow in Australia and NZ?

Australia’s ski season is finally getting underway, with the first resort, Perisher, opening its ski lifts after some weekend snow fall. But snow lovers are still watching and waiting for good falls elsewhere…
After a tip-off from an Egyptian vet, Animals Australia sparked a government investigation into what an industry leader described as “horrific” slaughtering practices in Egypt last year. Tougher rules have now been promised. Animals Australia

Live animal export rules are useless without enforcement

Australia looks set to resume exporting live sheep to Iran, after Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce this week flagged the end of a 40-year ban following Iran’s Islamic revolution. Flanked by the chief…
Southern Stars: a new Australian flag design by Dr Benjamin T. Jones. Artwork by Jake Heath

Wave! It’s a flag for all Australians

Australia has never had a truly national flag. While we currently fly one of our dominion status ensigns, we have never had the same debate when we abandoned God Save the Queen and embraced an anthem of…

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