Sunday, June 17, 2012

Australia and Asia:  Belated intellectual realization of what is already well underway

Something not mentioned below is the fact that Australia's population is now something like 5% of Han Chinese origin.  I still sometimes get a bit of a start when someone of unmistakeable Han  appearance addresses me in broad Australian!  And the number of tall Australian men I see with a little Asian lady on their arm is so frequent as to be amusing.  The Asian ladies know what they want  -- big men  --  and get it.  My own big blond 6' tall son always seems to have an amiable Asian lady in his company

Sam Roggeveen, editor of the Lowy Institute’s blog The Interpreter, recently suggested that coming to grips with the Asian Century may represent a ‘great national project’ for Australia. Embracing Asia ‘goes to the core of our national identity’ and cannot be done without political leadership, he added.

The Asian Century is not a pithy turn of phrase. It points to one of the most important geo-strategic shifts in world history. After approximately 500 years of European and American pre-eminence, power is rapidly moving back to Asian capitals and centres of commerce.

As profound as the changes heralded by the dawn of the Asian Century might be, it does not require a great nation-building response from Australia. We are already deep in an Asian embrace.

The rise of Asia is nothing new for Australia in the economic arena. From the resources sector to higher education, the Australian economy is already tied to Asia’s growing economies.

The top five destinations for Australian exports are China, Japan, Korea, India and Taiwan, and we are negotiating free trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia.

The Australian tourism industry is emblematic of the shift to Asia. While North Atlantic economies are depressed by ongoing financial meltdowns and paltry growth figures (around 2% in the United States and 0% in the Eurozone), Australia is increasingly drawing tourists from the rapidly expanding Asian middle classes.

Last year, Australia welcomed 542,000 Chinese visitors, and Tourism Australia projects that Chinese tourists could inject as much as $7 billion-9 billion annually into the Australian economy by 2020. With more than 2 billion newly prosperous Indian and Chinese middle-class consumers expected by mid-century, the importance of Asian markets will only grow.

Appreciation of the significance of Asia’s rise is not restricted to corporate boardrooms or elite defence and foreign policy circles. The latest Lowy Institute poll shows that Australians are aware of Asia’s importance to our prosperity and security: 68% of respondents said it was very important for Australia to be seen in a positive light by countries in our region.

Australia’s view of Asia is also becoming increasingly optimistic. Positive feelings towards Japan are at an all-time high, and China is increasingly viewed in a positive light.

Australia’s integration into Asia need not be a national project. It is already underway and will continue apace.


Illegals  abuse law to overstay in Australia

FAILED asylum seekers, foreign students overstaying their visas and others facing deportation admit to rorting the immigration system to stay in Australia, according to an official report.

The Immigration Department study revealed unsuccessful visa applicants had a "dig in and resist" mentality, believing they had a "personal entitlement" to stay in Australia and could beat the system with persistence. It found some refugee advocates, migration agents and religious groups misled asylum seekers by raising expectations and false hopes about their chances of staying in Australia.

Based on interviews with people facing removal from Australia and immigration officers, the report revealed the department was besieged by those with a "stay-at-all-cost" mindset.

It found people used every means to extend their stay and many saw marrying an Australian as a viable way to remain permanently, with the aim of later bringing out family. "Most respondents displayed a 'dig in and resist to the end' mentality (and) they had a strong sense of personal entitlement to stay in Australia," the report said.

"They believed the system was there to be exploited and no decision was seen as final."

Among those surveyed were Afghan, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, UK and New Zealand nationals. Most had been in Australia between two and 10 years - some for decades.

The report said, while many claimed to fear persecution in their home countries, they strongly believed they had a right to stay based on their social and economic contribution to Australia.

"(There was also) a sense of shame around returning to the country of origin having nothing to show for their stay in Australia," it said.

The report said many surveyed asylum seekers were drug addicts and had mental health problems, and they had a general attitude that the department lacked credibility and was "just trying to get rid of people". The Management Of Enforced Removals In Australia: A Client Perspective report was done for the department by consultants Hall & Partners/Open Mind.

It recommended the department improve "messaging" so clients better understood the migration process and were given alternatives to remaining in Australia.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police have arrested 53 people who were trying to leave the island illegally in a boat believed to be heading for Australia. The trawler was stopped by the navy off the island's southeastern coast on Tuesday and the men were handed over to police, who arrested a further 26 people on shore, including 21 Afghans and five Pakistanis suspected of using Sri Lanka as a transit point.


When Australian military "justice" a sham and a joke

A coverup to protect an erring  female officer

A SENIOR Defence Force investigator who "came down hard" on Diggers caught drinking in the Middle East was cleared of a boozing charge after her hearing was conducted without witnesses.

Two former investigators and key prosecution witnesses, whose accounts of her drinking at the Hilton Hotel in Dubai led to her facing charges, only found out about the hearing several weeks after it was over. Military personnel are banned from consuming alcohol in the Middle East.

Investigator Flight Lieutenant Tricia Hill, who was officer-in-command of the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service contingent in 2011, was a key figure in prosecuting soldiers caught drinking in Dubai and Afghanistan. A total of 160 troops were disciplined for drinking during 2010 and 2011.

In one case a corporal was fined $5000 and demoted for drinking in Dubai.

According to a whistleblower, who was drinking with the officer in Dubai and in Jordan in 2011, she consumed at least six drinks in Dubai and "copious" amounts over several days by the pool in Jordan.

The charge against her was moved to Canberra, because the witnesses were back in Australia. When the case was heard without them the charge was dismissed. One of the whistleblowers described the failure to ensure witnesses were present as "perverting the course of justice".


Horrors!  Grass grows in some parts of Antarctica

The Greenies sure have a lot to worry about

ANTARCTIC scientists are making plans to defend the continent against green alien pests.  Believe it or not, green grass does grow on the Antarctic continent and scientists are calling it an alien invasion.

Paddock grasses such as poa annua, or bluegrass, are encroaching on areas that do not have permanent ice and snow cover. And alien flies have been spotted buzzing around.

Australian Antarctic Division Terrestrial biologist Aleks Terauds said such infestations had only been there a few years.  Dr Terauds, speaking yesterday at a Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research forum in Hobart, said they along with unwanted micro organisms had been ferried in on the boots and equipment of scientists and tourists.

A team led by Dr Terauds yesterday announced that they had divided the vulnerable areas those with no permanent snow cover, adding up to about two thirds of the size of Tasmania into 15 distinct regions based on location, climate, flora and fauna and geology.

"While quarantine procedures are already in place for intercontinental travel, such as cleaning clothing and equipment before arriving in Antarctica, there are less biosecurity measures for intra-continental movement," Dr Terauds said.

He added that scientists had not ruled out bids to eradicate existing alien populations that could run rampant with global warming.


Australian radio commentator Alan Jones officially censured over perfectly reasonable global warming comments

Since the % of CO2 in the air is in any case tiny and there have always been large natural causes of it,  what Jones said was a perfectly reasonable ballpark estimate.  ALL estimates involve a large element of guesswork and assumption anyway

In a separate investigation, ACMA also looked into remarks made by Jones on March 15 last year when he told listeners on his breakfast show that "Human beings produce .001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air."

ACMA found Jones had breached the code of practice when he made no effort to check his claims and 2GB needed to improve its processes for fact-checking or face a licence condition.


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