Australia

Michael Sonnabend / Flickr
Michael Sonnabend / Flickr

There has been lots of discussion about the influence of corporate money in politics in this year's presidential campaign.   Just two days before Australians went to the polls earlier this summer, an independent think tank published a report on how donations from big mining companies may have influenced six projects, including one of the biggest coal mines in the world.  Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Marc Nozell / Flickr
Marc Nozell / Flickr

Vice President Joe Biden is starting the week in Australia. Biden was in Hawai‘i at the end of last week, where he observed the Rim of the Pacific military exercises. After a few days in Australia, Biden will head to an unusual destination for a US vice president: New Zealand. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

The last time an American vice president went to New Zealand, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and the Bee Gees were wrestling for the top of the music pop charts, Annie Hall won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

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Wikipedia Commons

    

Researchers in Hawai‘i and around the world are closely monitoring the health of ocean coral. But there’s another form of marine life that’s also getting close attention—especially off the coast of Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Seaweed comes in various forms…including kelp—which is a brown algae that grows in relatively shallow oceans.  And a recent study about kelp off the west coast of Australia comes to some disturbing conclusions.

Australian Embassy Jakarta / Flickr
Australian Embassy Jakarta / Flickr

Voters across Australia will go to the polls tomorrow in a national parliamentary election.  Polls show the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is likely to hold onto power, but with a slimmer majority in both houses of parliament.  One factor: the complications of Australia’s political parties. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

On the day after tomorrow, the once autonomous territory of Norfolk Island will be part of Australia, ruled by a regional council instead of its own legislative assembly. Australia's parliament abolished self-rule just over a year ago and, as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, many Norfolk Islanders aren't happy about it.

Takver / Flickr
Takver / Flickr

In the run up to national elections, Australians got two sharply contrasting reports on off-shore detention camps this week.  A trauma expert and psychologist described conditions at Manus Island and Nauru as an atrocity, while a tabloid television crew reported that, for the most part, refugees are well fed, safe and well housed. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

City of Augsburg
City of Augsburg

Hawai‘i is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians—especially for older residents. That’s been the case for several years—even when people are using cross-walks. There’s an experiment planned in Australia that might offer some ideas---but it’s expensive. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

You may have seen a report over the weekend with even more bad news on coral bleaching in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.  According to an underwater survey, more than a third of the coral in the northern and central sections of the reef is dead or dying.  The report comes right after the Australian government ordered all references to the Great Barrier Reef to be cut out of a UN report on the impact of climate change on World Heritage sites...details From Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

President Obama's visit to Vietnam this week has focused on economic and strategic issues and on Human rights. Vietnam rigorously suppresses dissent and, late this week,  four Vietnamese go on trial for an act regarded as a right in much of the world...trying to leave the country. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

APEC 2013 / Flickr
APEC 2013 / Flickr

In Papua New Guinea, scandals and crises threaten to overwhelm Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. After courts reinstated the police anti-corruption unit, his arrest appears to be just a matter of time, and protests mount on university campuses and in an Australian detention camp. We have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

DIBP images / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Yesterday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set national elections for July second.  The budget and the economy are expected to be the big issues, but immigration policy will be important too, especially after two asylum seekers set themselves on fire as a protest.  We have more on that, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

The Conversation: Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

May 3, 2016
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Every Student Succeeds in Hawaii; Getting Hawai’i Girls into STEM; Neal Conan on Primaries and the Pacific; Making Kapa

    

Governor’s Team, Every Student Succeeds Act: Darrel Galera

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Wikipedia Commons

  Australia's controversial migrant policy faces major new questions today after a protester set himself on fire as UN officials toured the detention camp on Nauru.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea ordered Australia's other off-shore run camp to be closed.  More, from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Earlier today, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the winner of the biggest defense contract in Australia's history.  While Japan was long believed to have the inside track, France received the order for 12 new submarines in a deal estimated at 39 billion dollars.  We have more from Neal Conan, in the Pacific News Minute.

midnightcomm / Flickr
midnightcomm / Flickr

One of the biggest abalone farms in the world is located in Hawai‘i. It’s on Hawai‘i Island—run by the Big Island Abalone Corporation. Across the Pacific, a different method of raising abalone is sparking new interest. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

In the waters off Western Australia, artificial reefs are home to a growing crop of abalone.  Those behind the project call it the world’s first sea ranch for abalone.  That’s a delicacy in many Asian countries—and demand is rising fast—especially in China.

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Wikipedia Commons

Australia's been in an uproar this week over a diversity toolkit published by the University of New South Wales, which advises students that the country was not "settled" by Britain, but rather "invaded, occupied and colonized."  As for Captain James Cook, he may have mapped the coastline, but certainly did not discover the place.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute. 

"Whitewash" screams the front page of Sydney's Daily Telegraph.  And in a follow-up story: "Nutty professors want to Cook the history books." 

Br John Walker msc / FLickr
Br John Walker msc / FLickr

Australia is the driest continental landmass on earth.  Right next door, the mountains of Papua New Guinea are some of the wettest places on the planet.  Now the government in Port Moresby has decided to fund a plan to build a fresh water pipeline to connect them.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

In Australia, protests continue over the government's plan to return 268 asylum seekers to an off-shore detention camp in the Pacific island nation of Nauru.  Doctors at a hospital in Brisbane refuse to discharge a one year old baby known as Asha until what they call a suitable home environment is identified.  But while most attention has focused on the plight of migrants in Nauru, Australia operates another, even bigger detention camp on a remote island in Papua New Guinea.  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

DIAC Images / Flickr

Australia's High Court is considering a challenge to the country's controversial off shore detention camps - all migrants who try to reach Australia by sea are sent to facilities  either on the Pacific Island nation of Nauru or to an atoll in Papua New Guinea. Now an Australian Doctor has challenged the government to prosecute him, for speaking out about conditions in the camps. Details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

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Wikipedia Commons

Government and industry officials are considering what energy investments will be required over the next several decades.  It’s a discussion that’s going on in Hawai‘i as regulators consider NextEra’s bid for Hawaiian Electric Industries.  But it’s also a conversation that’s happening right now in Australia.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

730-billion US dollars.

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Wikipedia Commons

There’s a real estate sale going on in Australia that involves plots of land roughly the size of the state of Tennessee.  And this week, the federal government announced that Chinese companies interested in buying will not be eligible. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

For a quarter of a billion dollars, you could buy more than 39-thousand square miles of farm and ranchland in Australia.  Unless you happen to be Chinese - or any nationality other than Australian.

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Wikipedia Commons

Inmates took over parts of an Australian detention camp for three days this week.  The high security facility on remote Christmas Island houses both asylum seekers and convicted criminals awaiting deportation (this is the Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, not the one that's part of Kiribas).  More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Jes / Flickr
Jes / Flickr

Australia continues to be a growth market for travelers to Hawai‘i.  The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority reports visitor arrivals from Australia are up ten-percent compared to a year ago.  So you may be hearing more Australian accents—but some recent discussion about that accent is sparking a bit of controversy back home. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Accents come from various influences.

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Wikipedia Commons

In a speech in London this week, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Europe should respond to its migrant crisis the same way Australia did: turn away the boats and close the borders.  Abbott was forced out of office last month and this is his first major speech since. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Bill Harrison / Flickr
Bill Harrison / Flickr

October is the peak month for shark attacks in Hawai‘i.  That’s according to figures put together over the past 35 years by the Department of Land and Natural Resources.  The overall numbers remain low, despite the publicity those cases tend to generate.  In Australia, recent attacks have led to a special conference this week in Sydney.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

yeahnah.tv Via Creative Commons
yeahnah.tv Via Creative Commons

Australia’s political world has been rocked by another change at the top.  As we reported yesterday for the fourth time in the last two years, the country has a new Prime Minister.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more on what that may mean in today’s Asia Minute.

The political equilibrium in Australia has shifted a bit toward the center.  Tony Abbott lost the leadership of the Liberal Party, which despite its name, is the more conservative of Australia’s two major parties - the Labor Party carries the banner of the political left.

Global Panorama / Flickr
Global Panorama / Flickr

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was forced out of office Monday after a revolt in his ruling Liberal Party.  The hard line conservative's departure was met with satisfaction by his Pacific Island neighbors after what some call Abbott's last gaffe.  Details from Neal Conan in our Pacific News Minute.

Takver / Flickr
Takver / Flickr

Refugees from Syria continue to pour across borders in search of better lives.  Part of the story has focused on the response of European countries. But at least one country in the Asia Pacific is wrestling with how big of a role it might play.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Immigration is a politically charged issue in Australia - as it is in many countries.  Accepting refugees is now part of that discussion with a new level of urgency.  As in many European countries, right now there is a debate going on about how many Syrian refugees Australia may take.

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Wikipedia Commons

A six month investigation by an Australian Senate Committee finds that conditions at the migrant detention center on the Pacific Island Nation of Nauru are not safe.  A report calls for all children to be removed as soon as possible, and as we hear from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute, that's just one of fifteen recommendations.

Takver / Flickr
Takver / Flickr

Immigration has emerged as an issue in the U.S. presidential campaign.  It’s also a hot topic in Australia.  But one approach to checking immigration status sparked a major protest Friday in that country’s second biggest city.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute. 

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