Category Archives: Australia

The welfare state debate: who gets what and who pays for it?

by Peter Whiteford

The appropriate level and structure of public spending is high on the policy agenda. A recent Grattan Institute report Budget pressures on Australian governments argues that Australian Federal and State governments potentially face a combined annual deficit of around 4 per cent of GDP by 2023, of which around 2.5 per cent of GDP would be at the Commonwealth government level.  In a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs in early May this year, then Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said that ‘attacking spending’ and ‘looking for structural saves’ was increasingly urgent, and he referred back to a 2012 speech given at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London where he argued that ‘all developed countries are now facing the end of the era of universal entitlement.  Addressing the ongoing fiscal crises will involve the winding back of universal access to payments and entitlements from the state.’

Australia | UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi calls on Australia to end harmful practice of offshore processing

Australia’s policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, which denies access to asylum in Australia for refugees arriving by sea without a valid visa, has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long.

Four years on, more than 2,000 people are still languishing in unacceptable circumstances. Families have been separated and many have suffered physical and psychological harm.

Australia | Escaped pet birds are teaching wild birds to speak English

Across parts of Australia, reports have been pouring in of strange voices chattering high in the treetops — mysterious, nonsensical conversations in English. But while this phenomenon is certainly quite odd, its explanation isn’t paranormal. It turns out that escaped pet birds, namely parrots and cockatoos, have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity — and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives. Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum, says that some birds are just natural mimickers, able to acquire new sounds based on things they hear around them. For birds kept as pets, these sounds tend to mirror human language — but that influence doesn’t cease even after said birds escape or are released back into the wild.

Australia | Iranian refugee’s film shot on mobile phone shows life inside Australian detention centre

by Eric Tlozek

Audiences around the world will soon have the chance see what life is like inside one of Australia’s offshore detention centres.

An Iranian refugee in the Manus Island detention centre has released a feature film he shot from inside its walls.

Australia | Refugee Trauma on Nauru: the Leaked Incident Reports

“Do I have to kill myself to go to Australia?”