Apparently unlike everyone else, Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig was caught by surprise when the 142m Abel Tasman snuck up on him.
He looked around a day or so ago and, Bloody Hell, there’s a 9500 tonne fishing boat in Australian waters. And it wants to catch sea life. Who would have thought?
So instead of a considered official response, the owners of the Abel Tasman have been given a rushed, two-year rebuff because the Government was spooked by political agitation.
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I was so happy to read that The Punch’s David Penberthy had decided to try to make a 100 per cent Australian-grown bolognese sauce. So sorry to hear that it wasn’t possible.
Distraught to read that he couldn’t understand all the fuss about foreign imported foods.
Writing as a vegetable farmer’s wife, let me tell you what the fuss is. Every day people like my husband wake up and go to work on the farm. Farm life is a life like no other. There’s no 9 to 5 on the farm.
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President Barack Obama’s speech to the Australian Parliament, like those of his predecessors, was indeed an historic occasion.
Amidst the hype and ceremony, I can’t help but wonder if a couple of Labor Ministers didn’t squirm a little in their seats as the President reminded us: “We seek trade that is free and fair. And we seek an open international economic system, where rules are clear and every nation plays by them.”
In a reference to the G20 and the World Trade Organisation, which just days earlier had welcomed Russia to its ranks, the President stressed: “We need growth that is fair, where every nation plays by the rules – where workers’ rights are respected and our businesses can compete on a level playing field… so no nation has an unfair advantage.”
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Reading the news yesterday that the United States bookstore chain Border has gone into bankruptcy, I began to ask myself how long it could possibly be before a big Australian chain met the same fate. Unfortunately the wait wasn’t long.
A press release came out that afternoon announcing that REDGroup, who control Borders Australia, Angus and Robertson and Whitcoulls in New Zealand, were being placed into administration. This will affect 260 stores.
Really, it is a wonder this didn’t happen earlier given that Australian booksellers have been defying the laws of market theory that would have sent other businesses bust long ago. There are a few reasons why this was pretty inevitable. One involves parallel import laws and the other the internet, but the two are closely linked.
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Kevin Rudd might be egotistical, self-serving, mistake prone and a control freak but he is perfectly suited to the foreign ministry.
Although Rudd demanded the foreign affairs portfolio at the barrel of a gun, it’s a win-win situation for him and Australia. Rudd gets to travel the world and prepare for a post-political career and the country gets can rest assured that its biggest political liability has one of the least influential portfolios in government.
Rudd cannot do damage as Australia’s chief diplomat because diplomacy is the most overrated profession since travel agents. International relations is not about the high politics of the diplomatic elite; rather, it is about globalisation and interactions between individuals and firms operating within a global market.
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After the indignity of having its then leader declare himself an ideological social democrat in a culture magazine, it’s the idea that dare not speak its name. Lost in the wilderness for so many years, the Gillard government might finally be accepting its inheritance as the party of economic rationalism and reform.
But it’s early days and Labor might just be teasing.
Labor’s decision to fundamentally change its trade policy is its most promising economic policy in a generation. In a recent address to the Lowy Institute, Trade Minister Craig Emerson indicated that the government will unilaterally cut Australia’s remaining industry tariffs, separate trade policy from international politics and only pursue trade agreements that have an economic upside.
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It has a population of 6.3 million. It is one of Australia’s two really large recipients of aid.
We are its largest trading partner. It is our 19th. It’s about 400 times closer to us than New Zealand.
Yet for some reason our media and public discourse doesn’t seem to rate the importance of Papua New Guinea. On this website a search on Papua New Guinea yields 23 hits compared to 35 for Spain, 76 for South Africa and 94 for Iran.
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Doubtless, last Wednesday night you were struggling to get to sleep.
Having marked May 20 on the calendar weeks in advance the sense of anticipation can be intense when there is just one sleep to go. For me, circadian rhythms stood no chance in the face of the sheer excitement of Thursday’s dawn: the dawn of World Metrology Day.
For those who measure things this is a very important anniversary. World Metrology Day commemorates the signing of the Convention of the Metre in 1875 and the birth of the modern international system of measurement.
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Lost in the aftershocks of the home insulation scandal is a story with deadly implications for beef farming in Australia.
A Senate inquiry is underway into a decision to lift the ban on importing beef from countries tainted by mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
From next Monday, beef from countries like the US, Canada, Britain and other European nations will enter Australia, without being subject to the usual import risk assessments.
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Food security is one of the major challenges facing the world. In the coming decade with the population expected to increase to around 10 billion, access to food particularly food that is safe and free from disease will increasingly challenge many nations.
Australians are rightly proud of the high quality food that we produce. But as the world grows flatter and we increasingly import food, the high standards that we expect in Australia come into question.
An example of this is the Australian honeybee industry, which for all intensive purposes has its back against the wall.
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As a farmer it is my duty to let backyard chook fanciers in on a secret. No chook ever died in credit. That’s why the only chooks that have ever been on our farm have been dead, plucked and ready to cook.
Chooks as pets are the flavour of the month. They are small, they eat leftovers and the eggs they lay are delicious, making them ideal pets for inner-city backyards.
But if you look at the economics, each egg will cost many times more than the amount you pay for a barn-laid dozen and food producers don’t provide homes for poultry or livestock that doesn’t earn its keep.
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If you ever find yourself in a foreign prison awaiting representation from Australia on your behalf just pray that West Australian Premier Colin Barnett does not come through the door.
Not only is he unlikely to put up any kind of a fight for you, after a big Yum Cha lunch he may well agree to pull the hanging lever should your executioner be off sick.
Like the prince of a Chinese tributary kingdom of the middle-ages Colin Barnett travelled to Shanghai to assure his leaders that he wasn’t angry at them over the arrest of Stern Hu – actually it was our fault as Australians for over-reacting.
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Who needs Pauline Hanson when you’ve got Nathan Rees and Eric Roozendaal?
If you’re reading this article, it means that the Rees Government has done its bit to murder Australia’s reputation as a modern, sensible, civilised trading partner, a mature open economy which understands that while some jobs have gone offshore, many thousands of new ones have been created by pulling down our trade barriers.
These pre-Whitlamite drongos on Macquarie Street have effectively trashed Australia’s reputation by pandering to prejudice and an unsophisticated grasp of how modern economies work.
You know things are bad in New South Wales when its government led by left-wing Premier, Nathan Rees, is trying to find ways to blame the Red Menace for its economic woes.
Today’s State budget includes protectionist measures to give priority for nearly $4 billion in goods and services to be purchased from Aussie companies, mostly at the expense of China.
It’s an idea with the intellectual depth of a children’s cartoon. Admittedly, by the end of the clip I am not really sure whether NSW Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, is the scarecrow or the lion. But I know the NSW public is represented by the tin man who ultimately gets a punch in the face.
It is 20 years to the day that the student protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square were put down with brutal force by the Chinese Government.
This calculated act of state-sponsored violence was the most audacious expression of the Chinese dictatorship’s disregard for human rights. In full view of the world, with the above video still standing as a defining moment in history, China cemented its standing as a rogue state.
The face of modern Australia was also changed by Tiananmen. Our then prime minister Bob Hawke famously broke down on television, announcing that all 20,000 Chinese students then resident in our country could stay permanently. Today, Bob Hawke is a lobbyist with an office in Shanghai, and has spent much of the past week ducking requests for interviews.
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