Post #8 Australia

One of the most informative and my favorite lecture was by Sherry Mariea about Women’s rights.  She was very enthusiastic and passionate about the topic and it made the lecture very engaging and interesting.  There was so many things that she talked about in the lecture that I, especially as a male, did not really think about before.  She talked about the term gendercide, which is very prevalent in India because females are a financial burden in India.  In India, there are 50,000 abortions a month because many people prefer to not have a female child and the preferences for sons intensifies discrimination against women.

I was always aware of sex trafficking and the issue of it but I never realized how the system was flawed in a way that it is very easy for sex traffickers to evade the law even after being accused.  Sherry Mariea told once again how it was many times based women and girls being lured by financial incentives.  There are many times where even the girls are prosecuted and not the pimps because the Judicial system allows victim blaming.  This is startling information that I was never aware of when it comes to sex trafficking and those that are victim.

As a country, I have always felt like there has been great progress for women up to this point and I was hoping that gender inequality was not as big of an issue as it was back then.  Unfortunately, I, along with many other men, are mistaken.  As the results of the election show that we have a long way before true gender equality will be achieved and just hidden.

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One thing that stuck with me about this lecture was how she said the women must value independence and most importantly men must value that.  I do think that men are very unaware of how much they do not value or respect women independence.  Even though there is much less apparent sexism, it is still a large issue that is not explored nearly as much as it should be.

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Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with the world’s 12th-largest economy.  Australia has a high ranking in national performance, quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.  The country is part of the UN, WTO, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, G20, and the Pacific Islands Forum.  That is some things that Australia takes great pride in but there are still many issues with Australia as well that we have explored through this blog.

Something that I have noticed is that Australia is part of many world organizations and they have made great strides in progress but they are still overshadowed by other countries such as the United States.  The country has many similarities to the United States in the sense of their progressive steps taken and their similar governments, but I do personally say that Australia has made more positive progress than the United States.  Australia in a way is slowly trying to become the new power country and as their power gains the similarities to their western counterparts are increasing as well.

As mentioned in a previous post, Australia has an increasingly larger problem with economic equality.  The gap between rich and poor in Australia is constantly widening.  The top 20% of households receive half of the income.  The bottom 20% only gets 4% of the income.  According to the Guardian, The Australian Council of Social Service reported in 2014 that the wealthiest people in Australia are now making five times as much as the poorest in the country.  The wealthy also have 70 times the assets of those with the lowest income.

Australia is a state that really does try to address many issues that the US does not do a very good job of such as trying to bring more indigenous or aboriginal people’s representation into their government along with a clear and concise plan to combat climate change.  Though overlooked many times, Australia is a good model country for a developed country that is make steady progress and it always trying to improve itselfimage-adapt-985-medium

 

 

 

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Post #7 Australia

“Freedom is the birthright of every human being.”

Human trafficking is an apparent problem in Australia and has been addressed by the government.  According to the Human Trafficking section of the Australian Federal Police website, “Human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices such as servitude, forced labour and forced marriage are complex crimes and a major violation of human rights.”

Around the world men, women and children are trafficked for a wide range of exploitative purposes, such as:

  • Servitude
  • Slavery
  • Forced labour
  • Debt Bondage
  • Forced marriage
  • Organ harvesting

Australia is a primary destination country for many people that are trafficked from Asia.  Countries include Thailand, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.  Australia’s slavery, slavery-like and human trafficking offenses are described and laid out in Division 270 and 271 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act of 1995.

As with many crimes, an accurate and exact figure for the number of persons that are trafficked into Australia is virtually impossible to ascertain.  There are estimates of number of victims but they show a huge discrepancy of the amount that are officially detected.  This shows how many potential cases that are not being addressed and thus being a large problem for Australian government.  The discrepancy between the amount of recording trafficking and the estimated number is due to high levels of under-reporting.  Trafficked persons are often scared and too terrified to contact authorities because they are fearful of the possible consequences for themselves and their families if they were to be detected.

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The Global Slavery Index puts the number at 29.8 million, which is over twice the number of Africans enslaved between 1525 and 1866, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

Unfortunately, trafficking matters may not be identified as trafficking matter but instead be charged with a range of other offenses.  Other offenses include kidnap/abduction, assault and domestic violence but not with trafficking.  This has raised concerns for the validity, accuracy and reliability of the methodologies used to calculate reported estimates.

The Australian Institute of Criminology provided aggregate statistics from the Autralian Government agencies between January 2004 and June 2011.  They concluded that 305 investigations and assessments of trafficking-related offenses were conducted by the AFP’s Transnational Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Teams.  184 victims of trafficking had been provided with assistance through the government funded Office for Women’s Support for Trafficked Persons (STP) Program.  13 people have been convicted for people trafficking-related offenses (9 of the 13 defendants were convicted of slavery offenses, 3 of sexual servitude and 1 of people trafficking).

Australia works collaboratively with other countries to combat human trafficking. For example, Australia and Indonesia co-chair the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. Australia’s aid program also supports a number of aid projects in the Asia region, including the Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Australia’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015–19 provides the strategic framework for Australia’s response to human trafficking and slavery. The plan was developed with government and non-government partners, and was launched by the Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, in December 2014.

“Three out of every 1,000 persons worldwide are in forced labour at any given point in time”

According to the plan, “Australia is committed to a future where no one is subjected to human trafficking or slavery, and the human rights of all people are valued equally.”  They  acknowledge that the international community has recognized the fundamental right of all people to be free regardless of race, age, disability, religion, sex, sexuality or gender.  The plan says how human trafficking and slavery are serious crimes that do not exhibit the fundamentals of freedom and how it is the most grave of human rights violations.  The plan is a strategic framework for Australia’s response to human trafficking and slavery over the years 2015 to 2019.  The plan is the successor to the Australian Government’s 2004 Action Plan to Eradicate Trafficking in Persons, and further extends that plan.  The plan of the goal is to expand and build on the successes of that plan.

Human trafficking is mentioned a couple times in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Human trafficking is first mentioned in the 27th article of the introduction of the goals stating, “We will eradicate forced labour and human trafficking and end child labour in all its forms.”

In Goal 5, Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, human trafficking is addressed again in the second statement.  “Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.”

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There are multiple ways to combat human trafficking but the most important thing for everyone to do to help is to know the signs of human trafficking so it can be identified.  The U.S. Department of State and the Australian Federal Police have listed indicators of human trafficking on their respective websites.  Some signs include:

  • the person appears to be servicing a large debt to their employer or a third party;
  • the person does not possess their passport or travel/identity documents, which are with their employer or a third party, and the person is unable to access these documents when they wish to do so
  • the person does not have a labour or employment contract/agreement , or they do not understand the terms or conditions of their employment;
  • the person is unable to terminate their employment at any time;
  • the person is subject to different or less favourable working conditions than other employees because he/she comes from overseas;
  • the person never or rarely leave their accommodation for non-work reasons;
  • the person is living at the place of work or another place owned or controlled by their employer;
  • the person has little or no money or no access to their earnings;
  • the person has physical injuries which may have resulted for assault, harsh treatment or unsafe work practices;
  • the person is always in the presence of their employer, who does not want or allow the worker to socialise with others;
  • the person works excessively long hours and have few, if any, days off
  • the person regularly between different workplaces, including interstate.

(Source: AFP)

Once a victim of human trafficking is identified or suspected, it must be reported immediately.  Human trafficking is a global problem and everyone can help if they have proper awareness and knowledge of the topic.

 

 

 

Post #6

Linda Polman brings up multiple flaws of Non-Governmental organizations (NGO’s) in her book The Crisis Caravan.  Some of the main ones are the absence of rules, regulation and governance in humanitarian aid.  There is a rather wide and free market type of thinking amongst these organizations where there’s a lot of reliance of personal judgement, which many times is not helpful.

In Chapter 3, she discusses about “My Own NGOs” or MONGOs for short.  The talks about how MONGOS often have lack of knowledge and experience.  Henri Dunant was one of the first people to establish a professional humanitarian aid organization, which is the Red Cross.

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Henri Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross.

“Whoever feels like it can establish an organization and start collecting money”

Though the Red Cross is a large and successful NGO, NGO’s still function in a free market world and Polman argues how that can be very problematic.  One of the issues brought up is how many NGO’s have good intentions but end up being more of an annoyance.  A lot of the supplies brought overseas are full of defective or broken equipment and drugs that are often expired.  Clothes is also another problem as theres many places where a surplus clothes is shipped to that much of the clothes is thrown away.  Shipping is a huge cost and theres a huge inefficiency when a lot of the goods being shipped are completely unusable.

Another example of the consequences of this free market of NGOs is that there are huge and disastrous mistakes that are made by large NGOs.  Such as when the European Commission sent supplies of food that contained radioactive contamination.

“Whenever aid organizations appear, local political, military, and business leaders suddenly start driving around in expensive cars and building splendid houses”

Polman says, “There’s no rules, no limits, and no requirement to have any understanding for the local balance of power or to coordinate with other parties involved.”  This is huge issue as there are many times where NGOs are actually giving money to troops or the government.  Polman recounts the time where she had to pay a fee to enter a warzone.  This is not uncommon as there are many warlords who require a fee or some percentage of the NGOs income to enter the war zone and help aid war victims.

The reason why there is no regulation in war zones is because after wars there is no chance of fair competition as explained by Polman.  It will take years for a peace accords to be written and because there is usually no government in place, there is no regulation leaving the international NGOs (INGO) to be freely controlled by the warlords and commanders that are still in power.

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A photo of Tamil Tiger rebels that Caritas had to pay a large sum of many to in order to provide aid to the victims of the war.

In Northern Sri Lanka, it would have been nearly impossible to provide aid and help with reconstruction if they did not negotiate with the rebels, the Tamil Tigers.  The humanitarian aid organization Caritas had to set up in their territories and paid a large sum of money to the Tigers.  This is problematic as Tigers are seen as a terrorist group by many Western countries.  Caritas justified their negotiations with the Tiger by saying that they were able to aid the people in need even though they are financing the Tigers.

This is an issue between saying no and doing nothing or trying to help but knowing that there is possibly more harm caused.  Polman explicitly states that she does not offer a solution but there needs to be an option to say no.  She wants to make sure that the system itself needs to be criticized and there needs to be some sort of regulation on top of a free market.  There is the question of whether or not the balance of aid is outweighing the negative and harm.  The question of when does humanitarian aid “cease to be ethical.”

NGOs and other aid organizations are often put under a veil of innocences and heroism.  That is why Polman describes them as businesses dressed up as Mother Teresa.  Businesses are seen as independently own and only for profit, which is really apparent in many NGOs and INGOs.  Because they are independently owned and non-government regulated, there is no rules for what they can or cannot do.  The reason they are described as dressing up as “Mother Teresa” is because they are in a disguise of being aid and humanitarian organization.  This means that the media automatically assumes that there are absolutely no flaws in these organizations when in reality there is many flaws that need to be address.

What Polman is calling for is for journalists, the public and governments to not solely rely on the free market world of the NGOs because there needs to be regulation and there needs to be criticism.  There is a huge lack of criticism because of the stereotype that NGOs are 100% dedicating their time for good when they could very well be causing more harm.  Journalists need to report and investigate a lot more on the actions of aid organizations.  The public needs to be able to start an outcry and start a movement if necessary so the government should hopefully create regulations and laws that will indirectly make sure that NGOs (though ironic now) will actually be aiding instead of harming.

 

Post #5 Australia

The environmental movement in Australia began as a conservation movement and was the first in the world to become a political movement.  Australia was home to the world’s first Green party.

The normal and typical environmental movement is represented by a vast array of organizations.  The organizations are sometimes referred to as non-governmental organizations.  These organizations exist on international all the way down to local levels.  Environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO) show many different outlooks and political views and the amount they seek to influence environmental policy in Australia and elsewhere.  The environmental movement today in Australia consists of national and many small local groups with more localized concerns.  There are also 5,000 Landcare groups in six states and two mainland territories.

The normal environmental movement is represented by a wide range of organizations sometimes called non-governmental organizations. These organizations exist on local, national, and international scales. Environmental NGOs vary widely in political views and in the amount they seek to influence environmental policy in Australia and elsewhere. The environmental movement today consists of both large national groups and also many smaller local groups with local concerns. There are also 5,000 Landcare groups in the six states and two mainland territories.

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The Landcare logo and hand sign as demonstrated.  (Source: Landcare Australia)

 

Landcare brings together groups of people who share a common problem and usually live in the same catchment. A catchment is an area that collects and directs water to a common point. By working together in a catchment, land degradation problems can be addressed successfully.

Australia has their own branch of government dedicated to bettering environmental issues called the Department of Environment and Energy.  Their website states that, “The Department designs and implements the Australian Government’s policies and programmes to protect and conserve the environment, water and heritage and promote climate action. The environmental framework is being delivered under four pillars: Clean air, clean land, clean water and national heritage.”

There is also a Australian Human Rights Commission that funded by the government but works independently.  They hope to lead to the promotion of human rights in Australia and hopefully spread internationally as well.

In recent news for the Australian HRC, the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council adopted its annual resolution on “National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.”  Adopted on September 29th, Australia sponsored the resolution and 62 UN members also co-sponsored the resolution as well.

In general, the Human Rights Council resolution aims to provide National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.

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The entrance to the Australian Human Rights Commission Headquarters.  (Source: Australian Human Rights Commission) 

The Australian Human Rights Commission applauds and approves of Australia for sponsoring this resolution annually at the HRC.  The commission also appreciates the continued support for national human rights institutions (NHRIs).  The current Human Rights Council resolution included participation and contribution from the NHRIs to all relevant UN system.  The Commission included their input on issues such as the Status of Women, the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities and the Open-ended Working Group on Aging.

The resolution also paves way for the Merida Declaration and the role of NHRIs in implementing and further pushing for progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The inclusion of national human rights institutions helps bring more voices into power as what Farish Noor calls for in “Beyond Eurocentrism.”  Noor talks about there being a huge vast array of culture and diversities and there needs to be more of an exchange of ideas and thoughts and input.  This is especially important for Australia as they are extremely diverse with many different cultures and being one of the most diverse countries in the world.  The human rights commission in Australia is fighting for everyones voices to be heard and for equality for all voices.  This is what Noor would like to see in the world as well as he states, “There is no reason to believe that one of these perspectives is essentially better or more accurate than the other,” (70).

Human rights and climate change then eventually become overlapping issues and they are issues that usually are not addressed together but definitely have a relationship.  For example, climate change could be a reason that there are more displaced people around the world.  There could potentially be 50 to 200 million people being displaced from their homes and creating more international refugees by the year 2100.

There are many courtires where climate change effects have a huge influence on economic, social and political conflict.  These effects include water scarcity, loss of arable land, extreme weather events, shortened growing seasons, and melting glaciers.

Development is hindered by climate change given that many of the world’s poorest citizens depend directly on the environment for all or part of their daily livelihoods, many international development agencies see climate change and development as linked.

 

The Australian Human Rights Commission website provides a report that details the relationship between human rights and climate change.

 

 

Post #4 Australia

Earth is currently the only planet in existence with life and it has been thriving with life for possibly back to 4 billion years ago.  Unfortunately, the human race has only existed for about 200,000 yrs of that time and within the last few centuries we have managed to put the entire world in peril.  Human activity is really the only reason that global warming, over population, deforestation, pollution and many other environmental problems with the world.  The human race may be the most intelligent species on Earth but it also has managed to be the species that put the world on the brink of destruction.  I personally think that environmental issues should be the world’s top issue right now as that is the definitely the most imminent danger that every living thing is facing right now.  Many nations are only finding solutions for the short-term but this is completely ignoring the longevity the planet that we all live on.  It is very discouraging to see many world leaders (and even a United States presidential candidate) dismiss and completely ignore these extreme danger that the world is in.

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The Climate of Australia (Source: Wikipedia)

Australia faces many environmental problems and climate issues as well as it is not an exception to the contribution to the destruction of the world.  The World Wide Fund (WWF) has listed many of the environmental problems in Australia.  Some of the issues include:

Deforestation is when forests are teared down and cut down to make more land for farming.  When forests are cut, the salinity of the soil can greatly increase. Salinity is the amount of salt in water.  The saline water draining from these certain areas can affect downstream or flow of water down.  There is an estimation that around seven percent of the agricultural area of western Australia is suffering from this problem following deforestation.

A few studies in Australia’s wet tropics show that soils have partially prevented recovery from deforestation. This makes deforestation much more costly.  Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) estimates that land degradation costs about $1 billion annually.
Agriculture clearing and over grazing is clearing activities for agricultural land.  Around 13 percent of Australia’s original vegetation has been removed since European settlement.  Overgrazing is one of the primary causes of problems on biodiversity in Australia. Grazing and other agricultural attempts at improvement have merely changed the vast areas of grasslands and open grassy woodlands. In temperate ecosystems, about 2 precent of the original grasslands only remain.  Moreover, overgrazing promotes desertification and erosion, and is also seen as one cause of the spread of invasive plants.
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Australian grassland (Source: Geoff Park)
Overfishing has decreased part of Australia’s fish population to very record low levels. Two major factors account for this problem are the fact that some areas have low biological productivity , along intensive fishing efforts by commercial and recreational fisheries.  This prevents the fish from reproducing as a normal rate.  In 2005, about 20 percent of species that were observed and assessed in Australian waters were classified as overfished. Species that are currently still subjected to overfishing and are overfished include the southern bluefin tuna; blue warehou; silver trevally; orange roughy; and bigeye tuna in the Pacific and Indian Oceans beyond the Australian Fishing Zone.
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Warm-water fish around Australia are moving southward to colonize the cool, temperate waters other Tasman Sea. (Source: Naharnet)

Illegal fishing is another factor that places further pressure on some species.  Fishes such as the patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean and sharks in northern Australian waters are now potentially endangered.

It is estimated that Australia gains around 20 new pests or diseases each year. Some well-known examples include cane toads, rabbits, willows and, more recently, black striped mussels and red fire ants. Historically, feral cats, foxes and rabbits have been a cause of local extinctions and significant reductions in range for native species through a combination of habitat modification and predation. They are a major ongoing problem.
Of continuing concern for Australia’s is continued population growth along the coastline. The formation of massive metropolitan centers with increasing population density on Australia’s coasts could possibly displace much valuable biodiversity and ‘high-value’ agricultural land.
There are many different organizations that address issues that were mentioned and many others not mentioned.  There are over 60 organizations in Australia that are Australia based and do not include the international.  Today, I will focus one locally based group, the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF).
AEF’s website states that they are “a not-for-profit, membership-based environmental organization having no political affiliation.  [AEF] takes an evidence-based, solution focused approach to environmental issues.”They have recently written an article about International Policy developments.  The discuss how the Obama administration along with others are pushing for less carbon emissions.

There are other groups such as the Australian Conservation Foundation where their goal is for ecological sustainability.

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ACF protesting for their cause.  (Source: ACF)

 

Post #3 Australia

Nationalism is the loyalty and devotion to a nation.  Nationalism is when there is a great sense of pride and exuberance for one’s country and placing the most emphasis on the promotion of its interests and culture.  There is a lack of interest to other nations or supranational groups.  Nationalism has a couple of synonyms, each of which carries its own distinct meaning.  Patriotism is a synonym and is similar as it focuses on the strong feelings for one’s country as well.  However, it does not necessarily always imply a feeling of superiority.

Zakaria talks about nationalism as having potential to being dangerous as the world enters a new age.  Nationalism comes with a sense of superiority and Zakaria argues that this feeling of superiority can lead to violence between two countries or groups.  Zakaria points out how the U.S. has a tendency to see their actions globally as doing service to other countries because a big part of it has to do with the sense of nationalism.  It’s important to note that the United States is not the only country with this recurring theme.

Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia that is celebrated annually on the 26th of January.  This day is the day that the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at New South Wales in 1788.  They raised the Flag of Great Britain by Governer Arthur Phillip.  In many ways, this was marked as the day Australia finally became a nation.  Today, Australia celebrates the diverse society and landscape of the nation and with welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.

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Australia Day parade featuring band players.  (Source: Emaze)

Many Aboriginal Australians and some Australians do not approve of Australia Day because of the negative effect the British settlement on the land has been to the Indigenous people.  Many of those who oppose call the day “Invasion Day” and use the day as a marking of the loss of Indigenous culture.  Australia day is also known as “Survival Day” as the the fact that the Aboriginal people have not been made completely obsolete.

Some would like the day to be completely removed or changed to another date while others would like to rename the day.  The amounts of backlash has brought official celebrations that have been made in Australia day to include more Indigenous people.  Ceremonies such as the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony, which honors the past but celebrates the present.

There are very radical groups in Australia that are as open to the diverse nation and immigration that Australia is trying to embrace.  Reclaim Australia is a radical group that was formed in 2015 that holds street rallies to protest against Islam.  The organization’s objectives include the reclaiming of freedom, the belief in the equality of gender and law and opposition to any association with Islam.  About 2.2% of Australia’s population practices Islam.

The media and press describes the group as far-right.  According to some experts, the movement has always been a loosely structured organizations due to its broad and wide range of support.  The hate group also lacks prominent leaders.

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Reclaim Australia Rally in Martin Place, Sydney in April 2015.  (Source: Wikipedia)

Australia has a increasingly larger problem with economic equality.  According to news.com.au, the gap between rich and poor in Australia is constantly widening.  The top 20% of households receive half of the income.  The bottom 20% only gets 4% of the income.

According to the Guardian, The Australian Council of Social Service reported in 2014 that the wealthiest people in Australia are now making five times as much as the poorest in the country.  The wealthy also have 70 times the assets of those with the lowest income.

Tony Judt explains how many Americans and people in similar economic situations are blind to “an overall increase in aggregate wealth” and it, “camouflages distributive disparities.”  Though Judt is describing the American economy, Australia is facing an economic improvement that is hiding and covering the economic inequalities.  Judt provides evidence of the consequences the UK faced when they did not properly address this social problem, and eventually Australia may reflect that outcome as well if the problem left untreated.

Social demographer mark McCrindle made an analysis of the Australian Bureau and Statistics wealth and income data.  He says that the data shows that Australia the widening income gap means a decrease in middle class and more income inequality.  He also speaks about how there is a wealth gap between generations as well.  Baby Boomers own about 53% of the wealth in Australia while the following generation only has about a quarter of the wealth.

“Our egalitarian society is pretty central to our Australian identity, but it’s under threat, and if the gap continues to widen we will end up with entrenched pockets of have and have-nots..” McCrindle said.

McCrindle showed how the distinctions were very obvious.  The average household income is $107,000 ($80,600 US dollars) while the top two million households earn $260,000 ($196,000 US), which is more than double the average and 12 times more than the bottom 20 percent of households.

“If left unchecked it risks splintering our social fabric.”

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is an organization that’s created to help fight social and economic inequality in Australia.  ACOSS has lead policy development and advocacy within issues such as income support and employment, economics and tax, housing and homelessness, poverty, and inequality.  They are the a prominent group in Australia and are one of several groups that are here to help bring change to the wealth gap in Australia.

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Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS.  (Source: Third Sector)

Post #2 Australia

Australia is a country with no official language, though about 80% of the country speaks English.  In 2011, 76.8% of the country only spoke English at home.  That being said, Australia is a rather diverse country with many different languages spoken along with multiple indigenous languages, though many are endangered.

Although English is not the official language nor does it have an official status in the Australian Constitution, Australian English has become the country’s official de facto official language and is the main language for the majority of Australia’s population.

Australian English stemmed from British English after the Colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788.  By 1820, it was distinct enough to be considered different from British English.  This came from the the early settlers conversing and developing a variety of regional dialects that were mutually intelligible from the British Isles and eventually became Australian English.

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The Australian Gold Rushes in the 1800’s were a significant influences on the development of Australian English.

A significant  of first- and second-generation migrants are bilingual.  It was first believed that there were almost 400 Australian Aboriginal languages at the time of first European contact.  The aboriginal people of Australia is the country’s term for indigenous people.  Today, only about 70 of these languages have survived.  30 of these aboriginal languages are now increasingly becoming obsolete.  There is only about 50,000 people in Australia who speaking an indigenous language as a main language, which is about 0.25% of the population.  Australia has their own special sign language known as Auslan, which about 10,000 deaf people use as their main language.  The Aboriginal languages with the most speakers today are Arrernte, Kala Lagaw Ya, Tiwi, Walmajarri, Warlpiri, and theWestern Desert language.

A recent report has said that the Aboriginal people are increasingly facing pressure to lose their indigenous and cultural values in order to be successful in Australia.  The article by ABC Australia focuses on the Larrakia Nation, which represents the Larrakia people of the Darwin region.  The Larrakia Nation worked with the Universities of Sydney and Tasmania to do an investigation on race relations in the Top End.  The Top End is the northern territory of Australia that in the most northern part of the Northern Territory.  About 500 Aboriginal people living in Darwin, Australia took part in the three-year study that resulted an interim report.  There was a reported large diversity in Aboriginal people that included current university students as well.

“Daily I’m juggling with who I am, how I talk, how I act and look and whatever,” -Anonymous Aboriginal Person

There are a lot of respondents that express their concern over being judge for not being part of the “white Australia” and it’s culture.  They would like to be valued for their freedom in embracing their own culture.  Respondents raised concerns about what is considered valuable in mainstream Australia.

The study showed that more than 50% of the Aboriginal people feel unwanted in Darwin.  Over 90% of Aboriginal people in Darwin felt like they felt constantly judged by stereotypes and felt like they didn’t matter.  The study shows how only 16% of non-Indigenous Australians tried to understand Aboriginal culture.

The report revealed Aboriginal people also found the criminal justice system and Australia’s political system to be deeply racist because neither acknowledged Aboriginal traditions or lore.

Respondents said they hoped non-Aboriginal people might consider spending more time with Aboriginal people and on country in order to try to achieve racial harmony.

Recently, Linda Burney vowed to fight for change.  Burney is the first Aboriginal woman elected to Australia’s lower house of parliament.  She has a goal of bring her culture into the mainstream and further spread the Aboriginal representation.  Burney was elected into parliament in 2003.

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Wiradjuri woman Lynette Riley sang a welcome from the public gallery.  (Source: Reuters)

 

Australia is one of the founding members of the United Nations.  The permanent mission for Australia states, “Australia is firmly committed to effective global cooperation, including through the United Nations (UN), because we live in a complex, inter-connected world where many of the major challenges we face cannot be addressed by countries acting alone.”

Australia has been active in the UN for the last 70 years since its conception and they are the 12th largest contributor to the peacekeeping budgets.  Australia has been significantly involved with world peace and human rights.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop is the representative for Australia at the UN. 

In June 2013, Australia decided to place its first ever bid for election to the Human Rights Council for 2018-2020.  The council is responsible for responding and choosing human rights violations and emergencies.  To become a member, states have to show a high standard in promoting and protecting human rights and receive a majority vote of the General Assembly.

The UN Association of Australia (UNAA)  website states that the areas of interest include:

  1. Gender Equality – a prerequisite for development
  2. Good Governance –essential in promoting a positive human rights environment
  3. Freedom of Expression and Association – a key ingredient for democracy, development and a human rights-orientated society
  4. Transparent working methods for the Human Rights Council – ensuring the Council is impartial, equitable and pragmatic to encourage clarity and predictability

 

 

 

 

 

Post #1 Australia

Australia is a country that is the mainland of the Australian continent and it is currently the world’s 6th largest country by area.  Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with the world’s 12th-largest economy.  Australia has a high ranking in national performance, quality of life, health, education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.  The country is part of the UN, WTO, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, G20, and the Pacific Islands Forum.

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Map of the regions within Australia along with prominent cities. (Source: EDU Consultancy Services)

In most recent Australian news, China hopes to have a fair investment policy in Australia.  Questions arise before their meeting at the G20 summit.  Representatives in China would like for Australia to have a transparent environment for foreign investors.  President Xi Jinping met with the Austrian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, for the first time since Canberra, the capital of Australia, blocked a major deal.  Last year Australia blocked a major deal of selling the country’s biggest energy grid, worth $7.57 billion, to Chinese bidders.  They blocked the deal due not addressing certain security concerns and this action angered China.  This deal caused tensions between Australia and its biggest trading partner.  Prime Minister Turnbull later stated that China is well aware of the fact that Australia has the right to determine who invests in the country and the term in which they invest.

“So we mostly say yes, we almost invariably say yes, but from time to time we say no and we make no bones about that and China respects that.” – Prime Minister Turnbull

Australia, an U.S. ally, has gotten criticism from China for running surveillance flights over islands in the South China China Sea.  Another target of criticism is supporting the United States’ freedom of navigation exercises there.

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Chinese President Xi JinPing meets with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  Both are attending the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. (Source: XinHuaNet)

Chinese President Xi said China and Australia should respect each other’s “choices in their development paths and each other’s core interests and major interests,” the foreign ministry added.  Turnbull also said that he discussed the South China Sea with Xi, along with the terms of the international law.

“We’re a good friend of China and good friends are very honest with each other,” he added.  “We are consistent and our position is very clear that we expect and encourage all parties to comply with the rule of law, to show restraint and not act in a way that would exacerbate or create tensions.”

Both countries could be seeking innovation-driven development and find strategies in cooperation within the two countries.  Turnbull said that Australia enjoyed their traditional friendship with China and their partnership got positive reception in Australia.  Australia is committed to applying the bilateral free trade agreement and would like to deepen its economic ties with China.

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Prime Minister Turnbull in Cairns visitng the innovation hub theSPACE.  (Source: New Corp Australia)

In technological news, Australia would like to promote for more innovations and technological advances within the country.  Unfortunately, the United States’ new visa proposal might make that goal more difficult to ascertain.  The Obama administration has created a new proposal called the “Start-Up Visa” that will allow more foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in the US for up to five years.  The US has a booming tech industry that is very attractive to many people looking to create a start-up company.  Australians generally had relatively easy and simple access to the US with certain visas not offered to other countries.  It is also unlikely that the proposed US start-up visa will result in any more Australians heading to the states than the usual numbers.  Although, it will become a more achievable goal for a couple of other foreign workers.

The new visa was proposed when Australia is trying to increase its $1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda to help promote a start-up culture. Australia’s own version of an “Entrepreneur Visa,” which the government began consulting on in February, is expected to be made available as early as November this year.

The Australian government has also began to introduce the Export Marketing Development Grant.  This grant gives small and medium sized companies reimbursements for up to 50 per cent on their eligible “export promotion expenses”.

Prime Minister Turnbull as invested $28 million from taxes into advertising and in an attempt to spread and encourage many entrepreneurs in hopes of created an “ideas boom” across the country.  This also includes research initiatives, various funding programs and reforming insolvency laws and employee share schemes.  Unfortunately, the efforts for an Entrepreneur Visa like the US has been rather slow.

Many people say that Australia is making substantial improvements for the tech environment and for many young Australian companies.  There is still a problem of welcoming immigration  policy to make the country’s tech industry more prominent globally and attract more attention.