Australasia

How China diverts, then spies on Australia’s internet traffic

Internet traffic heading to Australia was diverted via mainland China over a six-day period last year, in what some experts believe may have enabled a targeted data theft. Nick McKenzie, Angus Grigg & Chris Uhlmann The Canberra Times The diverted traffic from Europe and North America was logged as a routing error by the state-owned China Telecom, according to data released for the first time by researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Naval War College in the US. “We ... Read More »

‘Enough, enough, enough’: Scott Morrison says he will cut Australia’s migration intake

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will cut the number of migrants coming to Australia, declaring the “roads are clogged” and buses, trains and schools in Sydney and Melbourne “are full”. Bevan Shields The Age In a dramatic shift in rhetoric as cabinet plots a new population policy, the Prime Minister predicted the impending changes would lower the annual immigration target from its cap of 190,000. “Population growth has played a key role in our economic success. But I also know Australians ... Read More »

The royal commission is about to grill the chiefs of the big four banks. Here’s why soon they mightn’t exist

It will be worth watching the final round of hearings at the banking royal commission, which begin on Monday. Pat McConnell The Conversation The chief executives of each of the big four will be recalled for reexaminations. It might be the final time they appear in the same room. It might even be the last time there’s even such a thing as the big four. Not only are the so-called four pillars under attack from the Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, but ... Read More »

Fairfax-Ipsos poll: Australians split on Muslim migration ahead of new population policy

Australian voters are split on whether to cut the number of migrants coming from Muslim countries, as the Morrison government considers an overhaul of immigration and population rules within weeks. David Crowe The Sydney Morning Herald A special Fairfax-Ipsos survey finds only 14 per cent of voters support an increase in the number of immigrants from Muslim countries while 35 per cent believe the intake should stay the same. But another 46 per cent believe the intake should be reduced ... Read More »

UK’s chemical Catch-22

The EU sets the global standard for chemicals, so Britain can’t stray too far after Brexit — and it won’t have a say. Ginger Hervey Politico urope sets the world standard when it comes to chemical safety — unfortunately for the United Kingdom. The U.K. has been a consistent voice of caution in discussions on whether to restrict use of harmful chemicals in the EU — frequently taking the industry’s side in fights about whether to add more regulations. When ... Read More »

Tony Abbott rejects warnings, urges Scott Morrison to move Israel embassy

Tony Abbott has urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to proceed with a controversial shift in policy on Israel despite a warning from Malaysia that the move could fuel terrorism and concerns from Indonesia over a… David Crowe The Canberra Times Mr Abbott said the “rhetorical backlash” from Muslim countries in Asia was always going to happen but that this should not stop Australia showing its support for Israel by moving the Australian embassy from Tel… The comments are another strong ... Read More »

Detained and in danger: The tortured Australian families who fear for their missing loved ones

Increasingly helpless and desperate, Uighurs building new lives in Australian suburbs feel compelled to go public with their stories and identities despite the risks. Fergus Hunter The Age The security agents came for Adeham Abliz late on a Thursday night. That day, September 8, 2016, had been much like any other in the 59-year-old Uighur man’s life in the city of Ghulja in north-western China. Abliz, a shopkeeper, had performed his five daily prayers, starting with fajr at dawn through ... Read More »

Julian Assange latest: ‘Secret charges against Wikileaks founder revealed in cut-and-paste blunder’

Secret criminal charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may have been accidentally revealed in a “cut and paste error” by US prosecutors. Tristan Kirk Evening Standard Mr Assange is wanted in America over the leak of classified military documents in 2010, but has spent more than six years living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden, but insisted that he could not face the claims as he then be would be extradited to the ... Read More »

IT contractors shown the door en masse at Home Affairs

Hundreds of IT contractors were shown the door at the Department of Home Affairs in Canberra this week due to budget pressures, with industry experts fearing a flood of workers will push down incomes across the sector. Sally Whyte The Canberra Times It’s understood that anywhere between 170 and 300 contractors, working on various information technology contracts across the department, were told this week that they were no longer required, with their work to be finishing up in the next ... Read More »

Mike Pence announces US-Australia military pact to expand Manus Island naval base

United States Vice-President Mike Pence has declared his nation will partner with Australia and Papua New Guinea to boost operations at a Manus Island naval base amid rising tensions over China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Nicole Hasham WAtoday The federal government had been working with PNG to develop the strategically important base at Lombrum, announcing in September a $5 million contract to upgrade wharf and shore-based infrastructure. Mr Pence told a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in ... Read More »

‘A disaster’: Forest deals reignite tension between loggers and conservationists

Dejan Stojanovic was aghast. The biologist had pulled to the side of a remote dirt road in southern Tasmania, expecting to find the stately blue gum forest he’d frequented for years. Nicole Hasham The Age He had come in search of the rare swift parrot, known to nest in the nooks of old local trees. But the bulldozers had got there first. Only disfigured brown earth remained. “I was enraged,” Stojanovic says, recalling the day in November last year. “This ... Read More »

Wayne Johnston got lost in The Odyssey: 12-hour reading offers your chance

Actress Kate Kendall is among the high-profile Melburnians taking part in a 12-hour reading of Homer’s classic. John Bailey The Sydney Morning Herald Carlton football legend Wayne “The Dominator” Johnston would rather read the form guide than The Odyssey, but actor Kate Kendall noticed some similarities between her footy veteran husband and the leading man of Homer’s classic. Both are orphans. Both have lost a son. And while the footy field is far from the battleground, it left Johnston with enough ... Read More »

Wesfarmers, Coles bosses throw support behind immigration

As the debate over the immigration rate rages, the managing directors of two of Australia’s biggest companies have voiced their support for migrants. Hamish Hastie WAtoday Speaking after the Wesfarmers AGM in Perth on Thursday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott and Coles managing director Steve Cain both said immigration played an important role in economic growth. In 2017-18 162,417 migrants were welcomed under the Australian immigration program, well below the government ceiling of 190,000 and more than 20,000 fewer than the 183,608 ... Read More »

Seafood industry calls for Senate inquiry into seismic testing

Members of the Australian seafood industry are persisting in their calls for an inquiry into seismic testing, despite the Senate having twice rejected the idea. ABC West Coast SA By Samantha Jonscher Seismic surveys, which are used to search for undersea oil and gas deposits, involve firing intense soundwaves into the ocean floor, which fishers worry could disrupt the behaviour of marine life. Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association President Brian Jeffriess said not enough is known about the impacts of ... Read More »

‘Policy made on the run does not have a good track record’, says the brain behind Grattan

Governments aren’t doing the research needed to underpin rigorous policy development, worries Grattan Institute CEO John Daley. He spoke to The Mandarin about selling reform, what’s driving populism and the big policy priorities for the next few years. David Donaldson The Mandarin John Daley is a patient man. As head of what is probably Australia’s most highly respected thinktank, he needs to be. “It is one of the things I’ve learned in this role over 10 years, that you have to be ... Read More »

Friday essay: turning up the level of civilisation

In October 2005 Stephen Colbert was just starting his eponymous show. It is somewhat chilling to realise that this was when he came up with the word truthiness: it seems so now. Julianne Schultz The Conversation It has taken a while to reach maturity and morphed into the even more menacing trumpiness. Truthiness captures the slippery world inhabited by those unencumbered by books, or facts, context or complexity – for those who just know with their heart rather than their ... Read More »