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December 14, 2011

Former Australian PM helps to launch \’anti-warmist manual\’

Former Australian PM helps to launch ‘anti-warmist manual’

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Education
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John Howard in Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia in March 2006.
Image: Orangemonkey.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard supported the launch of a new book “How to Get Expelled from School: A Guide to Climate Change for Pupils, Pundits and Parents”, authored by geology professor Ian Plimer. The book includes 101 questions for students to use to challenge their climate science teachers.

The book follows Professor Plimer’s 2009 “Heaven and Earth”. Professor Plimer said the previous book received feedback from parents concerned about education. This prompted him to address the next book to children. He said, “After Heaven and Earth came out I had many parents write to me and say, ‘Look, what do we do, our kids are being fed activism. I want my children to have the basics of scientists, I don’t want to be fed activism'”.

Mr Howard advocated emissions trading in 2007. He says he considered it feasible if the rest of the world acted too, otherwise to introduce carbon trading plans would risk Australian industries. “I proposed an emissions trading scheme and some people say, ‘Well why on earth did you do that?’ [It was] predicated on the rest of the world moving in the same direction and also predicated on a structure that would preserve the international competitiveness of those industries that gave our country a competitive trade advantage, it could do no harm”, he explained. “[It’s] hard to understand how we would do anything to put” Australia’s competitive advantage due to natural resources “at risk. The reality is we are doing that at the moment. The carbon tax is not being replicated in other countries.”

Professor Ian Enting, complex system scientist at the University of Melbourne, said the book includes scientific errors and insufficient references. Margaret Watts, president of the Science Teachers’ Association of New South Wales, said the educational bias claim is mistaken. “What science teachers do”, she said, “is put all of the facts, pro and con, against any topic, whatever it is, and show the children how to work through the evidence”.

Professor Plimer said of the 101 questions in his book, “They’re questions that kids should be asking of teachers, because if the teacher can answer it means they might know something about the subject. If they can’t, or start to promote ideology, it shows that our schools have been captured. Parents are telling me that schools have been captured by a lot of activists and kids are being fed stuff that is not relevant to the real world.”



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January 26, 2008

Australia to withdraw troops from Iraq this year

Australia to withdraw troops from Iraq this year

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stephen Smith, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Australia will press on with plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq in June this year, although promises were made by the nation’s foreign minister that relations with the United States will not be affected by the move.

Foreign minister Stephen Smith said that the withdrawal will be conducted in an orderly fashion to minimise inconvenience to other nations in Iraq. Speaking in New York as part of his first US visit since the election he said “We want to do that in a way which sees minimal disruption, which causes the least inconvenience to our allies there, both the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Australia currently has 550 troops in the country.

On Monday Smith will meet with Condoleezza Rice and others to discuss Afghanistan, where Australia also has troops stationed. It is currently the intention for this to remain the case.

Smith said of the effect on relations with the US – which have been strong since World War II – “It’s not something which I believe will disturb what to date has been a very good working relationship between the new government and the (U.S.) administration. It’s a very strong alliance – an alliance which transcends changes in governments. Administrations come and go, governments come and go, but the alliance is a long-term, enduring fundamental relationship between our two nations.”

The confirmation is important as Australia saw a new government elected in November. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Labour) defeated Conservative head and former PM John Howard. Howard is a supporter of US President George W. Bush and his government.



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November 4, 2007

Australia Votes 2007: Labor plan for home buyers

Australia Votes 2007: Labor plan for home buyers

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Leader of the Opposition has promised a special home buyers’ bank account with tax concessions if Labor is elected on November 24.

Mr Rudd says AU$64,000 could be saved by a couple on the average wage over five years. The plan would cost the Government $600 million dollars.

The Housing Industry Association has welcomed the announcement but says it would be a start and would “avoid a stampede of first home buyers into the market.”

Prime Minister John Howard is bracing himself for a possible Wednesday interest rate rise which may decide the election. Howard has defended the rumours, saying that some rise would be ‘unavoidable’.

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Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Election 2007
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October 14, 2007

Australian Prime Minister calls federal election

Filed under: Archived,Australia,John Howard,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian Prime Minister calls federal election

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

John Howard in May 2006.

The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard has announced that the Australian federal election will be held on November 24, 2007. Howard visited the Governor General of Australia Michael Jeffries earlier today and then announced the news.

Mr Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia for over ten years now, said that the country’s “best years lie ahead”, but only if the “right leadership” team is in power.

“Is it a Government that has a proven track record in those areas? Or is it an inexperienced group of men and women, 70 per cent of whom are former trade union officials?”, Mr Howard said. “The right leadership has the experience to further expand the prosperity of the Australian economy.”

“I believe very passionately that this country’s best years can lie ahead of us in the years immediately ahead,” he said. “In order for that to happen this country does not need new leadership, it does not need old leadership, it needs the right leadership.”

Mr Howard also stated that if his party, the Liberal Party is elected into government yet again, Peter Costello will hold the place of Treasurer of Australia and Alexander Downer will take the seat of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The Prime Minister announced that the writs will be issued on October 17. Consequently, following recent changes to the electoral act, Australians have until that date to ensure that they are on the electoral rolls and are able to have their vote. Voting is compulsory in Australian Federal elections.



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February 15, 2007

Australian PM visits New Zealand

Australian PM visits New Zealand – Wikinews, the free news source

Australian PM visits New Zealand

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia.

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The Australian Prime Minister (PM), John Howard has arrived in New Zealand today for various duties.

While in New Zealand Mr Howard will talk to the New Zealand PM, Helen Clark; participate in a joint New Zealand and Australian CEO conference at Wellington’s Victoria University; open the new high commission for Australia in Thorndon; lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior; and talk to the leader of New Zealand’s opposition party, National, John Key.

Ms Clark has said that their talks will cover various topics, including trade, global warming, problems in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and the settling of Tonga, and about New Zealand’s apples continuing to be banned in Australia. They will also talk about other regional, and international topics. Keith Locke, Green party member, is urging that Ms Clark talks to Mr Howard about sensitive issues, including urging Australia to withdraw from Iraq, release David Hicks from Guantanamo Bay, and Australia not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Howard said, “We remain quite concerned about Fiji and will compare notes and talk about that as well as other bilateral issues.”

Mr Howard said that the relationship between himself and Ms Clark are good. “We put aside any ideological differences we might have and we focus very much on getting good results.” He also said that the relationship between Australia and New Zealand “…has got a lot of history, it has got a lot of common culture, it has got a lot of common sporting endeavour. But, like all close relationships, if you take them for granted they tend to fray at the edges over time.”

Mr Howard will return to Australia on Friday.

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February 12, 2007

Australian Prime Minister targets Obama on Iraq

Australian Prime Minister targets Obama on Iraq

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Australian PM, John Howard

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has attacked US presidential candidate Barack Obama on his pledge to introduce a bill that would withdraw American troops from Iraq by March 2008.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Howard said the move would hand victory to insurgents in Iraq. “I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory,” Mr Howard said.

Cquote1.svg If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats. Cquote2.svg

—John Howard, Australia Prime Minister

“If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats.”

Mr Obama dismissed Howard’s comments as “empty rhetoric”, unless he was to send another 20,000 Australians to fight in Iraq. “So, if he’s (inaudible) if to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq. I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now, and my understanding is that Mr Howard has deployed 1,400”, said Mr Obama.

The Australian government said its contribution to the war in Iraq was appropriate given Australia’s population and military size and that Obama’s response failed to address the “substance of the issue”. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said 20,000 troops would be “half of our army”.

Mr Howard, considered a close ally of the United States government, has faced attacks and support from US politicians.

US Presidential contender, Barack Obama

Democrat Terry McAuliffe said “Firstly, the Prime Minister has been a great friend of George Bush’s. He has been with him lock-step from day one on this war in Iraq.”

Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter said Howard had earned a right to comment about Obama’s policy “I think the Aussies have earned a right to comment on the world stage about their partner in this endeavour, because they’ve been fighting side-by-side with us in Iraq,” said Hunter.

“And so I think that John Howard, while it wasn’t a very complimentary statement, he is basically stating the truth and that is that what we say on the Senate floor on or the House floor goes to a world audience.”

“And it has an impact on not only our allies, but also our adversaries.”

Roy Ryden, another US Democrat said Mr Howard’s comment was “bizarre” and accused the Prime minister of interfering with US politics “The most charitable thing you can say about Mr Howard’s comment is bizarre. You know, we’ll make our own judgements in this country with respect to elections and Barack Obama is a terrific public servant.”

Mr Howard has drawn criticism from some conservative Republicans with John Cornyn saying Howard should stay out of US domestic politics.

The Australian Prime Minster further defended his statement today, claiming Obama’s plan threatened Australia’s national security.

“If the United States were to withdraw her combat units from Iraq by the early part of next year it could only be represented as a defeat for the United States in Iraq,” he said.

“I hold the strongest possible view that it is contrary to the security interests of this country for America to be defeated in Iraq.”

Australia’s strong links to the United States and its support for the U.S.-led war on Iraq were key issues for Howard’s fourth straight election win in late 2004. The Australian opposition has used the comments as an opportunity to attack the government. Opposition leader Kevin Rudd said Howard needed to avoid taking sides in American politics as it was important for the Australia-U.S. alliance that leaders could deal with each other despite their political affiliations.

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August 21, 2006

Australia to detain Burmese boatpeople on Nauru

Australia to detain Burmese boatpeople on Nauru

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Location of remote island of Nauru, where Australia is sending 8 Burmese refugees

Eight Burmese boat people, who arrived off Western Australia’s Ashmore Reef last week, say they wish to claim refugee status. The group of 8 men, aged between 24 and 40, are being held in detention on Christmas Island by the Australian Federal Government. They will be sent to Nauru after identity interviews and medical checks are completed.

According to The Age newspaper, the men are from a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border, and may be from the Karen tribe, who are battling Burma’s brutal military Government. Karen rebels have been at war with the central Government for 57 years.

An Immigration department spokesman confirmed that the eight men claimed to be from Burma. Two of the men have contacted immigration lawyers, seeking assistance with asylum claims. David Manne, from Melbourne-based Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, said the other six were likely to do the same. “There’s a very strong likelihood that they are genuine refugees,” he said.

The men were first spotted by the Australian Customs Service at Ashmore Reef, 610km north of Broome, WA on August 13. They were sent by Navy vessel to Christmas Island – 2,400 km northwest of Perth, WA. The men have been held since Friday as part of the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution to keep asylum seekers out of the country.

In 2005, the Department of Immigration began construction of an Immigration Reception and Processing Centre on Christmas Island, due for completion late in 2006. The facility is estimated to cost $210 million, and will contain 800 beds.

No Legal Recourse for Burmese

The news of the boat people’s arrival became public last week as Prime Minister John Howard scrapped controversial new migration laws. The proposed laws would have excised the Australian mainland for immigration purposes.

Burma

Ashmore Reef, already excised from Australia’s migration zone, means the men have no legal entitlement to be brought to Australia for processing. They have no access to the Australian court system to argue their claims or contest the rulings of the Immigration Department.

Mr Manne said he was concerned that the circumstances of the men’s confinement could hamper their attempts to communicate with lawyers. He said the Burmese men should be afforded the same rights as the West Papuans or Vietnamese asylum-seekers who recently made it to Australian shores. “It’s absolutely crucial these people be given a fair go, so that they can actually speak with us properly about the issues,” he said. Mr Manne says he has made several requests of the Department of Immigration in Canberra.

“They’re asylum seekers… they believe that they’d be persecuted if sent to Burma, and we have agreed to act on their behalf.” He was unable to say whether the group was dropped off by people smugglers, as Immigration Minister Senator Amanda Vanstone claims.

“What we do know is they’re seeking refugee status, that is, protection from brutal human rights abuse,” he said. The Burmese regime has recently waged an aggressive attack on Karen insurgents – forcing thousands of villagers to hide in the jungle or seek refuge in Thailand. There are 140,000 refugees in seven camps along the Thai-Burma border.

Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says the government must allow the Burmese group to be brought to Australia to process the asylum-seeker’s claims. “The government needs to ensure that all asylum seekers are offered legal support,” she said. “The best way to ensure the Burmese asylum seekers have full access to their lawyer is to bring them to Australia while their asylum claims are assessed.”

Nauru

File:Nauru-airphoto.jpg
Nauru

Meanwhile the near-bankrupt Nauru Government has urged Australia to “speed up asylum seeker processing” in their country. Nauru says Australia is taking far too long to process asylum seekers. Currently two refugees remain on Nauru – both Iraqi men. The men have been held in detention on the remote tiny island for five years.

According to The Age, the Nauru Government has approved a plan to impose financial penalties on Australia if asylum seekers are forced to languish on the near-bankrupt island. The report says if they have not been processed and either returned or resettled within three months, their visas will have to be renewed each month, with the cost increasing by $500 for each renewal.

Nauru’s Foreign Minister David Adeang raised serious concerns about the mental state of the detainees. He says Muhammad Faisal’s condition worsened sharply after he was re-interviewed by ASIO. Mr Adeang has asked for the Government to evacuate the Mr Faisal immediately, he says he is also concerned about the mental health of the other Iraqi man left on Nauru. The Australian Government claims advice from ASIO that the man may be a “security threat.”

Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, covering just 21 km². Since 2001 it has accepted aid from the Australian government. In exchange for this aid, Nauru houses an ‘offshore’ detention centre for Australia.

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June 21, 2006

Australia\’s Old Parliament House becomes heritage listed

Australia’s Old Parliament House becomes heritage listed

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Old Parliament House – now protected under federal heritage laws

Australian Prime Minister John Howard announced on Tuesday that Old Parliament House in Canberra has been heritage listed. It is the 31st entry on the National Heritage List.

The listing acknowledges the role the building has in shaping Australia’s culture and protects it from being modified in any way which could affect its historic value.

Old Parliament House served as the home of Australia’s parliament from 1927 until 1988, when it was relocated to the present parliament house. From 1901-1927, parliament met in Melbourne in the Victorian Parliament House (the state parliament was relocated for 26 years). Before being known as Old Parliament House, the building was known as Provisional Parliament House – as it was intended to be used for 50 years before a permanent building could be built.

In the 61 years the building was used as the seat of parliament, the government changed only seven times, and several new political parties were formed (the Liberals, Anti-Communist Labor Party, and the Australian Democrats).

Mr Howard said the building played an important part in Australia’s political history. “Old Parliament House will always be an important part of our political history with its rich collection of original furniture, art and memorabilia helping to illustrate the story of Australia’s political customs and functions,” he said.

According to Mr Howard, the National Heritage List lists sites which have helped shape the country. “The National Heritage List contains places that have played an important role in the development of our nation, such as Captain Cook’s landing place in New South Wales, Port Arthur in Tasmania and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra,” said the Prime Minister.

The building currently houses Australia’s National Portrait Gallery, and serves as a venue for receptions and exhbitions.

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June 15, 2006

Australian PM should convert to Islam: Bashir

Australian PM should convert to Islam: Bashir

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Location map of Indonesia’s Central Java province

Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant islamic organisation gave an address on return to his school in Surakarta in Central Java where he urged Australian Prime Minister John Howard to convert to Islam.

Speaking outside his school (considered by many to be a terrorism finishing school), before thousands of students and onlookers, Bashir said “If John Howard wants to be safe and avoid going to hell, I suggest he convert to Islam.”

Mr Bashir also urged Mr Howard, the United States and other “infidels” not to fight the Muslim world. “Maybe with God’s permission they can kill us, but they certainly can’t beat Islam,” said Mr Bashir.

The Islamic cleric denied having links to JI or any other terrorist organisation saying that Western media had been “twisting his beliefs”. He dismissed claims by the US and Australia that he is the spiritual leader of JI.

Mr Bashir said that the Islamic militants involved in the 2002 Bali Bombing has taken the wrong path, but stopped short of condemning their actions. “Their wrong step was to use a bomb as a weapon in a safe area,” he said.

“Bombs are only to be used in conflict areas.”

“In safe areas just preach, and we don’t need bombs like that.”

Related Wikinews

Alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah freed from prison” — Wikinews, June 14, 2006

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June 5, 2006

Australian charities slam new welfare rules

Australian charities slam new welfare rules

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Monday, June 5, 2006

LocationAustralia.png

Australia’s biggest charity organisations are refusing to cooperate with the Howard government’s welfare reform rules. The federal government expects about 18,000 people a year will lose their payments for eight weeks when the new welfare-to-work regime comes into force on July 1.

Only 23 organisations have signed up to a government registry to “financially case manage” the most vulnerable unemployed, who will be left without income under tougher rules. The Brotherhood of St Laurence has told Fairfax newspapers it will not participate because it believes the welfare shake-up is unjust.

About 18,000 people a year, according to the Government, are expected to lose their benefit for infringements of job search rules. Those with dependants, and those deemed “exceptionally vulnerable,” will be eligible for case management by a charity on the government register.

But the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the St Vincent de Paul Society have refused to register. The moral dilemma of whether to become an agent for a policy some believe is “unjust” may be contemplated by the Salvation Army, and others.

Charities will be paid $650 to manage each eligible unemployed person it assigns them, the Government has said. It wants charities to assess a person’s “essential” expenses and notify Centrelink, which would then decide whether or not to pay the bills.

Director of UnitingCare Australia Lin Hatfield Dodds said she did not expect many of the 400 agencies in her network to sign up to be case managers. Mission Australia has also not registered. Sue Leppert, executive director of Anglicare Australia, said many of her member agencies would definitely not register and others were grappling with the issue.

Many Australian charities strongly oppose the policy of stripping all income from unemployed people for infringements. There is much concern that sole parents and many disabled people will be diverted from specific pensions to the Newstart Allowance. They will then be subject to stringent job search rules, potential infringements and harsh penalties.

Charities also have been alarmed that under the new policy, people can immediately lose their payment for eight weeks if they refuse a job offer, are dismissed for misconduct, or are voluntarily unemployed.

The executive director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence Tony Nicholson said the policy was unjust. “First they suffer an eight-week suspension of payment, and to add insult to injury they have to justify to some case manager their expenditure on their meagre income.”

Sole parents whose youngest child has turned six, and disabled people who are assessed as capable of working 15 hours per week, will no longer be granted a pension under the Welfare to Work plan.

At the launch of a nation-wide advertising campaign for the government reform, Minister for Human Services Joe Hockey said: “the advertising campaign is part of an education process designed to encourage more people on income support to move into work.” “The Howard Government is investing $3.7 billion to deliver greater employment services and other assistance, including rehabilitation, to those people required to look for work,” said Minister Hockey.

A spokesman for the Minister said the Government was trying to ensure “rents will be paid and kids won’t get tossed out of home” if parents failed to meet their job search obligations.

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