Australia

Making our way in the world through Australian diplomacy

Four years from now, we should celebrate our debut on the world diplomatic stage, 100 years after Prime Minister Billy Hughes, deputy Prime Minister Joseph Cook and attorney-general Robert Garran represented Australia at the Paris Peace Conference at Versailles during the first half of 1919.

It's time for a stocktake of Australia's diplomatic interests, capabilities and strategies.

Balibo widow angry over implicated Indonesian spy chief

Almost 40 years since the killing of the five journalists in Timor-Leste, Shirley Shackleton fears the appointment of retired lieutenant-general Sutiyoso has dashed hopes of her husband's remains ever being returned.

The 70-year-old Sutiyoso, who President Joko Widodo named in June as the new chief of the Indonesian Intelligence Agency (BIN), was an army captain in charge of a special forces unit in East Timor when the newsmen were killed on October 16, 1975.

Tony Abbott rules out same-sex marriage vote on election day

After a special Coalition party-room meeting on Tuesday rejected proposals to give members a free vote on the issue, the prime minister pledged to take it to the people, through a plebiscite or referendum.

On Sunday, he ruled out holding a public poll at the same time as the federal election.

Asylum seekers: Andrew Wilkie takes Australia to international criminal court

The independent Tasmanian MP has sent the application, naming the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and his 19-member cabinet, including the immigration minister, Scott Morrison.

“In my application I have particularly named crimes against humanity, such as the forced relocation of people, obviously to the Republic of Nauru or Papua New Guinea,” Wilkie said.

He also claims that the government’s hardline immigration policies contravene the Refugee Convention, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Canberra to host 2016 Oceania Judo Championships

The event, scheduled for April 8 to 10 next year, will see the continent’s top judokas battle it out for medals and will be followed by a week-long training camp from April 11 to 17.

Australia were the dominant nation at this year’s Oceania Judo Championships, winning eight of 10 gold medals available in the junior and cadet competitions on the opening day at the Arena de Paita in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

Australia criticized over greenhouse-gas reduction target

Lawmakers in Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative government on Tuesday agreed on a target of curbing carbon gas emissions to at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The target could go as high as 28 percent, Abbott said.

Australian in custody in Fiji after being found in possession of 50kg of cocaine

The statement released by Fiji police's chief of investigations and intelligence, Henry Brown, said two men, an Australian and a Fijian, were apprehended near the Vuda Point Marina in Lautoka on Monday with parcels of the drug found in their vehicle.

Australia must take money laundering seriously – Polye

Polye says the Australian Federal Police must conduct its own investigations into this revelation caught on record.

“Australia has a duty to protect its citizen and it must be concerned about such reports claiming lawyers in Australia to be associated in money laundering in PNG,” he says.

He has also called on the PNG Law society to investigate Young & Williams Lawyers owned by Harvey Maladina and Greg Sheppard.

Polye says he spoke about money laundering before and that people should not be surprised to hear this.

Australia keen to be a permanent fixture at the Pacific Games

Along with New Zealand, Australia accepted an invitation to enter teams in taekwondo, weightlifting, sailing and rugby sevens in this year's event in Port Moresby.

A proposal to include the Trans-Tasman rivals in all 28 sports was voted down by members of the Pacific Games Council two years ago.

The 2015 Games in PNG are viewed as the first step towards a full regional championship, akin to the Asian and European Games.

Australia Chef de Mission Malcolm Page can see the logic.