Australia and a US–China Trade War

Australia and a US–China Trade WarIt’s time for Australia to get ready for a trade war between the United States and China. Our security alliance partner looks set to pick a fight with our biggest customer. And all this on the back of the US abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a rules-setting trade deal in which Australia was heavily invested.…

Economic Outlook 2017: Australia

Economic Outlook 2017: AustraliaThe year 2016 was one of red flags for the Australian economy. The mining industry boom is long past and Australia has been struggling to rebalance and attract investment into new industries. After 25 years of growth, the so-called Lucky Country recorded a 0.5% year-on-year contraction in gross domestic product in 2016’s third quarter, illustrating…

Asia in 2016: Australia

Asia in 2016: AustraliaAfter a decade of political instability in Australia – the prime-ministership has changed hands five times since 2007 – last year might have brought a dose of normality to the country’s national affairs. Instead, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull fought a close election that was marked by a surge of right-wing populism that saw stridently anti-immigrant…

Australia Foreign Debt Reaches Crisis Proportions

Australia Foreign Debt Reaches Crisis ProportionsAustralia’s net foreign debt has just passed the A$1 trillion mark, roughly 60 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Alarm bells should be ringing somewhere, but somehow the “lucky country” continues to be seen by foreign investors as a safe location. Australia may have good government but the numbers make the problems of East…

A New Global ‘Patrimonial’ Art Emerges

A New Global ‘Patrimonial’ Art EmergesToday’s art world is a well-mapped-out universe consisting of a few thousand leading galleries, museums, a few hundred influential curators and art fair organizers, writers and critics, wealthy collectors and institutions, and of course, the artists themselves. It is a US$64 billion-a-year industry in which sadly today’s definition of good art is its saleability and…

Economic Gloom for Australia?

Economic Gloom for Australia?On many levels, Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in. With over 750,000 people unemployed and rising, a potential bout of inflation through the depreciating Australian dollar and a tax increase inevitable later this year, this should be of major concern to many people. On the positive side,…

China Games the Iron Ore Market

China Games the Iron Ore MarketRecent gyrations in the price of iron ore, Australia’s biggest income earner, appear to be inexplicable. However, the fall in ore prices means the government could lose as much as A$25 billion in royalties over the next four years. Treasurer Joe Hockey has resisted media calls for a government inquiry into the workings of the…

Australia ‘Gags’ a Massive Banknote Scandal

Australia ‘Gags’ a Massive Banknote ScandalThe Australian government has issued an unprecedented blanket gag order prohibiting anyone in Australia from reporting the names of the current or past leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia or Vietnam “or their relatives and other senior officials” in connection with a multimillion dollar bribery case apparently involving contracts for bank notes in each of the countries.…

Australia’s Abbott Turns Chainsaws Loose on Tasmania

Australia’s Abbott Turns Chainsaws Loose on TasmaniaAustralia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott set the cat among the pigeons -- or the chainsaw among the trees – on March 4 when, speaking at a forestry industry dinner, he said Australia had “too much” protected forest. Abbott called foresters the “ultimate conservationists” and suggested 74,000 hectares of protected forest in Tasmania be unlocked for…

Natural Building: Community Game Changer

Natural Building: Community Game ChangerEven though many buildings constructed of natural materials, particularly earth, have stood the test of time, the use of these materials almost completely disappeared during the 20th Century. This occurred due to the development of commercial building materials and labor saving methods which took on status and prestige connotations, even in Asia and Africa. The…