australia

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australia

Taxpayers Slugged $130,000 for Julie Bishop's Koala Diplomacy

PD News

Diplomats with these koalafications don't come cheap. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop could barely contain her glee when she was filmed with the furry foursome of Paddle, Chan, Pelita and Idalia at the launch of Singapore Zoo's new koala exhibit last week. But Australian taxpayers might not be so happy to learn that the diplomatic donation – made to mark 50 years of Australia-Singapore relations – cost them $133,100.

Koalas, Platypuses and Pandas and The Power of Soft Diplomacy

PD News

Four female koalas have just made their debut in front of an adoring public at Singapore Zoo – the latest in a long line of animals used for diplomatic purposes. [...] As Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s media release says, the koalas' visit will “further build on our long-standing constructive relationship”.

Foreign Aid a Soft Target for the Razor Gang

PD News

Overseas aid was cut from $5.03 billion in 2014-15, to $4.05 billion in 2015-16, a reduction of around 20 per cent. Further cuts are scheduled to follow until 2017-18, by which time Australia's aid budget relative to gross national income will have sunk to 0.21 percent, its lowest level since overseas assistance was formalised in the post-war period. It will also be substantially below what Australia's more prosperous OECD partners allocate.

Australian Foreign Aid Cuts Would Hit Indonesia Deepest

PD News

Two weeks after recalling the ambassador from Jakarta in protest at the executions of two Australian drug traffickers, the government announced Tuesday it plans to cut Indonesian aid by 40 percent from 543 million Australian dollars ($428 million) to AU$323 million. Australia wants to cut its aid budget to AU$4.1 billion next year.

Bali Nine Response Must Manage Power Shift in Indonesian Relations

PD News

The executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in the early hours of Wednesday morning present several tricky challenges for relations between Australia and Indonesia. The Australian government immediately announced it would recall its ambassador, Paul Grigson, and suspend ministerial visits. In a rare show of solidarity, the Labor Party and the Greens fully supported this. It is unclear at this stage if other actions might be taken.

Bali 9 Executions: Cold Comfort in Australia-Indonesia Diplomatic Deep Freeze

PD News

Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the brutal state-sanctioned killing of two Australian citizens, the shallowness of any trust between Jakarta and Canberra - between Australians and Indonesians - has been fully exposed.The expected recall of both ambassadors - theirs in direct retaliation to the unprecedented withdrawal of ours already announced - is as inevitable as it is regrettably, largely pointless. Ditto for other gestures of Australian unhappiness in the diplomatic sphere.

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