The news from Australia

I spent a few days in Australia earlier this year, and my visit convinced me that in Europe we need to pay more attention to what is going on in that country. Here is a western democracy that has been able to avoid the recession that hit the rest of us, that has continued to enjoy a stable banking system with no inflated property values, that has ambitious plans for higher education expansion and that has a vibrant and growing population. But, I would have added, and apparently very unpopular government then led by Labor leader Kevin Rudd.

However, with a general election approaching and a real possibility of a meltdown in the Labor vote, the party has experienced a stunning coup that seems to have been hatched and completed in only minutes, and today Australia has a new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard (the country’s first woman in that role). It now remains to be seen whether the change of leadership will improve the Labor Party’s electoral prospects.

I shall continue to watch with interest.

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4 Comments on “The news from Australia”

  1. kevin denny Says:

    The fact that they are resource rich makes a big difference. It also helps that the government had the wit to stash money away for a rainy day as opposed to the “When I have it, I spend it” pro-cyclical policy of McCreevy and his successor.
    An important feature of higher education in Australia is that it is an important export sector: there are lots of foreign (mostly Asian) students in their universities and they also run large programs in Hong Kong, Vietnam and other places.
    While Irish universities do a bit of this, we’re not in the same league. Expanding our population of foreign students is potentially lucrative although if it reduces the number of places for Irish students it might be unpopular.

  2. Vincent Says:

    Once they shifted their focus from the UK and the USA to the Far East it was a certainty they would thrive. First it was Japan then Formosa onto Malaysia and Hong Kong. Now with China.

  3. Perry Share Says:

    given the rate at which they have been destroying their natural environment (especially their soil and water resources) you would wonder for how much longer the Australian economy can be sustained

  4. cormac Says:

    Apparently almost the first thing the new PM said was that she would “throw open the door to the mining community”.
    Hmmm. I’m not sure facilitating special interests is a sign of strong leadership. Ironically, Oz is one of the first developed nations to feel the effects of global warming, as they have suffered almost a straight decade of drought seasons in parts of the country

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