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Issue #1711      November 18, 2015

Dingo

Army Chief Angus Campbell admitted in a recent interview that Australia will be involved in Iraq “for a little while yet”. Australia has more than 300 regular army troops there, training local forces as well as about 80 commandoes. He said that the mission could evolve as it has in Afghanistan. It’s been 14 years since Australian troops were sent to Afghanistan and in both countries the military intervention had destabilised the whole region. Millions of refugees with nowhere to go, destroyed industries and infrastructure, looted cultural treasures, traumatised populations with no foreseeable future – all this thanks to the illegal wars. It is believed that the number of veterans suiciding in the USA has already exceeded the losses during the armed conflict. Many veterans in Australia cannot get the support they need and have to deal or fail to deal with their own war-induced problems. Now General Campbell states that Australia’s military must be ready to fight large-scale conventional land wars across the world. Last time I had a look at the map I could not see any country that Australia has a land border with. Isn’t it time to learn from deadly mistakes and make sure that Australia is not involved in the military adventures of other countries?

The recent International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne heard gloomy forecasts about the future of mineral commodity prices. According to economist Saul Eslake “Australia needs to broaden and deepen its economic development with Asia if it is to prosper from the next phase of Asian economic and social development. That means we need to increase our exports of agricultural commodities and services as well as maintain or improve our market share in minerals and energy commodities,” he said. The number of Australians employed in the mining sector has fallen by 50,000 since it peaked in 2012. It is estimated that about 230,000 Australians are now employed in the mining industry but it is expected that that number will decline by a further 40,000 in the next two years.

The Victorian government has banned public schools from offering religious instruction during school class time. It is allowed to run classes before or after school or during lunch breaks. A major provider of special religious instruction (SRI) is Access Ministries. Seeing that lucrative business is slipping away, Access Ministries has zoomed into a new market – childcare. Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause will have to compete with another imaginary creature. Access Ministries is planning to expand into childcare centres and kindergartens. Parents can opt their children out of a religious instruction program called “Explore Christianity”. Some parents question the fact that only one religion is taught and prefer their children to be instructed in ethics. Wouldn’t it be a novel approach to start children in science in kindergartens?

Next article – Region Briefs

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