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Australia

Yearbook 1999

Australia. In Queensland, five of the dissatisfaction party left One Nation's state parliamentarians party in February, and even more threatened to step down. In connection with this, party leader Pauline Hanson was forced to step down, but she was re-elected to her post later that month.

According to Countryaah official website, the state election in New South Wales on March 27 was a success for the Social Democratic Australian Labor Party (ALP), which increased its majority by 17 seats. One of the most important election concerns was the possible privatization of the state's electricity system, something that the ALP opposed.

1999 AustraliaAt the federal level, a 10 percent tax on goods and services was approved in June. The new VAT is part of the Conservative government's policy of reducing income taxes.

In August, Prime Minister John Howard and Parliament made an apology to the Aboriginal people for the abuses it has suffered in previous generations. He was criticized by some Aboriginal leaders for avoiding saying the word "sorry".

The state election in Victoria on September 18 became a setback for the Liberal Party/National Party, which, however, received a mandate more than the ALP.

In a referendum on November 7, Australians had to decide whether they wanted to maintain the monarchy or establish a republic, with a president to be appointed by Parliament. The opinion polls that preceded the election had hinted that there was a clear majority for the republic, but 55% voted to keep the ties to the British krona. The election result was interpreted as many Australians opposed the system of indirect presidential elections. Prime Minister Howard advocated monarchy, but the government was strongly divided on the issue. The largest opposition party, the ALP, promised a new referendum if they won the parliamentary elections in 2001.

Australia led the UN force sent to East Timor in September, and by the end of the year, Prime Minister Howard promised that the country would continue to play a pivotal role when the UN took over command in early 2000.

1999 Australia

Continued oppression of indigenous people

Although the situation of the indigenous people is difficult throughout Australia, living conditions vary widely from state to state. In the Northern Territory there exist, for example. a relatively advanced legislation which respects the rights of indigenous peoples. In Tasmania, the authorities are also embarking on initiatives to protect indigenous peoples' rights and to combat discrimination more resolutely. But indigenous people continue to be second-class citizens in their own country. According to national and international human rights organizations, an average of 2 prisoners of indigenous people per month died in 1987. The population composition corresponded to the fact that during the same period 100 prisoners of European background died monthly. In 1981, there were 775 prisoners for every 100,000 residents of the indigenous population, while the figure for Australians with a European background was 67. In Queensland, the indigenous people make up 2% of the residents, but 35% of the inmates in the prisons. In Western Australia, they also make up 2% of the population but 44% of inmates. 

Under these circumstances, the federal government set up a commission to investigate the deaths of Aboriginal inmates. After several years of work and investigations, the Commission presented a preliminary report that was not clearly able to identify the real causes of deaths or identify those responsible. The report was criticized by advocates from various indigenous groups, who characterized it as a "joke" to the entire population.

Also in the health field, the indigenous people are disadvantaged than the rest of the population. It is plagued by diseases that are largely eradicated among Australians of European descent and against which there are complete opportunities for protection.

Crisis Policy

Australia is fully in line with New Zealand in its criticism of England and France's nuclear tests in the Pacific, but as New Zealand largely withdrew from ANZUS, it led to a comprehensive internal reassessment by the Australian government about the country's position in alliances and regional policy . Against this backdrop, the United States entered into negotiations with Australia to maintain its military presence in the country and its communications centers of great strategic importance.

At the economic level, the closure of the agricultural markets in Europe and the United States has been a major challenge for the country. In 1989, Australia proposed the creation of APEC (Asian and Pacific Economic Cooperation). At the same time, the country wanted to advocate for the food exporting countries, and was the initiator of the creation of the so-called "Cairns group" during the Uruguay Round of the GATT.

In 1989, figures from the National University of Australia showed that 1% of the population had over 20% of the country's wealth and of 13% of the population lived below the poverty line. The economic and social crisis grew ever deeper, and in 1991 the number of unemployed was 1 million. They formed a permanent repression against Bob Hawke's Labor Party government, which was faced with strong opposition from the other political parties and from significant parts of the labor movement. Hawke came to power in 1983, after presiding over the country's LO, ACTU, for 11 years. He began his term with a great deal of popular support.

In the late 1980's, Hawke supported the most conservative forces within the Labor Party and initiated a series of reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy through, among other things, a forced privatization of public companies. The dissatisfaction of the population increased and the opposition within the party increased. It evolved into a real power struggle over control of the party between Prime Minister Hawke and his former finance minister Paul Keating. In December 1991, the party conducted an internal vote to clarify the power struggle and to polish the government's face. Keating won the internal election and became new prime minister. Shortly after his election, Keating announced further liberalization of the economy. That led to fierce criticism from the trade union movement and the party's left wing.

 

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