Chief Correspondent, Sydney
Michael's Feed
Jun 8, 2011

Australian PM’s anniversary sparks leadership talk

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Prime Minister Julia Gillard was meant to be the saviour of Australia’s Labor government. But after a year in office, some question whether her position is so secure.

She became Australia’s first female leader on June 24, 2010 — appointed by a Labor party desperate to avoid electoral defeat.

May 31, 2011

Australian business groups warn strike plans threaten investment

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is facing what employers say is its worst period of industrial unrest in decades, with disputes hitting airlines, ports and mines as unions use an unprecedented resources boom and labour shortage to fight for a greater share of profits.

Business leaders say the spate of disputes is threatening investment and exports and rekindling Australia’s old reputation as an industrial relations minefield — a claim unions reject as scaremongering.

May 25, 2011

Australia’s weather bureau says 2010-11 La Nina has ended

SYDNEY, May 25 (Reuters) – The devastating 2010-11 La Nina
weather event has ended, said Australia’s weather bureau, after
bringing record flooding to the country, disrupting major coal
exports and destroying thousands of homes, and damaging crops in
Asia.

“The 2010-11 La Nina event has ended, with climate
indicators of the El Nino, the Southern Oscillation, having
returned to average levels,” the Bureau of Meteorology said on
Wednesday.

May 23, 2011

Climate change warnings add heat to Australia CO2 price

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A team of Australia’s top scientists warned on Monday of dire climate change in calling for the nation’s carbon-dominated energy sector to turn green, as the government struggles to win support for a carbon price to cut pollution.

In a report by a government-appointed Climate Commission, the scientists said many of Australia’s major cities faced a serious threat from rising sea-levels, particularly Sydney.

May 23, 2011

Climate change warnings add heat to Australia CO2 price debate

SYDNEY, May 23 (Reuters) – A team of Australia’s top
scientists warned of dire climate change on Monday in calling
for the nation’s carbon-dominated energy sector to turn green,
as the government struggles to win support for a carbon price to
cut pollution.

In a report by a government-appointed Climate Commission,
the scientists said many of Australia’s major cities faced a
serious threat from rising sea-levels, particularly Sydney.

May 10, 2011

Australia seeks to harness mine boom in budget

CANBERRA, May 10 (Reuters) – Australia expects a fiscal
surplus in 2012/13 and will seek to ease a shortage of skilled
workers that threatens to fuel inflation as the economy rides
an historic resources boom, the minority Labour government said
in its first budget on Tuesday.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said Australia — the only major
developed nation to avoid recession during the global financial
crisis — faced major hurdles in handling the Asia-led
resources boom, a soaring Australian dollar and a two-speed
economy that has left non-mining industries struggling.

May 10, 2011

Australia seeks to harness mining boom, avoid inflation

CANBERRA, May 10 (Reuters) – Australia expects a fiscal
surplus in 2012/13 and will seek to ease a shortage of skilled
workers that threatens to fuel inflation as the economy rides an
historic resources boom, the minority Labour government said in
its first budget on Tuesday.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said Australia — the only major
developed nation to avoid recession during the global financial
crisis — faced major hurdles in handling the Asia-led resources
boom, a soaring Australian dollar and a two-speed economy that
has left non-mining industries struggling.

Apr 19, 2011

Australia PM Gillard to focus on energy in Nth Asia

SYDNEY/BEIJING, April 19 (Reuters) – Australian Prime
Minister Julia Gillard is expected to issue guarantees of energy
security this week when she visits major trading partners in
north Asia, where unrest in the Middle East and a disaster in
Japan have raise fears of supply disruptions.

Japan, South Korea and China are three of Australia’s top
four export markets, all currently hungry for its mineral and
energy resources to power their economies, and analysts say this
could be a make-or-break trip for Gillard.

Mar 25, 2011

Australia’s ruling Labor headed for state election “bloodbath”

SYDNEY, March 25 (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Julia
Gillard’s Labor party looks set to suffer a big defeat on
Saturday in elections in the nation’s most populous state,
leaving three out of six states under Labor as she
tries to bring in a national carbon price and mining tax.

A Labor “bloodbath” in the New South Wales (NSW) election
will politically damage Gillard, who holds a one-seat majority,
thanks to independents and Green MPs.

Feb 10, 2011

Australia urged to use catastrophe bonds as disaster risk rises

SYDNEY, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Global reinsurance giant Swiss Re
said Australia’s natural disaster risk was increasing
and urged its governments to cover the rising damages bill using
insurance instruments like “catastrophe bonds” as opposed to
one-off disaster levies.

“Mounting exposure in Australia to catastrophes…we feel
requires a pre-emptive approach to financing disaster relief,
particularly with government assets,” Mark Senkevics, head of
Swiss Re in Australia and New Zealand, said on Thursday.