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Posts Tagged ‘Melbourne’

Gillard calls August 21 election

Australians will go to the polls on August 21.                                                    

Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning visited Governor General Quentin Bryce and set the date.

Speaking to reporters, Ms Gillard set the theme that Labor will hammer over the coming weeks – moving forward.

“Today I seek a mandate to move Australia forward,” she said.

“This election I believe presents Australians with a very clear choice. This election is about the choice as to whether we move Australia forward or go back.”

Earlier Ms Gillard had spent the night at her Altona home in Melbourne and woke up to the sight of dozens of journalists camped out across the street.

She arrived in Canberra just before 7am Perth time, and was driven to her office at Parliament House.

Ms Gillard made the short trip to Government House at 8.30am, where hundreds of Canberrans lined the roads in near freezing temperature to see history being made with the first female PM visiting on the first female Governor-General to call an election.

Two protesters were also at the gates of Government House holding up a banner stating “Where’s Kev? The people’s PM”. It is unclear whether they were Liberal Party supporters.

Ms Gillard said moving forward required conviction and confidence. It also required a willingness to embrace new ways of thinking, acceptance of new challenges, listening and learning, and to embrace new solutions.

“Moving forward with confidence also requires a strong set of convictions and a clear set of values,” she said.

Ms Gillard said she had been driven through her adult life by a clear set of values. “And over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to share those values with the nation,”she said.

“I believe in hard work. I believe in the benefits and dignity of work. I believe in what comes as an individual when you do your best and you earn your keep.”

Ms Gillard said there was no challenge Australia could not conquer if the country worked together.

“So in this, the forthcoming election campaign, I’ll be asking the Australian people for their trust,” she said.

“I’ll be asking Australians for their trust so that we can move forward together.”

She said moving forward meant plans to build a sustainable Australia, “not a big Australia”.

“Moving forward means making record investments in solar power and other renewable energies to help us combat climate change and protect our quality of life,” she said.

Ms Gillard said budget surpluses and a stronger economy would offer Australians the chance “to get a job, keep a job, learn new skills, get a better job and start your own business”.

Ms Gillard said she would protect the budget’s return to surplus in 2013 during the campaign by not going on an “election spendathon”.

“By making sure that any promise we make to spend money is offset by a promise to save money,” she said.

“By making sure that the budget bottom line doesn’t change by one cent during the election campaign.”

The Prime Minister said that “moving forward” also meant stronger protection for the nation’s borders.
“And a strong plan, a real plan that takes away from people smugglers the product that they sell.”

Ms Gillard noted that Labor had increased expenditure on hospitals by 50 per cent in its first term.

Moving forward on health meant training 3000 nurses and 1300 GPs during the next three years “all the while as we expand our GP super clinics and implement our health reforms”.

Ms Gillard reiterated her pledge to move Australia forward during her leadership.

“We’ll move forward together with a sustainable Australia, a stronger economy, budgets in surplus and world-class health and education services and other essential services that hard working Australians and their families rely on,” she said.

Ms Gillard said the Opposition’s economic approach was backward looking, citing the coalition’s stance against the stimulus package.

Failing to provide the stimulus would have sent the economy downwards into a spiral of lower incomes, lost jobs and reduced services.

“That is the spiral they would have recommended for this country but the wrong thing for Australians. It would have taken us backwards,” she said.

Ms Gillard accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of remaining committed to Work Choices, no matter what words he sought to use as camouflage.

“In terms of the words he seeks to disguise his intent with, we have heard all of that before,” he said.

Ms Gillard said she believed the Labor government had been a good one, but acknowledged there had been “some problems”.

“Yes there has been some lessons learned and I’ve acknowledged that we’ve learned some lessons along the way.”

Mr Abbott represented a threat to the nation’s future and return to policies of the past, Ms Gillard said.

“We’ve come too far as a country and we’ve evolved too much as a society to risk that kind of backwards looking leadership.”

Australians had an opportunity to elect a government that would see the nation become stronger.

“The choice is very, very clear. And I look forward to presenting our case for judgment to the Australian people over the weeks ahead.”

Ms Gillard committed Labor to offsetting every dollar of new promises with spending cuts.

“We will make a modest set of commitments to the Australian people and we will honour those commitments,” she said.

Ms Gillard said she anticipated – and welcomed – a robust election campaign.

“I think Australians believe that election campaigns should test their leaders,” she said.

“I believe we will all be tested in this election campaign.”

When Ms Gillard became prime minister, she said the Government had ‘lost its way”.

Asked what had changed in the weeks intervening, she said the Government under her leadership had taken several new directions.

She had committed to a sustainable population, announced plans for a regional asylum seeker processing centre, and resolved the mining tax stand-off.

“Through doing those things I’ve demonstrated to the Australian people the kind of way I which I will lead the nation,” Ms Gillard said.

“Talking to people, working with people, making decisions, moving forward, embracing new solutions and changing.”

Ms Gillard said she was determined to implement any promises made during the campaign, but Australians understood some might be broken if circumstances changed.

She cited the example of the collapse of ABC Learning and Labor’s subsequent backdown on its promise to build new childcare centres.

“I believe that Australians understand that there are sometimes where objective circumstances change,” she said.

“But obviously, in giving commitments in this election campaign, I will be giving commitment that we will implement, that I will want to implement, intend to implement, that I will be determined to implement.”

Ms Gillard will reveal Labor’s climate change policy during the election campaign.

“They will be policies coming from a person who believes climate change is real, who believes it’s caused by human activity and who has never equivocated in that belief,” she said.

Asked if she thought she had sorted out a number of issues she identified as problematic for the government since she was installed as prime minister, Ms Gillard pointed to the minerals resource rent tax.

Labor had made some big strides forward with the mining tax, she said.

“We’ve obviously been able to enter a breakthrough agreement with some of the biggest miners in the country,” she said.

“An agreement that’s given them certainty, that’s given mining communities certainty.”

Australians would be saying to themselves “haven’t we heard all this before” following Mr Abbott’s promise to leave Labor’s workplace relations scheme in place for the first term of a coalition government.

Mr Abbott had always promoted the previous Howard government’s Work Choices industrial relations regime, Ms Gillard said.

“I always thought Work Choices was wrong. Mr Abbott has always thought Work Choices was right.”

Australians will have until 6pm on Monday to register to vote with Ms Gillard confirming writs for the election will be issued at 6pm on the same day.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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The median price for a Perth house will pass $600,000 within three years as the city’s property market reclaims its title as the strongest and fastest growing in the country, a new report predicts.

The BIS Shrapnel residential property report forecasts house prices in Perth will climb an average 7 per cent a year for three years, pushing the median price to $610,000 from $500,000 today.

No other capital is expected to enjoy such strong capital growth, with even higher interest rates unlikely to slow the Perth market as much as others.

Senior project manager Angie Zigomanis said even though the Perth market slowed before other cities in 2007, conditions were improving on the back of another resources boom. Money flowing from commodities would soon push up house prices across Perth.

“With prices below peak levels in real terms and income in Perth set to grow substantially as the next round of resource expansion projects get up and running, solid price growth should continue,” he said.

“Nevertheless, further increases in interest rates will prevent the boom in prices that we saw in the last upturn.”

Mr Zigomanis said the median house price would climb 22 per cent by the middle of 2013. This growth would be quicker if the Reserve Bank did not increase interest rates in the next six to 12 months.

Growth at that rate would surpass other capitals such as Sydney (up 20 per cent), Melbourne (11 per cent), Brisbane (12 per cent), Adelaide (20 per cent), Hobart (12 per cent), Canberra (14 per cent) and Darwin (12 per cent).

House prices climbed rapidly through the second half of last year and into the first four months of this year.

Mr Zigomanis said this was directly because of record low interest rates in response to the global financial crisis and a “pull forward” of demand from the first-homeowner’s grant. Not only would house prices outpace inflation, they would affect rents.

“Even though overseas migration inflows are steadily easing, a deficiency of stock is still in place with dwelling construction below underlying trend,” he said.

Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a fall in loans for people buying homes but an increase in loans for investment properties. Financial market analysts do not expect official interest rates to rise until May next year.

source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Perth tenants should brace themselves as rising house prices, improving economic conditions and more newcomers to the state combine to force up rents this year, a leading property researcher says.

The latest rental report by Australian Property Monitors shows asking rents in Perth have increased in the first three months of the year.

The median weekly asking rent for houses in the metropolitan area is now $370, a $10 increase on the previous quarter and the first rise in more than a year, while units increased $8, to $358.

But with rising house prices, increased rents have not led to increased yields. The gross yield for houses is now 4.06 per cent, while units are yielding 4.62 per cent.

That leaves Perth ahead of only Melbourne among all state capitals.

APM economist Matthew Bell said he expected Perth rentals to increase a further $10 a quarter for the rest of the year, with a strong resources sector and population growth the driving factors.

But this was unlikely to be fast enough to maintain yields, which would drop slightly as house prices rose further. The median Perth house price is believed to have passed $500,000.

Really, the outlook for both rents and house prices is pretty strong,” he said.

“Yields will probably soften again, but historically they are at pretty good levels.”

Houses were usually bought by investors for capital growth, with units offering better yields, Mr Bell said.

Meanwhile, the Urban Development Institute of Australia said its own research showed a six-month delay in planning approval could add 7 per cent to the price of an average block in the metropolitan area.

UDIA WA chief executive Debra Goostrey said developers were doing what they could to ensure “affordable” land was being made available during a time of increasing prices.

“We also need the support of a fast and efficient planning approvals process to avoid costs associated with delays,” she said.

Her comments follow those last week by property researcher Terry Ryder, who said claims of housing shortages were a beat-up by property industry lobby groups.

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Cathay Pacific flights sale 2010: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne & Sydney travel deals

Fly via Hong Kong to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Melbourne or Sydney in April, May and June 2010 for from £689 return – Cathay Pacific’s flights sale is on until 16 February 2010.

Cathay Pacific Australia flight sale prices: 

Cathay Pacific’s quality makes it worth considering the prices in the Hong Kong airline’s current flights sale. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have slightly better prices on roughly the same dates, but it is arguably worth paying the extra £20 or £30 – particularly if you fancy a Hong Kong stopover or are flying to cities other than Sydney.

The Cathay Pacific Australia and New Zealand flights sale is on until 16 February 2010. As part of it, return flights from London to Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth via Hong Kong cost from £689, while economy class tickets to Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane and Auckland in New Zealand cost from £699.

Cathay Pacific Australia flights sale: Terms and conditions:

The following are taken from the Cathay Pacific website:

Terms & conditions

  • Sale period: until 16 February 2010.
  • Fares are for travel from London Heathrow.
  • Offer valid on all CX operated flights.
  • The above displayed fares are valid for outbound travel in selected dates only: 06April – 15June 2010. For travel in other periods fares may differ.
  • Stay: 5 days minimum / 1 year maximum.
  • Dates Changes: Outbound- Not Permitted.  Inbound – Permitted GBP50.
  • On changing the outbound travel date when permitted, if the itinerary results in a higher fare then difference applies along with the date change fee. If the itinerary results in a lower fare then the date change fee still applies and no refund will be made.
  • Name changes are not allowed.
  • Cancellations/Refunds: Non refundable. Cancellation fee £200. No-show: nil refund.
  • Fares are subject to change without prior notice.
  • Other Terms and Conditions apply.
  • The fares detailed in the offer/promotion are subject to availability and offered on a first come, first served basis. The limited number of seats for the subject fare allocated to a particular flight may be fully booked although seats are still available in other fare types in the same class of travel.

Note: The fares displayed include taxes, fees and surcharges, which are subject to change at the time of booking due to currency fluctuations. 

Source  :  www.australiaflightbargains.com

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Skytrax World’s Best Low Cost airline, AirAsia welcomes 2010 with a BIG Regional Sale! The leading airline makes flying more affordable by offering airfares from as low as *RM19 for its domestic and international routes (excluding Thailand domestic routes and London).

The sale will run from 19 – 25 October 2009 for the travel period from 11 January 2010 – 30 April 2010. The incredible low fares offered by AirAsia are available to all of its Asia destinations including the Middle East departing from its hub from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali including Penang and Johor.

To make the deal sweeter, Go Holiday, AirAsia’s own online travel portal is also offering attractive holiday packages in conjunction with the 2010 Sale Campaign. Guests can book their packages via http://goholiday.airasia.com, from as low as RM112 per person for domestic packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay inclusive of breakfast) and from as low as RM199 per person for international packages (with flight, 3 days 2 nights hotel stay).

Exciting holiday packages on offer under the heritage sights include destinations to Seam Reap, Hanoi, Guilin, Yogyakarta, and Hangzhou. Those opting for a domestic vacation may book holiday packages to Langkawi, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru. For our shopaholic enthusiast, guests may opt for a shopping spree holiday package deals in Bandung, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taipei and those who are all for city sights, Dhaka, Tianjin, Perth, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi package deals are on offer.

For the Sun-Sand-Sea lovers, dream no more as holiday packages to Bali, Phuket, Krabi and Colombo are also available. Check out our online travel portal as there are more exciting holiday packages to many exciting destinations available.

Promotional seats are limited and available on first-come, first-served basis and made exclusively available online via www.airasia.com and mobile.airasia.com.

Source  :  www.etravelblackboardasia.com

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PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines’ “Everyday Low Fares” promotion is back with attractive deals for November.

All-inclusive, one-way fares to Hong Kong, Taipei, Perth and Melbourne are priced at RM368, RM400, RM649 and RM951, respectively. Or fly to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Frankfurt at RM1,228, and London at RM1,248. For domestic flights, enjoy RM79 fares for flights within the peninsular and RM109 to Sabah and Sarawak.

MAS has also increased the frequency of flights to Tawau, Sandakan, Sibu, Seoul and Taipei, while flights to Colombo will be increased to five per week starting Oct 28.

 For more information, log on to www.malaysiaairlines.com

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British Airways has teamed up with Australian radio station Nova 969 to launch a special promotion.

The airline announced that it would be carrying the popular radio presenting trio Merrick & Rosso & Kate Richie to the UK for a week in September.

Every day during the week, listeners will have the chance to win a pair of World Traveller tickets to London.

The competition is part of an initiative being launched by BA to promote its offer of a trip from Sydney to the UK with a free European break thrown in.

BA previously worked with the radio presenters to launch a competition giving listeners the chance to win holidays in Bangkok.

Sam Heine, the airline’s commercial manager in the south-west Pacific region, said: ‘After our best ever result, off the back of the 2008 consumer promotion Mile Thai Club, it meant that we once again turned to Nova to produce an integrated solution that would spread awareness of the exciting fare deal British Airways has to offer and also to let Australians experience everything that’s fantastic about the UK.’

BA operates flights to Sydney via Singapore and Bangkok, as well as connections to Melbourne, Perth and other Australian cities as part of a codeshare deal with Qantas.

Source  :  http://news.opodo.co.uk/NewsDetails/2009-08-26/BA_teams_up_with_Australian_radio_stars

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AIRASIA recently launched its Big Sale promotion by offering three million seats for both domestic and international destinations.

The booking period for both sectors during the Big Sale campaign is only until Sunday.

Bookings are for the travel period from Jan 11 to July 31 next year. The flights are available from its eight hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali and Bandung.

Guests can fly from Kuala Lumpur to domestic destinations such as Penang, Johor Baru from as low as RM9. Popular international destinations such as Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bangkok, Phuket are offered from as low as RM49.

Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Bali and Bandung are offered from RM69 and the highly in demand “Kangaroo Routes” in Australia such as Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth are offered from RM149.

The airline is also extending the promotion to its recently launched routes such as Colombo, Taipei, and London from RM89, RM99 and RM479 respectively.

“This ‘Big Sale’ promises to be the sale of the year for AirAsia,” said AirAsia Group regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan.

“I dare say that it is even better than the free seats offered in the past as guests now save on administration fees and fuel surcharges as we have abolished both charges,” she said, adding that guests can now enjoy greater savings of up to 70% from the Big Sale.

“For example, with the past free seat offer, guests paid RM53.50 for Penang now they only pay RM9, Kuching was RM78.50, now RM29.  For international sectors, guests paid RM142.50 for Bali, now RM69. Singapore used to be RM122.50, now it’s RM29, Gold Coast was RM354, now RM149,” said Tan.

Promotional seats are limited and available exclusively online via www.airasia.com and mobile.airasia.com.

Source  :  www.thesundaily.com

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A woman from Melbourne has said she has no connection with missing British toddler Madeleine McCann after a friend in Sydney reported her to police.rt_maddy_mccann_090501_mn

The search for Madeleine swept across Australia with a string of sightings after private detectives revealed they were looking for a Victoria Beckham lookalike.

A picture of the woman was released by British police.

Ms Aron, who actually lives in Madeline Street, the Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris.

She has said she was shocked that anybody may have thought that I have some connection to this case. I can’t understand how it may have happened. I can honestly say I have no connection to the little girl.

She also announced that she has not been out of  Australia since 2000.

A neighbour said she thought the link might have been made because Ms Aron spoke Spanish and had a fair-haired child.

An elderly Sydney woman went into Burwood police station and filed a report claiming that a friend she had met in Spain, and travelled with in Portugal, was the woman in the identikit.

NSW Police said: ”NSW Police Force detectives have received information about a woman who is similar in description to the woman being sought by private investigators investigating the disappearance of British child Madeleine McCann.

An Australian-registered cruiser that was in Port Olimpic marina in Barcelona at the time the mystery woman was asking the new witness if he had brought her new daughter.

Reporters from London yesterday speculated that it was a $12 million powerboat belonging to a wealthy West Australian family. A spokesman for the family said: ”This is the most ridiculous speculation I have ever heard. It’s ludicrous.”

Investigators working for the McCanns said they had received more than 600 emails after issuing the Posh Spice lookalike appeal.

A spokesman for the family said most of those responses had come from Australia.

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The professional association representing migration agents, the Migration Institute of Australia, is concerned about allegations raised on tonight’s Four Corners program on migration and education scams.

“Unfortunately, hearing reports about international students and visa applicants falling prey to unscrupulous operators is not a new issue”, says Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

In May 2008, the MIA reported 60 rogue agents from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and is unaware if any of these were prosecuted.

Any unethical or illegal behaviour by registered migration agents is not tolerated by the Institute and should be cracked down on by the Department.

“We’ve been asking government to sort out problems with education agents and illegal or unscrupulous operators for an extended period of time. The announcement that education agents will have a register is a first step but doesn’t go far enough in reforming the sector,” says Ms Horder.

A recent independent report, entitled Changing Together, confirms the nature of some of the problems which affects the profession – that the bad behaviour of a minority of unscrupulous operators’ impacts negatively on the entire migration advice profession.

“Following the report’s release, the MIA is acting on a comprehensive range of reforms to strengthen standards and ethics of migration agents.” says Ms Horder. These include:

• Comprehensive reform to the education and training of agents
• Requiring current Registered Migration Agents to requalify to a higher standard of English language and professional competence
• Introduce a tiered system of registration to protect consumers
• Formation of an independent complaints body with the power to review fees

Responsibility for change should be shared by education providers, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

“I wait with interest to see tonight’s Four Corners episode and hope that it will provide an added impetus for the key stakeholders to come together and develop appropriate policies to meet Australia’s educational and immigration interests without anyone being exploited.”

  • Source  :  www.mia.org.au
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