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AUSTRALIA has delivered a blunt message to India that it is selling education, not visas, even as the Rudd government deploys its most senior ministers to patch up relations damaged over a series of Indian student assaults.

Trade Minister Simon Crean, whose visit to India this week overlaps that of Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, outlined to the Confederation of Indian Industry yesterday federal government measures to crack down on shonky education and training providers in Australia.

But he said the crackdown could be successful only if similar action were taken in India to close down shonky education and immigration agents running scams to secure permanent Australian residency through student visas.

“Let’s be clear, we are offering a quality education in a safe environment,” Mr Crean said yesterday. “The quality of our education is what we are promoting, not the visa attached to it.

“For this to succeed, we also need the co-operation of the Indian government. The fact that politicians in both countries have been forced to focus on the issue improves the odds of coming up with a better system.”

Ms Gillard is understood to have delivered a similar message during meetings with Indian Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal and, late on Tuesday night, with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, where greater engagement between the two countries on defence, energy and climate change were also discussed.

Mr Crean denied Australia’s international education industry needed to be remarketed in India, despite the fact it is widely seen — and in some areas promoted — as a pathway to permanent residency.

But he conceded better co-operation between Australian government agencies was also needed to help stem student visa abuses.

What the student issue has done is shed a light on the importance of interaction between Austrade, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and those that market our services in the Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations in the protection of our brand,” he said yesterday.

In just eight days, India will have hosted three of Australia’s most senior politicians, Mr Crean, Ms Gillard and Wayne Swan.

By the end of the year, a total of eight Australian ministers will have graced Indian soil.

The ministerial offensive is aimed at patching bilateral relations, damaged by a recent series of attacks on Indian students in Australia, as well as building trade relations with the emerging Asian superpower.

Mr Crean, who is in India for a two-day meeting of G20 trade ministers ahead of the next Doha round of WTO talks in Pittsburgh later this month, said Australia’s trade relationship with India had historically been “underdone”.

The ministerial visits — which will culminate in a tour by Kevin Rudd later this year — were designed to correct that.

“We understand the fundamental importance of India to our future, just as we do China and the rest of Asia. This is going to be the fastest-growing region in the world for the next couple of decades, it is the place to be,” he said. “Australia fortunately positioned itself for that a couple of decades ago but we have to renew the effort.

“Obviously, if there is a hiccup in the relationship, as there has been here over student safety, of course we have to address it. Visits here are an important part of that.”

Canberra hopes that a successful culmination of the Doha talks — aimed at reducing international trade barriers — will help accelerate free trade agreement negotiations between Australia and India, still at the feasibility stage.

It was also concentrating on building trade ties in infrastructure and energy security areas, with particular focus on investments in gas and coal.

Mr Crean denied that Australia’s refusal to sell uranium to India — a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — would hurt the progress of the talks, despite Mr Singh again raising the issue during his meeting with Ms Gillard.

Source  :  The Australian

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JULIE Goodwin has dedicated her victory in MasterChef Australia to her family after winning the final of the Channel 10 reality show.

Goodwin, 38, beat Adelaide’s Poh Ling Yeow after a gruelling series of challenges that tested both competitors to the maximum.

The New South Wales mother-of-three spent three months away from her husband Mich and sons Joe, 13, Tom, 12, and Paddy, 10, to take part in the TV show and says it was the hardest time of her life.

“Winning MasterChef Australia feels like such an achievement and means the time away from my family was worthwhile,” Julie said

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When choosing your land and house package think carefully on how you live before choosing the right house for you.        House%20-%20Paddington%20finished%201%20interior 

Make sure the floor plan fits the way you live.

Design your house for you and your life style, you’d be surprised at how many houses don’t fit the way people really live.

I remember when people actually used their living rooms and wouldn’t have dreamed of sitting in the kitchen, much less thinking of it as the centre of the house now 

But that’s exactly what’s happened over the last three decades.  Other changes have occurred too: home offices have become increasingly important, as have master bedrooms, en suites, activity rooms, alfresco’s and pools.

 Any well-designed house must be functional ,  people define their space needs as ‘informal and formal’ or ‘public and private’ rather than thinking of their plan as a series of rooms.

 So think about the way you really live, design your floor plan accordingly, and you’ll be taking the next step towards a well-designed house.

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