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Throw another shrimp on the barbee, as they say in Australia. Or do they?

Idea for a joint Aussie-Kiwi dollar makes the rounds again

The productivity commissions of Australia and New Zealand have again floated the idea of a single currency for Aussies and Kiwis.
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Chinese tourists Ren Yajing (L) and Wu Chong (R) support a giant Australian dollar display at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra on October 21, 2011. (TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
The productivity commissions of Australia and New Zealand have again floated the idea of a single currency for Aussies and Kiwis.
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Did an Australian lawmaker use his work credit card to rent hookers? This time, it really matters

An Australian lawmaker accused of using an official credit card to make cash advances and pay for prostitutes and Indian takeout, among other things, has the political classes chattering and many Aussies wondering how much they can really ever know about those they elect.
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Australia's Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard tries to turn her attention to slightly bigger concerns than a scandal at home that could topple her government, speaking at the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 27, 2012. (KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)
An Australian lawmaker accused of using an official credit car to make cash advances and pay for prostitutes and Indian takeout, among other things, has the political classes chattering and many Aussies wondering how much they can really ever know about those they elect.
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Asylum seekers turned off 'hostile and toxic' debate in Australia, UN official says

The idea of a trip to Australia has become increasingly unattractive — and it has nothing to do with the high dollar and fact that it's too far from just about everywhere.
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Rescuers check the wreckage of a people smuggler's boat seen half submerged after being towed near the coast of Puger village in East Java province on Dec. 21, 2011. Indonesian police arrested eight people December 22 in connection with an overloaded boat carrying 250 asylum seekers that capsized en route to Australia, as the confirmed death toll reached 90. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The idea of a trip to Australia has become increasingly unattractive — and it has nothing to do with the high dollar and fact that it's too far from just about everywhere.

Even some of the planet's most-desperate people have been turned off the idea of seeking a better life in the "lucky country," with a 9 percent drop in asylum seeker claims last year, according to the UNHCR.

That's against the global trend of increased asylum seeker claims in such countries as the US, France and Germany.

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Qantas expands Jetstar services into China with Eastern Airlines joint venture

Qantas shares lifted on news that its budget carrier Jetstar will fly routes in China in partnership with China Eastern Airlines.
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A trio of tail sections showing the logos of Qantas, Eastern Airlines and JetStar. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Qantas shares lifted on news that its budget carrier Jetstar will fly routes in China in partnership with China Eastern Airlines.
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Election wipes out ruling party in Australian state of Queensland

The Australian state of Queensland has voted out its center-left government, sending a strong message to the nation's leaders.
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Putting the queen back in Queensland: former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh shows Queen Elizabeth II a koala during a visit to Rainforest Walk, Southbank, on October 24, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Lyndon Mechielsen/AFP/Getty Images)

Australia's ruling center left party, Labor, is on notice.

A devastating defeat of its party at a state level — in a weekend election held in Queensland — has sent Prime Minister Julia Gillard a strong message: a large number of Australians are unhappy with their political leadership.

Queenslanders didn't just vote out the party — they obliterated it, leaving the opposition Liberal National Party poised to take 78 seats in an 89-seat Parliament, once all votes are counted.

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Australia's leaders past and present gather to remember Margaret Whitlam, former 'First Lady'

A large part of the Sydney downtown area was closed off Friday, so high profile was the lineup of Australian political figures attending a memorial service for Margaret Whitlam, wife of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
A large part of the Sydney downtown area was closed off Friday, so high profile was the lineup of Australian political figures attending a memorial service for Margaret Whitlam, wife of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
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Billionaire Clive Palmer fears CIA plot to undermine Australian economy

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has added "slightly unhinged" to the list of descriptives typically association with his name.
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A US Secret Service spotter and sniper (R) sits atop the Sydney Opera House during the visit of US President George W. Bush arrives to speak during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2007. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has added "slightly unhinged" to the list of descriptives typically association with his name.

His accusation that the CIA, as well as a "foreign power," are funding the Australian Greens party to cripple the mining industry in his home state of Queensland and undermine the Australian economy.

His statements quickly superseded the news that the Australian Parliament had passed a law imposing 30 percent tax on iron ore and coal miners' profits.

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Aussie mining billionaire Clive Palmer floats idea of Guardian-style 'blind trust' for Australian media

Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer said this week that he was considering investing in the media via a Guardian-style "blind trust."
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Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer holds a press conference in Brisbane on March 1, 2012. (Tertius Pickard/AFP/Getty Images)

Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer said this week that he was considering investing in the local media via a Guardian-style "blind trust." 

The idea is that Palmer — recently criticized for trying to use his money to influence national debate — and other people with enough money to buy into a debt-crippled industry would do so for two reasons:

1. to make a financial return; and

2. to support ''quality, independent, professional journalism."

Anything strike you as odd about that?

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Aussie ad has Irish crying '50s-style discrimination

The ad stated, "Bricklayer needed ASAP. $250 a day, no part-time workers and NO IRISH," and it has created more than its share of publicity (mostly negative) in Ireland, a quick Google search reveals.
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Tourists from Britain, Ireland and New Zealand partake in the inaugural Breakfast On The Beach event at Sydney's Bondi Beach on October 23, 2011. (TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
The ad stated, "Bricklayer needed ASAP. $250 a day, no part-time workers and NO IRISH," and it has created more than its share of publicity (mostly negative) in Ireland, a quick Google search reveals.
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Julia Gillard's fortunes improve, but Australia's Labor Party losing support, polls show

Polls show that Labor's Julia Gillard has overtaken her conservative opposition counterpart Tony Abbott as Australia's preferred prime minister.
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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces that Bob Carr (L) will replace Kevin Rudd as Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs at Parliament House in Canberra on March 2, 2012. (Cole Bennetts/AFP/Getty Images)
Polls show that Labor's Julia Gillard has overtaken her conservative opposition counterpart Tony Abbott as Australia's preferred prime minister.
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