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Australian Prime Minister Proposes Non-Binding Plebiscite On Same-Sex Marriage

Australia’s Prime Minister is proposing a national vote on the issue of same-sex marriage: SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s divisive debate over same-sex marriage returned to Parliament on Wednesday when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull implored lawmakers to support a bill that would ask Australians to vote yes or no on gay marriage. “If ever there is […]

Australia Next To Move On Same-Sex Marriage

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In the wake of Ireland’s referendum approving same-sex marriage, and the likely legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in the United States next month, Australia’s conservative Prime Minister is signaling that it’s time for his country to get on board: It’s said that it takes a conservative to bring about radical social reform, and they don’t […]

Hostage Crisis In Sydney, Australia Cafe Apparently Linked To Terrorism

APTOPIX Australia Police Operation   TOK801

A hostage crisis has been unfolding overnight at a cafe in Sydney, Australia that has apparent links to international terrorism.

Massive Oil Discovery Puts Outback Town on World Energy Map

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Will this new Australian oil discovery shake up world politics?

Australian Prime Minister Ousted By Her Own Party

Julia Gillard, the leader of Australia’s Labor Party and Prime Minister of Australia, gambled her political future today and lost big: Australia’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, has been sacked by her party and replaced by the man she ousted three years ago. After an unprecedented day of political bloodletting in Canberra, Kevin Rudd […]

OTB Foreign Desk

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Brief takes on foreign affairs

Australian Elections Explained

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OTB Roving Correspondent Richard Gardner passes along this great Clarke and Dawe bit explaining the Australian elections: Proof positive, by the way, that as trivial as American politics can and often is, we’re hardly alone.

America’s Cup Back in American Hands, No One Cares

Larry Ellison America's Cup Winner

Oracle’s Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race Sunday, becoming the first American winner in fifteen years. American software tycoon Larry Ellison won the America’s Cup yacht race in the Mediterranean Sunday, defeating the defending champion Alinghi of Switzerland. It’s the first time a US team has taken home the cup since Dennis Conner […]

Gays in the Military: Other Countries Do It

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Both Steve Chapman and Ilya Somin argue that, since other countries let gays serve in the military without harming unit cohesion, America can, too. Chapman: It’s not completely implausible that in a military environment, open homosexuality might wreak havoc on order and morale. But the striking thing about these claims is that they exist in […]

Why We Drive on the Right – And Others Don’t

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Monday, Samoa will switch to driving on the left side of the road in order to benefit from cheap used cars from Australia and New Zealand.  This gave Time’s Randy James to explain, “Why Don’t We All Drive on the Same Side of the Road?”  It’s especially odd that two-thirds of the world drives on […]

Australia Native Language Bailout

Ngarrindjeri Aborigine Australia Photo

“Australia has pledged 7.8 million US dollars this year to help save more than 100 indigenous languages which are in grave danger of dying out,” AFP reports. Arts Minister Peter Garrett said the money would be spent on translation services, tests for children and a feasibility study for a national centre for Aboriginal languages. “These […]

Language Shapes Thought

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Stanford neuroscientist Lera Boroditsky passes along the consensus in her field that “people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world.” She provides a fascinating example: Follow me to Pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York, […]

U.S. Defense Spending and the Free Rider Problem

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My New Atlanticist essay “Australia Prepares for U.S. Decline” discusses a recent Aussie white paper that is generating much discussion in the foreign policy wonkosphere.  Basically, they see a rapidly rising China and a United States that’s overstretched with other commitments and could therefore reduce our commitments to the Asia-Pacific region.  Hence, they’re planning for […]