Australia. Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the Iraqi
capital Baghdad in January, where he met with his Iraqi
counterpart Haidar al-Abadi to pledge continued support in
the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Australia decided
in September to launch air strikes in Syria in the fight
against IS following a request from the US. At the same
time, the country received an additional 12,000 refugees
from Syria and Iraq.
In January, a criticism erupted against Prime Minister
Abbott when Prince Philip, who is married to Australia's
Head of Queen Elizabeth II, was ousted. The media was filled
with examples of how Philip did away in various contexts in
Australia, and Abbott was called crazy. At the same time,
measurements showed a decline in support - below 30% - for
the incumbent prime minister. In the Queensland state
election in January, the Social Democratic Labor won, which
was seen as a humiliating loss to Abbott's government
coalition. In February, however, Prime Minister Abbott won a
vote of no confidence in the Liberal government. 61 members
supported him while 39 questioned him.
In April, Australia recalled its ambassador from
Indonesia after the country executed two Australian citizens
convicted of drug offenses. See
Digopaul.com. They were arrested ten years ago
when they tried to bring 8.3 kilos of heroin from Indonesia
to Australia. The executions took place despite appeals for
mercy from both the home countries' governments and the UN
Secretary-General as well as an intensive Twitter campaign.
In June, the government announced a 20-year plan to
develop the infrastructure in Northern Australia. Among
other things, transport and water supply will be improved.
In the same month, demonstrations were held in Sydney,
Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth against the
government's plans to review funding for the state of
Western Australia's 247 Aboriginal communities. Prime
Minister Abbott supported a plan to shut down over a hundred
of the Australian indigenous communities in the state of
Western Australia unless basic social functions can be
Tony Abbott lost a vote in September on who should be the
Liberal Party leader and thus also lead the government.
Malcolm Turnbull, who was previously Minister of
Communications in the Government, received 54 votes against
44 and thus became new Prime Minister. The 60-year-old
Turnbull became Australia's fourth prime minister in two
years. In conjunction with the government transformation,
Australia got its first female Secretary of Defense, Marise
Payne. In Turnbull's government, the number of women
increased from two to five. New Foreign Minister Julie
Bishop. Former Prime Minister Abbott was heavily criticized
for age-old and sexist views. In November, Prime Minister
Turnbull scrapped the titles knight and lady. This happened
just a year after former Prime Minister Abbott reintroduced
The country's refugee policy means that refugees coming
to Australia by boat are sent to camps in Papua New Guinea
and the Pacific nation of Nauru. They are not allowed to
settle in Australia even if they are considered to have
refugee grounds. In 2014, a severely criticized agreement
was reached between Australia and Cambodia that Cambodia
should receive refugees in exchange for increased aid.
Hundreds of asylum seekers in an Australian camp on Manus
Island in Papua New Guinea hunger strike in January in
protest of Australia's plan to move them to Papua New Guinea
or Cambodia if they are granted refugee status. In June,
four refugees, including three Iranians and one from the
Burmese minority Rohingya, who were granted asylum by
Australia were accepted by Cambodia.
An October report from the human rights organization
Amnesty showed that Australia's border control at sea is
suspected of paying human smugglers to send back boat
refugees from mainly Burma and Sri Lanka to Indonesia,
although they wanted to seek asylum in New Zealand. The
Border Patrol was first reported to have kept the passengers
locked in cells on the Coast Guard boat for a week. The
Australian government chose not to comment on the incident.
Thousands of Australians demonstrated in October against
the country's refugee policy.
The first of the 12,000 refugees that Australia promised
to receive, in addition to previous commitments, arrived in
the country in November. Australia had previously agreed to
receive more than 13,000 refugees during the financial year
2015-16. The other places are reserved for people who have
fled the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
In March, a new law was passed that forces Internet and
mobile operators to store user data for two years. The
measure was part of the fight against terrorism.
A 15-year-old boy shot to death in October, aiming at
several police officers at a police station in a suburb of
Sydney. The boy, who was killed in connection with the
gunfire, must have shouted religious slogans and the police
classified the shooting as a terrorist act. Australia's
newly appointed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull advised his
countrymen not to blame the violence on Muslims.
In November, Australia identified twelve people believed
to be prepared to carry out terrorist attacks in the
country. According to police, the twelve suspected jihadists
were included in a group of 19 boys and men, seven of whom
were already in prison. The other twelve were supervised by
the police. Australia raised the level of terrorist threats
to "high" just over a year earlier when new security laws
In August, the government stated that it aims to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28% by 2030
compared with the levels in 2005.
A fire raged in January in the Adelaide Hills, northeast
of the big city of Adelaide. Around 500 firefighters from
several states fought to put out the fire, which destroyed
about 13,000 hectares of land and at least twelve
residential buildings. The fire also hit the koalas. Many
died and those who survived suffered severe burns on the
paws. The game management organization IFAW issued a call to
the public to sew special cotton mittens for the koalas.
A state investigation showed that a large number of
children were subjected to sexual and psychological abuse in
four of the Salvation Army's orphanages in Australia. The
abuse must have occurred between 1965 and 1977. Another
investigation showed that Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia
over the past 60 years have avoided reporting over a
thousand cases of child sexual abuse.
At least twelve long-legged gate whales died in March
after being trapped at Bunbury, south of Perth. Whales are
common in Australia, but the experts do not know why.
In July, the Australian government declared war on the
country's roughly two million wild cats. The wild cats are
estimated to kill 75 million animals - per day. Therefore,
two million cats should be shot or poisoned for five years,
Defense Secretary Kevin Andrews announced. This caused the
artist and animal lover Morrissey to collapse. In a
statement, he called the Australian Government "a committee
of sheep farmers".
Australia was shaken in August by a series of serious
shark attacks. In 2015, eleven shark attacks had occurred in
the state of New South Wales. It can be compared with three
each in 2013 and 2014.
Researchers found traces of a double meteorite in central
Australia in March. The surface of the crater has been worn
for many millions of years, but by drilling just over 1.5
kilometers into the ground, a 40 km wide impact area was