Qantas

November 24, 2006

Drive on the M5 motorway, half-owned by Macquarie-advised Sydney Roads Group, to Sydney Airport, whose biggest investor is Macquarie Airports, then pile their baggage on to Macquarie’s trolleys and fly on planes (Qantas) owned by the investment bank. This scenario is a possibility if Macquarie can obtain the Australian airline company Qantas.

The Australian bank offers, together with the American investors Texas Pacific Group, ten billion Australian dollar for Qantas. The news sparkled some political reactions. The majority of the shares of Qantas have to be in Australian hands. Foreign ownership is not a possibility.

Moreover, some politicians aren’t happy with the idea that Macquarie and Texas Pacific is said to split the thing up. Some Qantas-divisions would be incorporated in the different companies of Macquarie.

Qantas is a national symbol for Australia and a very important carrier Down Under.

In other financial news: there is speculation that the Belgian brewer InBev is preparing a bid on Fosters.

Willem Zonggonau

October 4, 2006

Willem ‘Wim’ Zonggonau died in a Sydney hospital. The man is an important independence activist from the Indonesian Papua province (West Papua). He had a strong heart stroke and didn’t survived it. Zonggonau gave readings in Australia and has spent the last 37 years protesting against Indonesia.

West Papua is in the north of Australia. A couple of years ago, Australia received boatloads of refugees from the Indonesian province. Australia accepted earlier this year 42 refugees and sent one back. Indonesia wasn’t pleased with this decision.

A while ago a dissident predicted an exodus of Papuan people that would flee to Australia.

Belgian workers have found the bodies of four Australian soldiers in Zonnebeke, western Flanders. The remains were brought to the Tyne Cot Cemetry in Passendale. On that cemetry are different unknown Australian soldiers burried. The kwartet died in 1917. With the help of th colour of the boots and a found badge, archeologist assume the four soldiers are Australian. It will be very difficult to recover the identity of the soldiers.

Police overseas

August 26, 2006

The Bbc writes that the Australian government has decided to increase the amount of police men that can be deployed in South East Asia and the Pacific. The move is a response to the instability in the region, says prime minister John Howard.

Some figures: the Australian Foreign Police has 800 personnel, 400 are serving abroad. That number will be increased to 1.200. The future operational response group will have 150 officers. Thursday, the government decided to expand the army with 2.600 troops.

Howard is a bit pessimistic about the stability in the region and wants that Australia plays an important role in peace keeping – and keeping its influence in the neighbourhood.

Today, Australia has police officers in Solomon Islands, East Timor, Nauru, Vanuatu, Sudan, Cyprus and Jordan. The country has send troops to East Timor and the Solomon Islands.