From - Thu Sep 10 20:27:18 1998
Subject: recent international news of interest

[REUTERS] Australia's Hanson capturing govt voters Tuesday September 1 By Michael Perry SYDNEY - Australia's populist One Nation party has eroded support for Prime Minister John Howard's government, an opinion poll on Tuesday showed.

[REUTERS] Australian govt now level with Labor in first poll Tuesday September 1 CANBERRA - The first major opinion poll conducted since Australian Prime Minister John Howard called an election on Sunday shows support for the conservative coalition government and the Labor opposition now equal on 40 percent.

[REUTERS] Financial fears raised in Australia poll campaign August 31 SYDNEY Australia's political leaders hit the campaign trail Monday for an October general election, selling rival economic visions to voters in the shadow of world financial turmoil.

[AP] Four ex-prime ministers sign anti-racism letter in Australia August 31 CANBERRA Four former Australian prime ministers signed an open letter Monday urging voters to reject racist candidates in the upcoming national election.

[IRISH TIMES] Race issue clouds clarity of contest in troubled world Tuesday, September 1 By Terry Friel, in Sydney Australia: Australia's political leaders hit the campaign trail yesterday for an October general election, selling rival economic visions to voters in the shadow of world financial turmoil.

[IRISH TIMES] ONP to dominate election campaign Monday, August 31 By Christopher Zinn, Sydney Australia: Ms Pauline Hanson and her anti-immigration One Nation Party will face their first test of federal support on October 3rd after the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, yesterday announced the date for a general election.

[SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST] Surfing for work proves jobless affair Tuesday September 1 Royal fare: Could 'Queen' Pauline be preparing to serve up a policy manifesto of tax-free fish 'n' chips? NICK TABAKOFF So much for the issue of race in Australia. The country's leader, John Howard would have us believe that the just-announced election campaign is based almost solely on economic management.

[THE TIMES] Waltzing to defeat Leading article August 31 Australia faces a bruising general election hijacked by race John Howard's victory over the Australian Labor Party two years ago was the kind of landslide that Western politicians dream about. Ousting Labor after 13 contentious years, he returned his Liberal-National coalition to power with a majority so strong that it looked set for another two or three terms.

[THE TIMES] Australian parties sound racist alarm AUSTRALASIA Pauline Hanson: shrugged off "has-beens" September 1 1998 FROM ROGER MAYNARD IN SYDNEY FOUR former Australian Prime Ministers moved to quell the growing influence of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party yesterday by signing an open letter urging voters not to support racist candidates in next month's general election, which was called on Sunday by the Prime Minister, John Howard.

[BBC] Computer hacker strikes election blow Tuesday, September 1 World: Asia-Pacific Amending a website appears to be fairly straightforward for hackers A computer hacker has caused mayhem on Australia's ruling party Website, striking the first low blow in what promises to be an election campaign of underhand tactics.

[THE GUARDIAN] 'AUSTRALIA'S KEY TEST - WILL VOTERS PICK ISOLATION? Editorial Monday August 31 [n.b. not on line] 'The Australian government has been between a rock and the proverbial hard place since Pauline Hanson's new One Nation party took a quarter of the vote in the Queensland elections in June. Her success in Queensland, and her general appeal across Australia, as attested in opinion polls, revealed that the number of Australians who no longer trust or believe the established parties was far larger than mainstream politicians had imagined even in their worst dreams. Her simplistic messages on race and the economy and her plain woman's rejection of the multicultural principles that have prevailed in Australia for 25 years threatened both the ruling conservative coalition of the Liberal and National parties and the Labor opposition. 'One Nation took votes from both sides of the political street, but the greater danger was to the conservative parties, who saw that Hanson might deprive them of victory in the general election they had by law to call between now and next summer. The dilemma of John Howard, the Liberal prime minister, has been a difficult one. He could go to the voters early, when Hanson's appeal would still be fresh but Australia's economic situation, inexorably weakening under the impact of the Asian crisis, would still be relatively favourable. Or he could go later, when Hanson might have peaked, but the economic picture could be dire. He has plumped for the first option. 'This will be Australia's most important election for many years. No doubt the prime minister hopes that the argument that it is better to have the right than the left in power in difficult economic times will be convincing. On the other hand, he has stacked the odds against himself by insisting on going to the country with a plan for value added tax which is deeply unpopular and which has lost his party, under a different leader, one recent general election already. But which of the major parties wins is less important than how strongly the voters ensconce One Nation in the Senate, where Ms Hanson's party might well end up holding the balance of power, and the Lower House, where it is just conceivable it could do the same. The whole tone and direction of Australian politics would be altered by such a result, which would put a nativist "Know Nothing" party at the centre of national affairs. On the other hand, if One Nation achieves only limited success, that would be a welcome victory for liberal values. 'But even this better outcome would not fully resolve the Australian political crisis, which is the product of a long parting of the ways between the country's elite and a large section of the Australian population. Australia is a country where the psychological distance between ordinary fold and their political leaders can be as great as the physical distance - and can, at times, be stretched to breaking point. Over the last quarter of a century, the Australian elite has pursued a dual programme of neo-liberal economic changes and of new directions in international and cultural policy. A strong attachment to Asia, evident both in an opening up of the country to Asian immigration and in the celebration of ethnic difference within Australia, has emerged. So has a different approach to black Australians, one more aware of past offences by whites, and more open to Aboriginal claims, including those on land. 'Some Australians, most evident in the declining country towns of the bush but present, too, in the suburbs and the cities, feel as threatened by these economic changes as they are perplexed by the cultural shifts. They wonder what has happened to "their" Australia in the busy world of multicultural politics, food and fashion. Whether they direct the bulk of their votes to One Nation, or whether they will give them, after all, to the established parties now promising to make up for past arrogance, is the most critical question Australia has faced for decades.'

[REUTERS] Australia Growth Figures Boost PM's Poll Bid September 2 CANBERRA Australian Prime Minister John Howard's re-election campaign was kicked along Wednesday by the release of data showing robust annual economic growth despite a year of Asian turmoil.

[THE STAR] ATC sees better times for tourism soon Tuesday, September 1 By Ahmad Zuber Ibrahim KUALA LUMPUR: The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) is unwavering in its commitment to Malaysia.

[THE INDEPENDENT] Howard faces struggle to secure a second term SEPTEMBER 1 By Robert Milliken in Sydney After two days of Australia's general election campaign, an opinion poll yesterday indicated that John Howard, the Prime Minister, would be struggling to win a fresh mandate for his conservative coalition government.

[SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST] One Nation support rises, poll finds Wednesday September 2 ROGER MAYNARD in Sydney Support for the One Nation party has risen since Prime Minister John Howard called an October election on Sunday, an opinion poll found yesterday.

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