Talk:Australia/Archive 6

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Too many links?

My impression is that the article is heaving with blue patches. Wikipedia's style manual says:

'... On the other hand, do not make too many links. An article may be considered overlinked if ... more than 10% of the words are contained in links; [if] it has more links than lines; [if] a link is repeated within the same screen—40 lines, perhaps;...'

The manual refers to years, such as 1995, 1980s, as 'low added-value links ... date forms such as year only (e.g., 1981) should be treated like any other words and linked only if there is some particular relevance.' (My highlighting)

The opening of an article probably requires a higher density of links, but could I put in a call that we keep our eyes out for unnecessary links, such as 'islands' in the very first sentence; Wikipedia is not a dictionary. There are two links, not all that far from each other (although more than the prescribed 40 lines) to '1 January 1901', 'penal colony' and 'Crown colony/ies'. I wonder why a reader would suddenly want to switch to the article on 'the United States', a little-known entity, in the middle of reading a short summary of Australian history. And just why a year such as '1911' is linked is a mystery; many other years aren't linked, and a whole year is too broad to be of value as an adjunct to this summary. While the article needs to give readers opportunities to access material that is clearly associated with the theme, and reasonably focused, I suspect that the current density of links risks pandering to attention deficit disorder.

A rough, back-of-the-envelope tally gives the following proportions of words that are in links:

Para 1 23%

Para 2: 19%

Para 3: 18%

Para 4: 9%

Para 5: 20%

In my view, a balance is required to make the text easy to read.

What do other people think?

203.217.26.158 03:28, 31 July 2005 (UTC) The text above is mine—the system logged me out while I was writing it, for some reason. Tony 03:30, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

The Style for dates says that all dates including month and day should be linked, so that the date-formatting preference of the reader can be applied. I had misremembered that, and have been linking most dates (including just years) that occur when I'm editing. I don't know if I'd ever done it to this article. Perhaps others have too. --ScottDavis 08:40, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Scott, excuse my ignorance of W procedures; does that mean that I can turn off the links to dates in my own preferences? What do you think about the more general issue of overlinking? Tony 09:03, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

I don't think you can turn them off, but you can make them display in the format you prefer to read:
"July 31, 2005" July 31, 2005
"31 July 2005" 31 July 2005
"2005-07-31" 2005-07-31
"2005 July 31" 2005 July 31
--ScottDavis 09:56, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Scott. So, does anyone mind if I go through and judiciously remove a few links? ... Like the year-only dates, words such as 'island' and repeated links, such as 'penal colony'? Should I first list the ones proposed for delinking here? 203.217.76.203 07:53, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Just go ahead and delink the low-value links.--nixie 09:39, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
I was going to say "go ahead", but then found a reason not to for most examples, so perhaps you better list them here first. Penal colony is linked twice from different sections, and a person reading one and interested to follow the link may not have found the other one. Both 1911 and 1829 articles contain the event referred to where they are linked from. I would usually prefer to err on the side of too many links rather than not enough, so perhaps waiting for a few more responses is good, too. --ScottDavis 10:08, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Points noted, thanks. I'll list some here for delinking soon. I'm inclined to think that readers shouldn't be encouraged to switch to a link on penal colony at the top, which is big-picture stuff; I'm hoping that readers who might be interested in that link would bother to soldier on down to the history section, where it is linked. I think we'd still be erring on the side of too many links even if we delinked a quarter to a third of them, according to Wikipedia's guidelines. I don't always agree with the guidelines, but on this matter I can see where they're coming from (readability). Many W articles are overlinked, I reckon. Tony 13:16, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, to be honest, that's why this article should be consistent with that. I reckon we should go with actual practice, as opposed to what that particular guidline seems to be saying. I'm a little bit puzzled: it doesn't do any positive harm to link to other articles. Extensive cross-referencing is a great strength. Wikipedia is not paper. Slac speak up! 09:35, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Slac, don't you think that peppering the text with blue links makes it just a little harder to read, and synoptically less attractive? The denser the linking, the less the prominence of each link; part of my push to ration links is to invest those that are valuable with greater importance for the reader.

Another problem with using low-value links, e.g., 'islands', '19th century' encourages readers, esp. children and relatively uninformed readers, to divert and get lost in a sea of unfocused information. I think that one of the key advantages of presenting information on a computer is the ability of the writers/designers to hide information as much as to display it. I know it sounds controlling, but I think readers like to be funnelled in a particular direction, and that many people find it daunting to have too much choice. In my view, Wikipedia should strengthen its policies on linking; overall, I think there are far too many links in W articles. What do you think? Tony 04:03, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Period of habitation

Nixie has (rightly) reverted the anon edit which added 140,000 years to the intro. The intro says about 50,000 years. The History section says 42,0000 to 48,000 with a reference. History of Australia says at least 50,000 years. History of Australia before 1901 says "about 53,000 years ago, but much room for debate remains". Australian Aborigines says probably over 50,000 years, and possibly up to 100,000 years. The intro seems a fair summary of the other estimates, but we should possibly try to rationalise the other estimates. --ScottDavis 10:08, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Ideally the article Australian Aborigines would discuss the data surrounding the first human habiataion, the last review I read supported the 45-50,000 mark, I'll dig up the refernce for anyone interested--nixie 10:13, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
The Mungo Man is about 60,000 years old, according to dating done in 1999 by researchers at ANU. Their results were in Journal of Human Evolution, vol 36 pp 591-612 (I only have the reference in front of me, I'll try to dig up the article). Stratigraphic testing gives 43,000 years. Electron spin resonance on a piece of tooth enamel gave 62,000 +- 6000 years, as did uranium-series dating. Optically stimulated luminescence dating gave 61,000 +- 2000 years. In 2003 a multi-disciplinary team led by MU got a more conservative figure of 40,000 years [1]. The older dates come from other archeological evidence which suggests human interaction with the landscape, eg. use of fire for land management. This theory began in the 1980s, and is still controversial [2]. I'll do some more research tomorrow. There's no reason why we can't mention more than one date though. --bainer (talk) 13:19, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Interesting stuff—if a way can be found of briefly, succinctly expressing it in the article, that could be good. Tony 13:19, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Template:Australia

I removed Template:Australia because all the links contained in the template already exist in the section on "States and Territories". The template is redundant and not needed on the page - the template is for navigating among the compontent articles on "States and Territories". The topical article (Australia) is definately linked in all these articles and not part of the same set or same level of articles in a series. --Jiang 17:04, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

Upper case initials for positions?

We discussed this on the previous page, and people seemed to favour upper case for items such as 'Prime Minister'. I note that the Wikipedia Style Manual recommends lower case for generic uses, giving the example: 'De Gaulle was the French president.' So perhaps I'll not revert my lower case changes (as I said I would) until people have had a chance to form a view about the W Style Manual on this matter. Tony 13:24, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

The lower case versions rub quite badly against my instincts. I'm going to re-install the upper-case versions, since as far as I've encountered (constitutional texts, etc.) they are meant to be capitalised. I think this is probably more a feature of Australian than American English. Slac speak up! 09:37, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree. The MoS is a guideline, and its two most fundamental recommendations are that an article's original style be respected and that there should be consistency of style within an article. Moreover, there are exceptions to recommendations insofar as they conform with the national variety of English used. I have stated before (not without disagreeance) that Australian English capitalises the words in question.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 10:06, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, where are your references for this assertion about Australian English? I have to say that this notion of the ultimate conservatism with respect to not changing style will petrify the language if taken to extremes. Why should it be the case? Why shouldn't existing style, as statements are, be subject to review.

I note that you start by saying that the MoS is a guideline to support your view that this article should go against the MoS in this respect. These 'fundamental recommendations', then, are also just guidelines.

I really do want to see some references cited for your assertions about AustEng.

Tony 10:13, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

I don't quite understand what's going on here. The MoS just after the sentence that Tony quotes, suggests that capital letters are appropriate for most of the references in this article, as they are formal names of office, or references to a specific office. As I read it, the MoS is possibly contradicting itself in some areas, but is definitely supporting the use of upper case for describing the office of Prime Minister, etc. JPD 11:47, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

The Austraian Style Manual has the same recommendation as the MoS. 'prime minister' does not need to be capitalised every time it is used. If the rule is that reference to a specific office is capitalised then no occurrence of a phrase like 'prime minister' can ever be lower case except in the rare instances where generic prime ministers are dscussed. Alan 03:20, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

List of candidates for delinking

Please see the discussion above.

I propose that the following words be delinked; these are probably the uncontentious ones. Later, I'll post another list that may be generate more debate.

Opening islands (dictionary function), km (dictionary function)

Name

Roman (latin already linked just above), Dutch

This section hasn't got that many links anyway - why remove them? Latin is a language, Roman is talking about hte time of the roman empire.

History

infectious disease (dictionary function/too general), forced migration (dictionary function/too general), the removal of children (dictionary function—better to link from the daughter article on Aust. Aborigines?), genocide (dictionary function)

removal of children links to Stolen Generation - worth keeping. IMHO dictionary function of genocide is also worth while.

Foreign relations and military

United States (unhelpful, since ubiquitous)

States and territories

state and territory (duplicate, see under subtitle), heads of governments (unnecessary)

Geography and climate

km2 (dictionary function), km (dictionary function and repeated), drought (dictionary function), desert (dictionary function)—retain semi-arid link, which probably links to 'desert'?,

no, it doesn't - they are not the same thing. I am undecided on these links.

sand dunes (dictionary function), m (dictionary function)

Flora and fauna

desert (repeated), semi-arid (repeated),

definitely agree, because they are repeated.

diverse (dictionary function), flowering plants, mammals, birds (twice!), fish (dictionary functions), but leave 'marsupials' and 'montremes' linked? endemic (dictionary function), protected areas (too general/unnecessary),

no - it links to Protected areas of Australia; worth keeping.

Economy

the other nations (better to leave those links to the daughter arcticle), floating, telecommunications (links to tellecommunications in Australia), recession, unemployment, tourism, education, financial services, agriculture, export

I don't see any harm in having these links, particularly agriculture linking to Agriculture in Australia. Remove export, though.

Demographics

LInk White Australia Policy here, but not further up?

It's worth having in both places.

the other nations, the other languages, apprenticeships, endangered,

Endangered -> Endangered languages is good.

bilingual, human rights

Links to Human rights in Australia

Culture

indigenous (that link won't be focused on Australia)

It links to Australian Aborigine

symphony orchestra, cave, opera, television networks, cycling, etc etc etc

keep sports for consistency
For most of the rest, I agree that they can be removed. However, I think it's worth remembering that a summary article like this is always going to have significantly more links than the average article. JPD 17:32, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
I'm mostly in favor, except for (a) the country names (b) the links which you've called 'too general' that actually link to something like communications in Australia. In the opening section, I'd further remove Southern Hemisphere (dictionary), penal colony (should be linked in history, not here), parliametary, democracy (but 'parliamentary democracy' is a legitamate link to 'parliamentary system') and Elizabeth II (though perhaps the Queen of Australia link should expand to swallow her and the 'as' in between). I would be in favor of even more removal from the intro on the grounds that it's duplicated in the infobox. Felix the Cassowary 04:16, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Something important to consider is that the average reader of the article may not be well-read or may have english as a second language. So I would argue that many of the dictionary definition links would be useful for that type of reader. Many links are piped and link to actual subarticles on Australian content, as Scott has pointed out. To add to the confusion, I have bolded things I think could go. --nixie 04:43, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Sure, but let's not think that just because a word isn't linked, there isn't a Wikipedia article on it. Children and non-native speakers are welcome to tap into the search box any terms they please, and will usually be rewarded with an article. It's a good reason not to blue out so much.

I'm glad to have been apprised of the number of links that do have relevance to Australia, which I haven't delinked (I hope).

Tony 09:51, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

the daughter articles!

This main article is lookin' pretty good, I think, even though it will continue to evolve. However, many of the daughter articles are seriously wanting. I wonder whether contributors might have time to direct their talents to them over the next few months. I'm willing to contribute to 'Economy of Australia', which is much less developed than the best analogous articles. Tony 04:07, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

Improving the bit on political parties?

The section on politics currently finishes this way:

There are three major political parties: the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party, and the National Party of Australia. The Liberal/National Coalition has been in power since the 1996 election; the Coalition won control of the Senate in the 2004 election. Since 1996, the Prime Minister of Australia has been John Howard. The Labor Party is in power in every state and territory.

For the foreigner, this is a bit of a jumble of party names that provides no useful description of the state of play in Australian politics (perhaps there's nothing to say?). I wonder whether we could go with John Howard's own description of his party, add a pretty uncontentious equivalent for the ALP, and mention the minor parties. Here's a draft.

There are three major political parties: the centrist Australian Labor Party, and the centre-right Liberal and National Parties (which traditionally form a coalition representing, for the most part, urban and rural/regional constituencies, respectively). Independent members and several minor parties—including the Greens and the Australian Democrats—have achieved representation in Australian parliaments, mostly in upper houses, although their influence has been marginal. The Liberal/National Coalition led by the Prime Minister, John Howard, has been in power in Canberra since the 1996 election. In the 2004 election, the federal government won control of the Senate, the first time that this has happened in more than 30 years. The Labor Party is in power in every state and territory.

Tony 04:00, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Looks good, I was just thinking that that pargraph could use some work.--nixie 04:08, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
I'd be quite opposed to describing the ALP as "Centrist". Slac speak up! 08:12, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
They're not especially left anymore.--nixie 08:16, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
In terms of the Australian political spectrum, centre-left is probably a good description for Labor. --bainer (talk) 08:31, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
That's quite true, especially since "Left" and "right" only have usefulness as comparative terms. I don't know if they'd be all that informative included in the article. How about either social democratic or trade union-linked? Slac speak up! 08:32, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, social democratic would imply centre-left wouldn't it? I think either centre-left or social democratic would be appropriate descriptors for this brief explaination; although I'm leaning towards centre-left as the better of the two. Nice reword Tony.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 08:55, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

What is remotely left-wing about the ALP nowadays? Some elements of the party might describe themselves as left-wing, although whether this is in the traditional sense is doubtful (some elements of the Australian Democrats and the Greens might be a little closer to the mark). But the ALP is now dominated by a conservative, cautious strategy designed to appeal to (conservative, cautious) swinging voters in marginal electorates, both as the opposition in Canberra and as the party of goverment at state and territory levels. 'Social democratic' or 'centre-left', in my view, would give a foreign/uninformed reader the impression that the ALP acts as a significant force against unbridled capitalism, which doesn't appear to be the case in modern Australia. The Hawke-Keating government may have marginally influenced industrial relations in the interests of unions and 'workers', but in the larger scheme it implemented reforms that the majority saw as improving the efficiency of capital. I see no evidence that the party has drifted to the 'left' since then; on the contrary, it has drifted to the right under the shadow of the Howard government. That is why I used the term 'centrist' in the draft; it's not specific enough to give the wrong impression, and characterises the party as a little to the left of the Coalition. Anything stronger would, frankly, be wishful thinking. Tony 13:11, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Centre-left, as opposed to centre (Australian Democrats), and as opposed to left (Australian Greens). As long as it's clear we're talking about the Australian political spectrum here, and when we say 'left' or 'right' we mean it relative to other Australian parties. --bainer (talk) 13:36, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
This is why defining parties in terms of each other is difficult (as a matter of interest, historically this is how the Australian political spectrum works but in reverse: every other party defines itself primarily as not being Labor. This is seen most obviously with the Democrats and the Greens). Treating "Left" and "Right" as some sort of absolute leads to problematic assumptions such as the idea that a left-wing party is one that is "a significant force against unbridled capitalism" - cf. Lech Walesa. The very problem with "centrist" is its non-specicifity. As Granny Weatherwax once said, "it's not where you stand, it's which direction you're facing". I know some Greens who dismiss the idea that they are "left-wing" any more than they are "right wing" - Green politics doesn't focus on such a spectrum. Similarly, it doesn't necessarily matter how close the ALP's policies are to anyone else's, since we're looking for what makes it distinct, not what makes it similar to anything else. Slac speak up! 23:01, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I had some interesting discussions when I was living in New Zealand with people studying New Zealand politics. The strategy there for political parties is to try and appear centerist, and to discredit oppositon by painting them as right or left wing. I can seem similarites here. Without having the section turn into a messy political spectrum, I think the section would work fine without applying an arbitrary statement of political ideology.--nixie 00:55, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Well, this certainly has generated a lot of text. :-) I can live with 'centre-left' for the ALP, I guess, and I think it's helpful for outsiders to try at least a vague comparison of the angle of the main parties, however similar they are now. Slac, perhaps politics now suffers from 'non-specificity'. I've pasted the new text into the article; perhaps let the dust settle for a day or two, and see what you think? Tony 01:40, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

(Coming in late here) I don't like the idea of describing parties as "right", "centre", "left", etc. Every country has its own ideas of what the political spectrum means (how many Australians would consider the US Democratic Party left-wing?), and this entry (IMHO) is of most value if written for an audience outside Australia. Is it possible to write the party descriptions so that their core constituencies/ideals (union-rural-greenies-protesters etc.) become the primary thingies? I must admit I can't see a way of doing it well. For one thing, the Liberal Party would prove a sticking point. --fuddlemark 22:26, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Revisionism

I chopped this recent addition from the history section:

though in the battle along the Kokoda track, in Papua New Guinea where Australian troops were vastly outnumbered by Japanese enemies, American forces only played a limited role. Opinions of General Douglas McArthur, then seen as the saviour of Australia from Japanese invasion, have since been revised by writers such as Paul Ham who believe that not only did McArthur play a limited and remote role in the defence of Australia, but in some cases he hindered Australian troops.

I actually don't think it's relevant, there are many engagements in the Pacific where Australia was not significantly supported by the US and vice versa. I don't think McArthur is widely credited with saving Australia from a Japanese invasion, and mostly it seems to be there to discuss the writings of Paul Ham. Any objections?--nixie 01:05, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Not from me. I also doubt its necessity.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 13:22, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, that's where you are wrong. McArthur controlled access to all information to the media (as would be expected in time of war) but also controlled access to information to the government. American forces did play a limited role in the defense of Australia on Kokoda track. That McArthur hindered troops can be seen by his reaction to the fighting withdrawal of Maroubra force by Lieutenant General Sydney Rowell. McArthur evidently didn't understand the terrain (he advocated that they defend "the Gap", believing this to be the best place to concentrate Japanese forces and halt them. The problem was there was no "gap" in the Owen-Stanleys - according to Quadrant:
But why, people are asking, didn’t they stop to defend the Gap, about which there has been so much song and dance? The reason is simple. There ain’t no Gap. There is just a broad saddle on the back of the Range with two tracks straddling over it. The Gap was named by the commercial pilots who found here a wide break in the line of the Owen Stanley Range and flew through it. On the ground itself there is no defile, no gorge, no precipitous mountain pass, nothing which can remotely be called a Gap from the point of view of anybody on the ground. One or two of us have said this before, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in yet in certain quarters. [3]

He also didn't understand how to drop supplies: supplies were dropped from planes without parachutes: a decision made by the top in Australia. There were several documented cases of mortar crews dying because their ordinance exploded when in the weapons - a direct result of dropping ammunition without parachutes. They refused to land planes to fly out the sick and wounded citing safety reasons: yet several times they landed personnel and supplies (towards the end of the campaign it was announced that "hospital planes" were to be built: a tacit acknowledgement that this should have been done in the first place).

So, yes, MacArthur hindered Australian troops. Of that there can be no doubt.
Lastly, you make out that Paul Ham's book is the opinion of just one author. Nothing could be further from the truth: Ham's book was read to critical acclaim in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Courier Mail. Extensively footnoted and researched, no fact in the book was without a reference to back it up. Paul Ham researched the Batallion histories, interviewed the original soldiers of the campaign, and cites plenty of secondary sources to back up what he has to say. If anything, the book is well measured, well researched and accurate. I shall put back my material in an altered form. - Ta bu shi da yu 03:36, 14 August 2005 (UTC)


I still fail to see how any of this is relevant to this article. McArthur wasn't a great general- the article doesn't even mention him. I don't see how positve reviews from the Australian media support the claims of Paul Ham, and why this article should promote his book.--nixie 03:45, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

I'll also add that there has not been a single academic review of his book published to date.--nixie 04:10, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Wha?! You're kidding, aren't you? - Ta bu shi da yu 04:48, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Nope I searched all the indexed history journals that I have access to at ANU.--nixie 04:50, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Fair enough. There should be, IMO, but I can't influence this. It doesn't make the info less reliable however. - Ta bu shi da yu 03:35, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Pare down the info, that's fine. Just don't remove everything about Kokoda - this was a very important campaign. - Ta bu shi da yu 04:48, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

The stuff about McArthur is blatant POV trying to smear his reputation; McArthur, who it cannot be claimed isn't one of WW2's most important figures - good or bad. There is no reason to add this paragraph, as it doesn't affect Australian history. I support removing the stuff about him and the author, but keeping the Kokoda reference. Harro5 04:51, August 14, 2005 (UTC)
I am not trying to smear his reputation. This is information that is widely accessible and if you felt the urge to look into it I think you would find that more than one source has said these things. - Ta bu shi da yu 03:35, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm trying to work in a mention of Kokoda, but I don't know where to put it so that it won't interupt the flow of the exisitng text.--nixie 04:55, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Cool. So long as it's in there, I will be happy. The info on MacArthur - OK, not so important for a summary. I was just annoyed that all the material was taken out without an attempt to resolve the issue. - Ta bu shi da yu 03:35, 15 August 2005 (UTC)
Ta bu shi da yu: I don't think anybody is suggesting the campaign was not important, only that the information you added is too detailed for the top-level Australian article, but could be put in History of Australia since 1901, Military history of Australia or Kokoda Track Campaign. --Scott Davis Talk 08:54, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Ya, will look into doing this. - Ta bu shi da yu 03:35, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Pronunciation

/əˈstɹæɪljə/? Unless I'm fundamentally mistaken I'm pretty sure I and everyone around me says /əˈstɹæɪli:ə/. Is this some regional thing? My Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the same pronunciation more or less. I have physical difficulty even saying the first version.--Randwicked 16:46, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

To be honest, I'd be surprised if there was a whole extra syllable in there. Think of Advance Australia Fair: do you really say Austra-li-ans all let us rejoice? If you can't say it, maybe you're trying too hard; it's a very weak glide. I don't know if it's a regional thing; John Howard says /ljə/ and he's from Sydney. But I don't know, maybe if we keep an ear out for someone saying it on the radio or something. Slac speak up! 20:58, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
I (from Melbourne) agree with Randwicked. The two pronunciations I'm familiar with are /Ostræij@/ and /@stræili.@/. A song is a bad guide to pronunciation, particularly the number of syllables, because it mandates them. 'Toil', for instance, is normally pronounced to rhyme with 'royal', but in the anthem I often hear it more like 'tawl' because it's meant to be one syllable. I also agree that [lj] is difficult to say; my pronunciation of 'aluminium' approaches ['æ.j@mInj@m] and of 'failure' tends to be more like [fæili@], still rhyming with a four-syllable version of Australia. (As for John Howard, his accent sounds fake, so I wouldn't use it as a guide.) — Felix the Cassowary 22:37, 10 August 2005 (UTC)
It definitely has four syllables when I speak it. I will add this pronunciation to the article if noone objects too violently. - Randwicked 10:08, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Demographics edits

A few points

  1. The productivity comission did not describe a nationwide housing shortage, in fact the only shortage it describes is in Sydney and is specific to first home buyers. A housing shortage implies that there are not places for people to live, which is clearly not the case. The number of factors contributing to a shortage of homes for first home buyers is enormous and cannot be pinpointed to immigration, to say it's the immigrants fault when you could as easily blame old people for not dying or rich people for buying investment propperties, is POV.
  2. Australia cannot support such levels of population growth, a link to a entirely partisan groups thoughts on the subject does not satisfy NPOV, find some actual stats.

--nixie 00:20, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Nixie, my edit summary referred to the anonymous edit, not yours! Tony 00:49, 11 August 2005 (UTC)


What partisan group? I have not linked to a partisan group.

The term "housing shortage" is simply a summary of the actual situation, and the Productivity Commission certainly cited population growth/immigration as a factor in rising demand for housing.

Jigjog


You had when you made the same changes as an IP, and referenced www.population.org.au; now you have linked to lecture notes from Monash University, also not a credible source.

The fact you single out immigration as a factor contributing to a "housing shortage" when it is clearly not the only factor is POV.

--nixie 02:03, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

The key findings page of the Productivity Commission report do not mention immigration - it is about the "supportive" taxation environment making it easier for people to buy houses, thus increasing the price for new home buyers. The immigration edits need to be toned down or removed. --ScottDavis | Talk 02:13, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I agree with nixie and ScottDavis on these matters. Tony 02:25, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Possible new paragraph:

In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age. A large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002–0316) live outside their home country. Australia has maintained one of the most active immigration programs in the world. This has contributed to the diversification and enrichment of Australian culture. Some environmentalists and others express concern that the driest continent in the world may be approaching the maximum sustainable population for available resources (particularly fresh water)19. Most immigrants are skilled; the immigrant quota includes categories for family members and refugees. In the last few years net immigration has been the highest rate since the late 1980s21 although this is falling again20.

I have reworked the paragraph keeping the references, but reading what those papers say to me (maybe a different POV?). I confess I haven't read the daughter article and perhaps this should be mostly moved there. The paragraph/section is still a bit jumbled in terms of what it's really trying to say, but I don't have time to look any more now. --ScottDavis | Talk 04:28, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I've done some reading- and think that this is a decent NPOV section:

In common with many other developed countries, Australia is experiencing a demographic shift towards an older population, with more retirees and fewer people of working age due to large number of Australians (759,849 for the period 2002–0316) living outside their home country and relatively low fertility rates.[4] To maintain the size of the workforce Australia has one of the most active immigration programs in the world. Most immigrants are skilled; the immigrant quota includes categories for family members and refugees. A relatively high population growth rate coupled with high and increasing levels of per capita consumption is an area of concern in terms of environmentally sustainable development. [5]

"Most active immigration programs in world". I'm thinking of the millions pouring across the border from Mexico into the US, the population shifts in the new Europe..."Kyle Andrew Brown 16:13, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but there is the "one of" clause. Besides, as you say, those are just phenomena (shifts), whereas this sentence refers to an immigration programme - which, apparently, is returning to just below the highs of the post-war era (something like 95,000 skilled migrants are being sought in the next year - look for an expo near you...).--Cyberjunkie | Talk 16:41, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Let me know what you think and I'll add it and re-number the notes.--nixie 05:59, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I think it's okay, but I have a few concerns. I realise it isn't contradiction per se to say that Australia is experiencing both "relatively low fertility rates" and "relatively high population growth" in the same paragraph, but it appears contradictory and repetitive. Also, the population growth rate is "high" relative to the OECD, not generally. In a global context, Australia's growth rate could be said to be quite low, relatively. Should this be made clearer?--Cyberjunkie | Talk 09:10, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

In response to the points made here let me reply. The Productivity Commission Report does cite immigration/population as a factor in raising demand for housing in the body of the report, if not in the conclusions. I could instead cite material by Doctor Bob Birrell from Monash University - I will have to find it. The comment by Scott Davis that the rate of immigration is "falling again" is completely incorrect. The ABS has changed the way it calculates the net migration statistic, Immigration has consistently increased for at least the last eight years. This is also demonstrated on the DIMIA website. It is not necessarily correct to say that Australia has “relatively low fertility rates”. The source of this quote is from 1996, and is thus out of date. And what is it relative to? Since then the fertility rate in Australia has in fact increased. The main point that needs to be made is that the article contains a number of comments in favour of immigration, and I was trying to add some balance to the article. The other alternative is to delete the favourable references to immigration. Jigjog


Immigration causing an increase in housing demand is a far cry from a housing shortage. The arcile as it was said (a) that there is immigration to Australia and (b) that immigratiion had contributed to multiculturalism. Both true and neither POV. I'm reverting the recent additions until this has been propperly discussed since what it says now is factually incorrect.--nixie 09:39, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

Is there a housing shortage/demand increase? This doesn't seem to be reflected in housing prices. The stockmarket continues to head up, which wouldn't be the case if investors were putting their money into housing.
The article doesn't seem to be particularly pro-immigration. I'm not terribly pro-immigration and I'm sure I would have noticed if it were tilting too far in that direction. Pete 09:45, 11 August 2005 (UTC)
I second nixie. Before your edits, Jigjog (including those you made anonymously), there were no comments in favour of anything. Your additions changed this (especially the earliest), and the article instead expressed a view that was (even mildly) anti-immigration. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 09:52, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

You do not seem to have noticed that I changed my original wording of “nation-wide housing shortage” to “a shortage of affordable housing”. I think that is indisputable. It has been widely reported that housing affordability has decreased substantially in the last few years. At least one user is pro-immigration because he/she commented that he/she would remove my edits because they were negative towards immigration. Jigjog

I don't care for immigration one way or the other. The PC report identifies immigration as one of many factors that have incresed demand in the housing sector, to single it out as the cause is POV.--nixie 10:33, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

I did not "single out" immigration, I said it has "contributed" to a shortage of affordable housing. Anyway, I have decided to keep the comments I was trying to add out of the Australian demographic section and instead create a new sub article within the "immigration to Australia" article, entitled "Views on Immigration". Jigjog

Whether immigration has caused a shortage of housing is difficult, if not impossible, to prove; housing supply and demand are related to a number of complex, interacting forces, including interest rates, the taxation system, competition between banks for lending, and cultural factors, aside from changes in population levels. It's so complex that senior economists typically cannot reach agreement, even on the fundamentals of the area. I think we're on unstable territory to attempt simple assertions here. Aside from that, linking high or low levels of immigration to positive and negative effects on the economy is a highly emotive issue that is likely to reduce the authority of the article for many readers. Perhaps these matters should be debated with respect to a daughter article. Tony 11:37, 11 August 2005 (UTC) PS I don't see a clear relationship between housing and stock investment: it's multifactorial.

My comment that immigration is falling was based on the sentence "Preliminary net overseas migration was 29,300 persons during the December quarter 2004, a 14.2% decrease on the December quarter 2003." which appears as the third bullet in the "December Key Points" near the to of the referenced ABS page. The main cause of a shortage of available housing in Sydney is some bizarre desire by too many people to want to live in Sydney. If they were prepared to move to other places, it would be more affordable. There have been several rural towns giving away land for housing with the catch being that the "buyer" must build a house and live in it (ie not try to rent it out). --Scott Davis Talk 14:32, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

A fall in net migration from one quarter to the next is statistically meaningless. The quarterly figures often go up and down. The annual figures are certainly increasing, and the Australian Government (via the Department of imimgration) has certainly increased the immigration quota every year for the last number of years (nearly a decade I think). Re the shortage of affordable housing, if you look at what organisations like ACCOSS have been saying, you will certainly see that there is a shortage of affordably housing right across Australia. Jigjog

The quarterly fall I noted is not statistically meaningless, as it is a fall between December quarters of successive years. I agree more numbers would give better indications of trends. Most of the page discusses quarterly effects, so it's hard to interpret what longer-term trends there are. This annual population growth rate (1.2%) has been consistent with the levels recorded in previous years. covers all forms of population movement. It says over 5 years annual immigration is up 20.9% and emmigration up 41.1%. --Scott Davis Talk 03:00, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

The population of Australia has quadrupled since WW1, so there is no point in the article saying that it has doubled - that is misleading.

The reference to the Inquiry into Australian Expatriats is useless, because not only does the link not go to the actual report, but there is no page or chapter reference. My reference to the Productivity Commission was criticised for the same reason, and I inserted the page number.

I also think the paragraph does not read well by jumping from the ageing demographic to the expatriat issue, then to immigration in no logical sequence, and think this could be improved. Jigjog 01:54, 21 August 2005 (UTC)

Two Pay TV services

What defines a "pay TV service" that there are two in Australia? Foxtel is either the only one I know of, or one of at least three in Australia — others being Austar and Optus Television. We might also wish to count Telstra, AAPT and Primus. Are these all counted as one, and I am unaware of the other, or is the article wrong/out-of-date? --Scott Davis Talk 06:23, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Looks like its wrong.--nixie 06:37, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Telstra, AAPT and Primus all resell Foxtel's Digital product, Telstra also resell Austar's Digital Product. There are a few more Pay TV providers then the ones mentioned, however they are either niche (Foreign Language, being UBI World TV) or limited by coverage area (such as Neighbourhood Cable and TransACT --bacco007 06:19, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

LinkFix Dump: Any Takers?

See User:Ambush Commander/LinkFix dump

Since this article is due to hit the front page fairly soon, I was wondering if anyone would be up to the task of fixing the article's wikilinks. They are as follows:

LinkFix dump for "Australia", no edits made:

Crown Colony % British overseas territory
James Smith (botanist) % James Edward Smith
Hunter-gatherers % Hunter-gatherer
Cape York % Cape York Peninsula
New Holland ! Disambiguation Page
Crown Colony % British overseas territory
Statute of Westminster % Statute of Westminster 1931
White Australia Policy % White Australia policy
Australian Parliament House % Parliament House, Canberra
Old Parliament House % Old Parliament House, Canberra
Executive branch % Executive (government)
Reserve powers % Reserve power
Bicameral % Bicameralism
Unicameral % Unicameralism
Cocos Islands % Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Coral Sea Islands Territory % Coral Sea Islands
Australia, New Zealand, United States security treaty % ANZUS
ASEAN % Association of Southeast Asian Nations
APEC % Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
OECD % Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Millennium Development Goal % Millennium Development Goals
Sand dune % Dune
Tropical climate % Tropics
Heard Island % Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Biota ! Disambiguation Page
AUD % Australian dollar
PRC % People's Republic of China
White Australia Policy % White Australia policy
Refugees % Refugee
Chinese languages % Chinese language
Bilingual % Multilingual
Australian art % Art of Australia
Symphony orchestra % Orchestra
Banjo Patterson % Banjo Paterson
Egalitarian % Egalitarianism
Television networks % Television network
Australian Financial Review % The Australian Financial Review
Print media % Publishing
Australian Rules football % Australian rules football

A % sign means that it's a redirect, a ! means it's a disambigation page (and it means it's a biggie, try to fix it fast). If no one takes up the task, I'll do it myself. Oh, and links are ordered the way they appear in the article. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 01:04, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

  • Thanks, I've fixed them all.--nixie 02:18, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
Neato! Thanks. — Ambush Commander(Talk) 02:27, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

Politics

Comments from Kyle Andrew Brown 01:25, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Could a writer more experienced in politics do a little rewrite on the beginning of the paragraph on the three major parites. As written it is kinda muddled with: "(which traditionally form a coalition representing, for the most part, urban and rural/regional constituencies, respectively)." I know it is kinda tricky breaking it apart but a reader can get lost in it. The information is exactly correct, but hard to decode if you are not aware of the way the parties form coalitions, and the "urban and rural/regional" reference is not really attached to what it means to be associated with.

Removed, it was a confusing addition--nixie 01:40, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Also, it would be very informative here to indicate that currently all the state governments are headed by Labor while the federal government is headed by the Nationals. I did not want to write that sentence because I am not sure how to correctly state whether the federal government is a coalition.

This is already covered in the politics section. The federal government is a coalition.--nixie 01:40, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

During Premier Carr's period in office in NSW a noticable shift has occured with the states leaving to the federal government authority what in the pre-Carr era were given more of a tug of war between the states/federal. It would be useful to describe what the current difference in responsibility is between the states and the federal governments.

This roles of the state governments are covered in the states and territories section. I think its a bit soon to comment on the changes of government in NSW and what difference it will make to state/federal realtions, and it is probably not relevant to this article--nixie 01:40, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Also, for non-Australians it would be very informative to state that voting is mandatory in federal elections with a fine assessed for nonvoting. I was not sure where this would be placed, and I am not sure whether voting is also mandatory at the state level.

Done--nixie 01:40, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

I believe the it was reported in August 2005 that there are 5 million in the workforce. If this can be confirmed it would be useful in the )

There are 10,030,300 people in the workforce [6], but I'm not going to add it to the article now since it would take a long time to re-number the notes, added the figure is in same publication as the unemployment rate.--nixie 01:43, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Compulsory voting

I noticed that the compulsory voting was changed to state that for all levels of government it is compulsory. This may be the case in some states, but I found out in my studies recently that not all states have compulsory voting at the local level.The preceding unsigned comment was added by MJK (talk • contribs) 22:09, 7 September 2005.

Voting is not compulsory for council (ie Local Government Area elections in South Australia. --Scott Davis Talk 13:48, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
South Australia has always been the most averse to compulsory voting. Enrolment is still voluntary here: so if you're not on the list, you don't have to vote. Oh, and some LGAs do employ compulsory voting. I can't remember which (doubtfull any in SA), but some do. I think we need a paragraph on the electoral system for the "Politics" section. If nobody else does, I'll try and write one next week. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 14:02, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
In Victoria, voting in local elections is compulsory, unless some conditions are meant, such as being over 70(ish). This might be the same as for state/federal elections, I'm not sure. (Some people I know forgot to vote at the most recent elections for Moreland city council, and received nasty letters from the VEC. I don't think they were fined though; I think writing a well-mannered letter in response is good enough.) —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 14:43, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I'm pretty sure that in Victoria, if you don't pay rates, then you do not have to vote in local council elections. BTW I've never voted in any local council elections and I haven't received any "nasty letters" from the VEC in the post. – AxSkov () 06:51, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
That was the old rule. now anyone who resides in the area can vote. Xtra 08:48, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
Since when? And is that "can vote" or "has to vote"? – AxSkov () 08:59, 11 September 2005 (UTC)
I don't think we need to go into this level of detail in an article on Australia, especially since local government hasn't even been mentioned at that point. If it were uniform across all states, it might be ok, but since it isn't, why not leave it for other articles? On the other hand, some more detail on the federal system would be good. JPD 16:46, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

Is Brisbane Australia?

The main page has a photo of Brisbane to represent Australia. If the picture was the Harbour bridge or the Opera House it may be more "recognisable" but would ultimately be misleading as well. Why wasn't a map of Australia shown?

It would be the same logic to use a picture of Newark, New Jersey on a front page article about The United States of America

File:DSCN3830 newarkskylinefrombridge ef.JPG
The United States of America.
The Commonwealth of Australia

--One Salient Oversight 03:56, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

We didn't pick the image, there is a main page talk page to disucss that kind of thing.--nixie 04:08, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Done. --One Salient Oversight 04:12, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Personally, I find nothing wrong with it (and no, it's not just home town cheerleading :)). The recognisable images are all in the article. Just as there's more to Sydney than the Opera House, it would be misleading to whack up an "iconic" image and say that that was Australia, as well. Slac speak up! 04:46, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
And, just quietly, Brisbane is a little bit more significant to Australia as a whole than Newark is to America as a whole. Slac speak up! 04:50, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps to clarify, Newark is a place to catch a plane bound for Europe or a train headed into New York City. Get it, it's a place people go to to find a way out.Kyle Andrew Brown 16:19, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
So, like Brisbane then Face-smile.svg! Sorry, couldn't resist...--Cyberjunkie | Talk 16:41, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
Coming back from the Wikipedia New York City meetup, user:Isomorphic and I had to walk several blocks from the train station to my car in Newark at night.... what a scary experience. →Raul654 18:20, August 16, 2005 (UTC)
...at least the car was still there though (thank goodness for little favors). →Raul654 19:15, August 16, 2005 (UTC)

Lead expansion

How do the regular editors of this article like the vastly expanded lead section?--nixie 22:58, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

To be honest, I think it's too big. The lead needs to be short so that readers are actually encouraged to move on to the substance of the article. Long sentences and detail in the introduction are not desirable. Some of the stuff could probably be moved to the article body; other stuff could be deleted. Slac speak up! 02:19, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
As far as I can tell there is nothing new there, a long lead on an already long article seems counterproductive. --nixie 02:24, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

I took out the "outback" ref again, but it could probably go back in somewhere (not necessarily the intro though). A problem that I've just realised, though, is the intro doesn't give very much mention to Australia the continent: things like oldest, most arid inhabited continent, etc. should be incorporated. Slac speak up! 02:47, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

It isn't the oldest, but it is probably the most stable land mass hence the old soils etc, it hasn't always been arid- geological time scales are a pain. --nixie 02:57, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
I didn't like the expansion much either. It kind of read like a Lonely Planet guide. However, our touch-ups seem to have made it better, though I'm not entirely sure about the paragraphs. It looks better, nonetheless.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 06:01, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm OK with the larger intro.Tony 01:17, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

HM Ships

It is a mistake to say ¨the HM Bark Endeavour¨. HM stands for His Majesty, so you are saying ¨the His Majesty´s Bark Endeavour¨, and that just isn´t right. Either ¨HM Bark Endeavour¨ or ¨the Endeavour¨ would be correct.

Thanks, boat names aren't my speciality.--nixie 04:07, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Wow! This thing really works! It's a subtle point, but something that grates when heard. Newsreaders get it wrong all the time. --Surgeonsmate.

Genocide

I take exception to the sentence:

"The Indigenous Australian population, estimated at about 350,000 at the time of European settlement,[2] declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly because of infectious disease, and forced migration, the removal of children and other colonial government policies that by today's understanding constitute genocide."

Aboriginal history is disputed in this area (take Keith Windshuttle's The Fabrication of Aboriginal Histiory, for example) and the concept of considering the decline of aboriginal populations as genocide is controversial. I would suggest that "that by today's understanding constitute genocide" be removed as it is opinion, not fact.

--Fremantle74

I agree (sort of): the question of whether the British and Australian policies towards the Aborigines constitutes "genocide" is far from settled ('cept maybe in Tasmania?), and answering it here probably counts either as POV or OR. The "sort of", of course, comes from the simple fact that Windschuttle (however his name is spelled) is not the most reliable source in town ;-). I personally think "genocide" is a reasonably apt description, but there are enough people out there who'd hit me over the head and complain about the type of coffee I'd drink if I drank coffee that I'm not about to use it in polite convos. Assuming somebody else doesn't get in first (be bold, Fremantle74!), I'll try to think of a way to paraphrase. --fuddlemark 16:55, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

I´ve looked at the Wikipedia article on genocide and it isn´t much help. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide. Is it genocide when the intentions are good? The Nazi Holocaust was indisputably genocide and deserving of condemnation, but when children are removed for their own protection, it is hard to say that this constitutes genocide. There were two test cases some years back, and it was found that there was no evidence of forced removal, and in one case the ¨half-caste¨ child had been apparently stuffed into an anthill and left to die!

For an encyclopedia, surely we need authoritative sources, and if there is debate, then both sides should be presented. --Surgeonsmate

I suggest you take the time to read the ATSIS research paper that is referenced by this article where the Australian situation with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 is discussed in length. From the article,

Even so, we have to look to the philosophy inherent in the legal wording of Article II (of the 1948 convention), namely, that genocide is the systematic attempt to destroy, by various means, a defined group's essential foundations. In this tighter legal sense, Australia is guilty of at least three, possibly four, acts of genocide: first, the essentially private genocide, the physical killing committed by settlers and rogue police officers in the nineteenth century, while the state, in the form of the colonial authorities, stood silently by (for the most part); second, the twentieth-century official state policy and practice of forcibly transferring children from one group to another with the express intention that they cease being Aboriginal ; third, the twentieth century attempts to achieve the biological disappearance of those deemed "half-caste" Aborigines; fourth, a prima facie case that Australia's actions to protect Aborigines in fact caused them serious bodily or mental harm.

So the statement in the article, that by todays standards (the Convention) that actions of the European settlers constitute genocide, in my opinion, is accurate. There is no debate, there are facts and there are people that want to deny them. --nixie 00:57, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Nixie's right. It is a valid conclusion to make under today's understanding, an understanding which is agreed in Article 2 of the CPPCG, to which Australia is signatory [7].--Cyberjunkie | Talk 01:15, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

The statement in the article says "The Indigenous Australian population, estimated at about 350,000 at the time of European settlement,[2] declined steeply for 150 years following settlement, mainly because of infectious disease, and forced migration, the removal of children and other colonial government policies that by today's understanding could be considered to constitute genocide."

I'm new here, and please forgive me if I'm out of line, but it seems that the Wikipedia article on genocide, this article, you, and that quote above are all saying different things when you examine the details. Who has committed the genocide? The European settlers? The colonial governments? The Commonwealth? There is a conflict amongst the sources provided. Personally, I find 'biological disappearance of those deemed "half-caste" Aborigines' hard to understand. Does biological disappearance mean physical extermination? --Surgeonsmate

"Biological extermination" would mean the intention to have those deemed "half-caste" absorbed into the European population, and thus become no-longer half-caste. That was theory at least: the aboriginal population at large was seen as a dying race, and the "half-caste's" were supposed to eventually "blend-in" or "assimilate". However, I do see your point about semantics. Who, indeed, are we suggesting committed these acts. It would be difficult to narrow it to just one of the possible subjects.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 01:36, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Biological dissppearance means that half-castes were forcibly removed and sent to assimilation homes to have the aborigine "bred out" of them; from a Commonwealth report in the 1930's
"the destiny of the natives of Aboriginal origin, but not of full blood, lies in their ultimate absorption by the people of the Commonwealth, and it therefore recommends that all efforts be directed to this end".
The thinking of the time was that you could breed the abroriginal out of the half-castes. Settlers, states and the Commonwealth were all involved to this end. This Wikipedia article doesn't attempt to assign blame--nixie 01:40, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
The Commonwealth had no power over Aboriginal Australians until 1967. And I don't understand why the word "genocide" in the article doesn't link to the Wikipedia article on "Genocide". --Surgeonsmate
That quote comes from a Commonwealth report that followed several state reports all saying the same thing. I don't think the "we couldn't do anything to change it" is a good defence for the Commonwealth. I changed it to link to the convention since that the is deffinition being discussed in the reference.--nixie 02:27, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
May I suggest that we investigate ATSIS's page? It can be found here, and it details the case for Genocide. Also see Disinformation - they have quite a few good links on this. - Ta bu shi da yu 06:22, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
I still disagree that the decline of Aboriginal society is universally considered genocide. Definitely tragic, definitely an unintended consequence of British, colonial, Commonwealth and Church policies. By labelling what happened to the Aboriginals as genocide, you dilute the currency of the term and the crime. I am unaware of any legal ruling or prosecution that definitively concludes that genocide occured. ATSIS is hardly an independent and objective source and their case is yet to be tested by the law. As a movie cop might say, "Stick to the facts, Ma'am". There is sufficient debate surrounding this issue by reasonable and rational individuals without political agendas for it to be considered disputed. --Fremantle74, 08:51 18 August 2005
The article as it currently stands doesn't say that the decline of Aboriginal society was genocide. It says that some of the contributing factors were government policies that by today's understanding could be considered genocide. Where is the problem? JPD 09:55, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Why is it that JPD can always put things into perspective so easily ;-)? Thanks JPD, --Cyberjunkie | Talk 10:09, 18 August 2005 (UTC)
Because it doesn't state whom considers it genocide. Why does the article need to refer to genocide at all? Stating that aboriginals were displaced by British settlement, had their population decimated by disease, were victim to instances of colonialist violence and were subject to removal of children by religious and state authorities are facts. My only beef is with the leading statement could be considered genocide. Genocide is a modern crime, defined in the 1930s and institutionalised in 1949. Applying a modern moral standard to past events might be useful to demonise those events and push a modern political barrow, but they do nothing to help us understand our history and the reasons behind those events. I consider, with the exception of the isolated out and out slaughter of aborignals by settlers, most dealings with the aboriginals had largely benign motives, wholely in line with the moral code that dictated behaviour of the day. Concluding that the results of interaction were devastating is valid, but ignoring motivation and applying modern morality is a misleading interpretation of history. --Fremantle74, 16:36 August 2005

If I read my Australian history right, the only reason it was not systematic genocide as strictly defined by todays standards, was that the settlers had neither the manpower nor the technology to carry it out effectively, especially in country as large as Australia is and even more so was then. There seems to be quite a few historians here, are any of you going to claim that whenever white people clashed with aboriginals, it nearly always ended up with dead aboriginals? And yes, we have Tasmania as well. BTW, if are to judge history, how are we to do it, by todays standards or by the standards of the day? And if it was by the standards of the day, was it true back then that systematically killing 50 or 50,000 people was comsidered acceptable?

Olympic medals per capita

Reference to 'significantly outstripping' other countries in per capita medals won caught my attention. Not according to http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/spo_sum_oly_med_all_tim_cap&int=100, anyway. Should be checked.

Thanks for pointing that out, that non-fact has crept into the article several times only to be removed and reinserted. With the recent flurry of editing on this page it got overlooked.--nixie 02:05, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

It is correct nowadays, whereas the link provided here involves the tally back to the start of the modern olympics. Australia now typically wins several times the number of medals of the next highest achiever, per capita. I think it's worth revisiting this information and re-inserting, because it's a significant achievement, don't you think? Tony 01:15, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

Farmer, Soldier, Convict

In Sydney there is a monument to the first settlers of Australia, the Famer, Soldier, Convict. I feel this is a vital and unique motiff and would like a good editor to fit it into perhaps near the top. It is so much more unique than other nations founding and contains a great deal of information in a little amount of space. I think if a photo was obtained of this monument it would be terrific. I cant describe the neighborhood it is in but it is in sort of a "historic" neighborhood where small shops are located near the CBD.Kyle Andrew Brown 12:38, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

FYI it's The Rocks. Slac speak up! 09:52, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it would be particularly relevant. Perhaps more suited to discussion in the Sydney or New South Wales articles? This is an article about Australia as a whole, and the history of settlement extends beyond that of New South Wales. Some areas were settled in completely different fashions, especially South Australia which was founded on the unique Wakefieldian principle of systematic colonisation. So again, probably best mentioned in Sydney or NSW.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 15:36, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
  • Sort of like the "dirty dozen". I know; you could put up a big statue of Telly Savalas, with a sign underneath it which would read: "the unknown Australian". (Oct.)
  • Or, you could include his picture in a line-up of American presidents: "father, statesman, president, convict". (Oct.)

Tonys Flag Contro

While it may be true that there is a big flag controversy I'll be frank, that from a distance in North America reading online The Age, SMH, Brisbane Courier, The Australian, as well as listening to John Laws, 4BC, 3AW and Southern Cross News I have never heard reference to this controversy. That does not mean it has not been an issue in these forums, I only state that I have never come across it or heard it discussed in the electronic media. So if it's there, it's not very visible in MHO.

Nothing pops up in google.com.au news on "flag redesign + australia"

Anyway, the placement in the article seems awkward to me where it is, and also seems to make a political point, perhaps POV, that is one sided just by bringing it up. If editorial sentiment says keep the information, I would suggest it be placed in another context/subheading.

The opposition could restate the same issue by saying: "There is a movement in some quarters to keep republican sentiment from destroying the historic relationship of Australia with Great Britain by fighting attempts to redesign the flag..." Either way I see this as a hornet's nest as presented.Kyle Andrew Brown 20:00, 19 August 2005 (UTC)

PD Images

For your information, I've created this PD image template {{PD-Australia}} which is self-explanatory:

-- Iantalk 06:11, 28 August 2005 (UTC)
It's a tad... yellow. — ceejayoz 16:31, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

Redir template

I think it's a very good idea. - Ta bu shi da yu 09:52, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Mabye if it was an actual disambiguation page, all it has is Australian and one red link. I have made AUS the disambif, much lik US ius a disambig. --nixie 10:01, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
You do realise I now have to fix your copy and paste article duplication, don't you? - Ta bu shi da yu 10:17, 30 August 2005 (UTC)
I take that back and apologise for the comment. - Ta bu shi da yu 10:21, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

pictures

The Port Arthur picture appears to be located slightly higher than it should; it covers up a line of text. Is this an artifact of my computer, or can it be fixed on the web site?

Three pictures on the right-hand side—Cook, Last Post, and Parliament House—are a bit of a jumble. Can someone who has more experience than I have at manipulating images in Wikipedia please arrange them more attractively?

Tony 04:31, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

AFL

I noticed recent editing surrounding AFL and was wondering whether it was worth noting somewhere that the avg attendance at AFL matches is close to 40,000 and NRL matches is around 15,000. Also AFL had a far higher supporter rate than NRL. I read it in some newspaper article a while back but can't remember where. Xtra 00:49, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

I really don't think ranking sports by attendance or anyother criteria is necessary in the article. Do what the New Zealanders have done and write Sport in Australia.--nixie 00:51, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
Here's some data from the ABS back from 2002: [8]. Of all people over 18 who attended a sporting event in the previous 12 months (48% of all Australians) 17% (2.5 million) attended an AFL game, 13% (1.9 million) attended horse racing, 10% (1.5 million) attended motor racing and 10% attended rugby league. So yes, AFL is the most popular. But as nixie says, it's probably better to mention this on a separate article where statistics can be considered in full detail (such as the fact that people who attend sports like AFL or league are more likely to attend more than once). --bainer (talk) 10:48, 4 September 2005 (UTC)

Island

What about adding some info on why Australia was considered an island in the past and why it isn't now? ChadThomson 10:00, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

AFAIK, it still is considered an island, just not universally. It's not usually thought of as an island singularly, but rather as an "island continent". I would think this is what Australians are still taught. I accept and was taught that Australia is both the smallest continent and the largest island. Although I think geologist's generally agree that Australia is a continent, some disagree with the island descriptor and insist that Greenland is in fact the largest island. Perhaps "island continent" was a phrase coined in compromise because Australia has features of both formations? I think this should be mentioned as well. However, geology is not really my area (okay, not at all. It's, like, rocks and stuff..:). --Cyberjunkie | Talk 14:34, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
One thing I've never got is according to the definition by which Australia's an island, why isn't Antarctica the biggest island? —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 15:28, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
That's another aspect. I think the issue is a disagreeance over what an island actually is, beyond that it's surrounded by water. If it were as simple as that, everything landmass could be considered an island. But an island continent, I beleive, is something that could rule out other continents bar Antarctica. Why isn't it, too, considered an island? Perhaps because it is vastly larger than Australia? --Cyberjunkie | Talk 15:39, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
I've always considered the statement "Australia is the world's largest island" to be problematic. It conveys an impression that is not accurate. Like telling a tourist in Sydney that "Yeah, Perth's just over the other side of the island, mate." Or saying that Africa is a peninsula. Is it important that we include it? After all, a glance at the map and even the dimmest can see that Australia is a landmass totally surrounded by water. --Surgeonsmate 21:01, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I've always assumed that "island continent" meant a continent surrounded completely by water, with no land connections to another continent, as opposed to the Americas, Africa or Europe/Asia. Slac speak up! 23:34, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

On a similar vein - is there a name for the main island of Australia - that is, the part of Australia that doesn't include Tasmania, Flinders Island, Kangaroo Island, Bathurst Island, Phillip Island, etc. I've also wondered if there is a similar name for "mainland Tasmania" - ie. without Flinders Island, King Island, Bruny Island, etc. -- Chuq 01:16, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
To Chuq: Australia and Tasmania, respectively. The terms are ambiguous, obviously, similar to the way ‘Europe’ can mean just the continent or can also mean the Contintent plus Britain/Island/Malta etc. or can mean the EU. For Slac's comments, that's precisely what I meant—but Antarctica's not connected to any other continent, either! —Felix the Cassowary (ɑe hɪː jɐ) 01:45, 6 September 2005 (UTC)
I've been looking at the article on Island, and it doesn't seem to say what defines an island. I recall in the very distant past reading something saying that an island doesn't have any inland water bodies without outflow to the sea, or something like that. But I'm sure Japan has lakes that are landlocked. So what are the criteria for calling a land mass an island? If we could answer that then we'd know why Australia is an island or not. ChadThomson 12:56, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
That is indeed the key. However, when geologists themselves cannot decide, we cannot really progress. As I understand it, geologists still can't offer a resolute definition of either a continent or an island - hence Australia's problem. If a continent is considered in terms of endemism, than Madagascar proves a stumper. Others argue that culture should be considered when determining what constitutes a continent (or island); ie, Europe is a continent because its inhabitants see it such, whereas Australia is also an island by the view of its inhabitants.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 14:29, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Tenuous?

I have my doubts about this sentence in the article.

Although Australian voters rejected a move to become a republic in 1999 by a 55% majority,[5] Australia's links to its British past are increasingly tenuous.

I'd disagree with this - while it's fair to say that the average urban Australian no longer regards themselves as British, the links between Britain and Australia remain strong and ongoing. What proportion of Australians between 20 and 34 are living in London at any one time? A not insubstantial group - and while the numbers are probably smaller there's no shortage of British backpackers and short-term residents here either. How many expat Poms are living in Perth? How much of each other's television do we watch? And while UK trade and investment levels are smaller than they once were, I think you'll still find that they are proportionately much higher than with other European countries. And most importantly, how damn good has this Ashes series been? :) --Robert Merkel 01:07, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

From: D. McDougall, Australian Foreign Relations: Contemporary Perspectives, Longman, South Melbourne, 1998, p.75

"As Australian links with Britain became increasingly attenuated after the Second World War, and particularly from the 1970s, Britain and Australia were increasingly thought of as two separate countries with their own distinctive interests. A shared history and culture was part of the context of the relationship, but essentially Britain and Australia were two independent states pursuing their particular interests as they saw fit" (added emphasis)

Stating that Australian-British ties are increasingly tenuous is a not uncommon observation. Sure, there will always be a cultural bond between the two nations, perhaps more than with any other (bar NZ for us). However, the link, in a political and economic context, has lessened to a point where it can no longer be considered "unique" or "special". As fellow English-speaking countries, interaction is a given, and as similar societies (ie, Commonwealth), it will probably be disproportionate. But tenuous is an accurate observation. --Cyberjunkie | Talk 03:16, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
Should it be links with Britain, rather than links to its British past, though? JPD 09:50, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
I think it should clarify that constitutional links are now tenuous. Cultural ties aren't. --Robert Merkel 05:06, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
I think that's nit-picking; fine as it is. Tony 04:29, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
There are (ostensibly) no constitutional links. Links that don't exist can't be called tenuous. I'm fine with either "British past" or "Britain", though I think the latter makes more sense.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 05:45, 9 September 2005 (UTC)
Special leave can theoretically be granted to appeal from the High Court to the Privy Council, although I'd wager any money that it never will. That's a tenuous link, among others. --bainer (talk) 13:27, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

free as in speech

I removed this from the article:

There is no right to free speech in Australia.

I figure: a) it's not exactly true (thanks to those gosh-darned activist justices, always screwing govts over ...), and b) it certainly didn't fit where it was placed (tacked on to a para in the "culture" section, as I recall).

What do y'all think? Is it worth mentioning the differences in free speech 'twixt the Aussie people and the American people (who are, of course, the ones who most tend to point out the significant, ahem, freedoms they possess and we don't)? If so, where do we put it, and in how much detail? I think I've still got my ConLaw textbooks somewhere ... --fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 20:19, 13 September 2005 (UTC)

  • The question as to whether or not Australians have a right to Freedom of speech gave me pause for thought. The Australian section of the Freedom of Speech article mentions how the High Court has interpreted our constitution in the absence of such a right being enshrined in either our constitution, a bill of rights, or any Act of Parliament. It may be worth mentioning this in the Australia article even though it is mentioned elesewhere in the wiki (including at Constitution_of_Australia#Bill_of_Rights) as it is a distinction from many other nations and not necessarily one that we would expect. For example, by way of contrast, India, another Commonwealth country, has freedom of speech guaranteed overtly within its constitution. Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I can see why one might include the point about free speech in the section on culture though I agree it was not placed in entirely the right spot. Perhaps though it goes under politics along with the absence of a bill of rights ...--AYArktos 22:16, 13 September 2005 (UTC)


World War 1 Casualties

The article currently includes the assertion:

"The casualties suffered by Australia were the highest per capita of any Allied nation, and the war had a profound effect on the national character."

I believe this is not true. I will see if I can find a source for my disbelief. In the mean time can any editor find a source to substantiate the assertion?--User:AYArktos | Talk 10:26, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

I've always thought it true (60,000 dead of a population of less than 4 million), but I don't have a source. I'll have a look around.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 10:35, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
    • The book ANZACS, The Media and The Great War by John F Williams (UNSW Press, 1999) shows Australia's per capita war-time losses and mobilisation as less than those of France, Germany, the UK and NZ but ahead of Canada (graph p 27). On page 28 Williams points out that this "popular truism" has been stated in relatively recent times by prime ministers Fraser and Keating who he excuses as being poorly advised. He has little time for the historian Laffin though who wrote of the soldierly reputation of the 1st AIF rivalling "that of any army in the entire 3500 year recorded history of warfare" but failed to provide sources for the concensus or name the authoratative "military historians and generals".
Australia did have the highest proportion of deaths to mobilisations at 14.19% compared with NZ of 12.92% and Great Britain of 12.8%. Germany lost 19.48% and France lost 20.24%. (Williams page 270)
I propose to modify the article to read: "The war had a profound effect on the national character."
I actually wonder if that assertion is provable but ... --User:AYArktos | Talk 11:22, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/212267.stm says "Over 61,000 of them never returned, leaving Australia with the highest per-capita death toll of any country involved in WWI." --Scott Davis Talk 12:46, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Somebody also might want to find out how many died in Russia . . . Slac speak up! 20:09, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
  • As you might guess from the title, Williams book is in part to counter the myths promulgated by the media. It is a scholarly book with extensive footnotes, published by UNSW and hence presumably peer reviewed. I would take it as a source ahead of the BBC which is probably quoting from a prime ministerial speech.
Wikipedia does have an article on World War I casualties. It doesn't give rates and I am not sure where to go right now for population figures for the UK etc for 1914. The UK had 715,000 casualties (11.92 times the Australian rate). NZ had 16,000 (.27 times). France had 1.375m (22.9 times). Using today's population figures just to get a sense of the ballpark as I am not sure where to source 1914 figures.Australia's population est for 2005 (from this article) 20,406,800. Also from Wikipedia: UK 59,834,900 (July 2004 estimate), NZ 4,098,200 (2005 est), France 63,056,200 (Jan 2005). These population figures compared with Australias pop are: UK 2.93 times, NZ .2 times, France 3.1 times. And the casualty rate expressed as % of today's population is Australia .3%, UK 1.19%, NZ .4%, France 2.2%. These proportions seem to substantiate William's claims and hence I would take him against the BBC and leave out the casualty rate claim.--User:AYArktos | Talk 20:15, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Using current populations seems inadvisable to me. Demographic change since that period has been substantial. France's population outnumbered Germany's in WWI, but was well behind it in WWII - and that was only 20 years' gap. Slac speak up! 20:21, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I am only using current population numbers to test whether Williams is in the ball park. His figures are given above. By my calculations I can see nothing outlandish about his claim. Hence I take him as an authoratative source compared with say the BBC.--User:AYArktos | Talk 20:33, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Russian casualties were only (!) 1.7 m from World War I casualties. Compared with the French figure of 1.375 and the UK figure of 715k and guessing at the population difference - the rate was much lower.--User:AYArktos | Talk 20:18, 10 October 2005 (UTC)
Looking at the BBC page, it is easy to misread but I suspect it is referring to per capita death rate per mobilsation which was higher than many counties though not France and Germany. I think it is just wrong though and the Wikipedia should not further promulgate wrongness.--User:AYArktos | Talk 20:28, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Does it seem like double emphasis to say that Gallipoli was the birth of the “nation”, and then that “the war had a profound effect on the national character” in the sentence immediately following?--Cyberjunkie | Talk 13:35, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree--User:AYArktos | Talk 20:15, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Federal Parliament

The statement:

'The bicameral Commonwealth Parliament consists of the Senate (the upper house) of 76 senators, and a House of Representatives (the lower house) of 150 members.'

is inconsistent with the first bullet, which includes, quite rightly, the Queen.

Who knows how to fix this? Tony 07:04, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Fixed. Slac speak up! 09:07, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Infobox Australia

I notice that Golbez has rather inappropriately removed {{Infobox Australia}}. There is currently a debate over whether it should be deleted. The template was created to keep the long and imposing {{Infobox Country}} code out of the article, thus allowing for easier editing and preventing casual vandalism. I would immediately restore {{Infobox Australia}} to the article if not for that especially ugly TfD notice. Once the discussion - in which I encourage you all to participate - is complete I will put it back - provided the result is keep, of course.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 09:26, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

area?

aperantly the australian antarctic territory is about 6 million km2. and the area of australia is about 7 million km2. does that include the antarctic territory, is australia 1 million km2?

I think it is reasonably clear that Australia does not include external territories such as the Australian Antarctic Territory and pedantic clarification would only lengthen an already long article. However, perhaps the external territories reference at Australia#States_and_territories could be tightened.--User:AYArktos | Talk 21:47, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Republic?

What the hell is with that? Australia is a constitutional monarchy, not a republic.

Must be vandalism, Ill take it out in a sec Cfitzart 03:41, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Republic/culture/military/sport

It needs to be noted that Australia is shifting into a new political and sociological stage and that a republic is an historical inevitability. Therefore when it is posted that AUS is a commonwealth is is essential to also explain our ever changing political position and to note the change of title to the "Republic of Australia." I didn't say it was a republic. Clearly you didn't read when I explained "soon to be". Also, to clear up about the military changes- all the information that was provided was from the Australian bureau of Statistics (ABS). Everybody knows that Germany and UK forces are the most highly trained and effective fighting forces in the world, and that AUS does cross-train with them. Also, in culture, it is important to show that certain stereotypes are politically incorrect and that my statements once again, were fully justified, also If anyone in AUS likes Australian Rules football then they obviously have no skill or sense of dignity. The preceding unsigned comment was added by User:Valley2 (talk • contribs) .

Thank you for your time.

Please familiarise yourself with Wikipedia's Neutral Point-of-View policy before making any further edits to this article. Slac speak up! 04:24, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
What are you talking about? It seems that there are just a few people at the top thinking that they are 'big' guys and don't care for the opinions or facts submitted by other users. Why is it that I have no say in the distribution of information on this site, especially considering that I am a university Lecturer specialising in Politics, History, and Contemporary culture (not to mention actually being in the military and knowing exactly what we do in it). With more experience than at least half of you users. The page is open for discussion, so please don't have double standards The preceding unsigned comment was added by User:Valley2 (talk • contribs) .
If you are a university lecturer, please be advised that we don't accept original research. However, to be honest I really don't care if you are a university lecturer - your edits will be judged on their merits. Currently, they don't fit into what we are trying to do. I wouldn't presume to tell you how to lecture at a university without at least acquainting myself with some basic operational procedures, why do you think that this site is any different? I've blocked you for 24 hours anyway. - Ta bu shi da yu 13:08, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
With respect, perhaps you should read the policies before criticising my or others' actions, since these policies are what explain our actions. You certainly don't have "no say": that's what this talk page exists for. When your edits are clearly in violation of policy, they will be removed by others.
To touch briefly on your response: I'm happy you are a university lecturer. Many of our editors are professional academics and a great many more have a wide variety of academic qualifications. As an academic, you would be aware that good writing seeks to avoid bias and work on the basis of published sources rather than personal predelictions. But as far as the community is concerned, quality edits are what make a valued contributor ahead of real-world status. To imply that other users deserve less of a say based on the assumption that they have "less experience" than you would be pretty obviously fallacious. For a few specific points:
  • "a republic is an historical inevitability". This is clearly an opinion rather than a fact, by virtue of its being widely disputed and the contrary position being argued by many. Any hypothetical future change of title is a nebulous future event with no kind of official reference to back it up.
  • "Everyone knows that . . ." - these are three extremely dangerous words. The ABS does not keep information on how well-trained troops are, which is largely a subjective measure. Your membership of the military does not give you indisputable authority to evaluate other countries' military training practice, not even our own in fact.
  • Thirdly, your points on AFL suggest to me that your edits are sorely lacking in good faith. Please don't attempt to waste our time. Slac speak up! 04:44, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
(After edit conflict) Please stop crying foul, Valley2. You have not submitted any facts. Rather, you have published poorly written nonsense. Take the time to familiarise yourself with Wikipedia policies and guidelines and our styles.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 04:48, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Valley2, please participate in Wikipedia as a cooperative, democratic process. We'd like to benefit from your specialist knowledge, but not in unilateral actions that these highly skilled editors are taking issue with. Tony 06:30, 22 October 2005 (UTC) Tony 06:31, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Hmm...

I found this sentence: "The Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, inhabited the Torres Strait Islands and parts of far-north Queensland; they possess distinct cultural practices and practised subsistence agriculture" (emphasis mine). Seems like a verb tense problem, but I'm not sure whether they should both be past or present tense... – ugen64 03:28, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

They still inhabit those areas and possess distinct cultural practices. I'm not sure if they still practice subsistence agriculture.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 09:02, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
While we should definitely avoid implying that they are no longer living there with distinct cultural practices, the sentence is in a paragraph discussing (ancient) history, so it shouldn't hurt to have the whole thing in past tense. JPD (talk) 10:10, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

British Colony

Australia is not and was never a British colony. The states of Australia were all individually British colonies. But this all ceased at federation. Also, the present legal/political sittuation in Australia is not that of a British colony. Xtra 14:17, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree. In any case, I don't like Category:Former British colonies.--Cyberjunkie | Talk 14:35, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
What's wrong with the category? I take no offense in the notion that my nation was colonized by the British, existing under the Queen's protection and at the expense of the natives. It's the hard truth, and I can't change history. Mareino 17:35, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Xtra makes the excellent point that Australia is not a former colony. New South Wales is, Victoria is, but Australia never was. --fuddlemark (fuddle me!) 18:49, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Exactly. Australia was a Dominion from federation, at which point the colonies ceased to exist. The more common term now is Commonwealth realm. --bainer (talk) 00:04, 29 October 2005 (UTC)