The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau chief. Sign up to get it by email.
Just before a panel on the Australian election at Twitter’s offices in Sydney on Wednesday, Chris Uhlmann, the Nine Network’s political editor, asked how it’s going for The New York Times in Australia, and what I make of the country.
It’s a question I get a lot so I ran through what I often mention: That subscriptions are growing but we’re still learning; that I find the country to be more complex than it presents itself to be; that I love living here; and that in terms of government, it’s a surprisingly secretive place.
Chris agreed with that last point wholeheartedly, and offered an enlightening comparison to the United States that I thought Australia Letter readers might want to chew over and comment on.
He tied the dynamics to history.
In the United States, he said, people don’t trust government because the country was founded by religious zealots who fled British persecution.
“But in Australia the government brought the people here,” Chris said, “and the government doesn’t trust the people.”
That means, he said, public officials behave more like their prison guard ancestors: They protect themselves; they limit information sharing to insiders. And rather than railing against government or starting revolutions, Australians tend to be accepting of what the government says.
As Chris put it, it’s the attitude of, “You brought us here. What’s for lunch?”
Feel free to howl your support or derision for that idea in our NYT Australia Facebook group or by email (email@example.com).
But Chris’s larger point — and I’ve heard this from many others in Australia, including a few former prime ministers — was that our two democracies are very different, not just in structure, but also in the deeper recesses of national identity, which shape how government and the governed interact.
And on the secrecy point, there’s more to say.
It came up again when we were on the panel, when an audience member asked how it affects Australian politics and news media.
There are a lot of answers to that question — but the one I emphasized involved the dearth of independent data.
You can watch the Twitter livestream here to see exactly what I said, but here’s a slightly fuller explanation with a couple of the examples I had in mind.
Exhibit A: Immigration and Egalitarianism
Australia is in the midst of a heated debate about how much immigration is too much, but there’s a lot we don’t know (beyond anecdotal cases) about who gets in or turned down and how that might be changing.
The Department of Home Affairs did not publicly release last year’s annual immigration report so we can all see how the system works. Rather, a few months ago, just a piece of it leaked to The Australian — noting a migration decrease, in line with The Australian’s conservative politics.
Our requests for the raw data and full report have been repeatedly denied.
More broadly, when it comes to research around race and discrimination, Australia has fewer trustworthy statistical sources than it needs, whether it’s about achievement in schools, health care, or other sectors that might help the country see how its multiculturalism plays out in public institutions.
Academics tell me the data collection either isn’t there, hampering in-depth analysis, or it’s in bits and pieces.
When researchers do pull those elements together, there are signs of a major problem with segregation. But without more information it’s hard to accurately assess how one of Australia’s biggest changes over the past 50 years — its rapid growth into becoming an increasingly diverse, multiethnic society — is developing and evolving.
Exhibit B: Time-Use Data
Gaps in data also undermine Australia’s understanding of itself and global changes in technology, gender and work.
A few weeks ago, for example, I was looking for information that would support my hunch that Australians are simply better than Americans (and much of Europe) at work-life balance. I went looking for what is a pretty standard data set worldwide, the results of a national time-use survey.
These time-use surveys are hardly groundbreaking or innovative. In the United States and elsewhere they measure “the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, child care, volunteering, and socializing.” I expected that there would be one in Australia too.
The last time-use survey in Australia was completed in 2006. Before smartphones. Before the global financial crisis.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics does conduct research on work and technology in general (and the work is strong), but a broader examination of how Australians spend their time is totally out of date.
The Labor party has promised to restore the survey if they win the upcoming election. But even then, the next survey wouldn’t get started until 2020.
Why It Matters
If the government collected and openly shared more data about Australian life, policy debates would be richer, and the partisan divide might be less extreme. That’s in both politics and media.
Imagine a world in which governments (all governments, or at least all democracies, because this is a problem found not just in Australia) valued transparency enough to do more research on their own and to strengthen not just public disclosure laws, but also their enforcement.
Imagine a world in which leaks and crisis committees — royal commissions in Australia, independent counsels in the United States — were less common and less needed.
It would mean more clarity and undisputed facts in our social media streams. It would mean that conversations about security, inequality, corruption and a bunch of other things would be less reliant on anonymous sources with questionable motives.
In short, it would mean government — regardless of a country’s history or the quirks of its founders — doing what it is supposed to do: serving the people.
Now for some news and memorable reads from the past week.
And if you have an example of Australian secrecy that drives you crazy, or a tip, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
___The Church and Its Nuns
Pope Francis said on Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church has faced a persistent problem of sexual abuse of nuns by priests and even bishops, the first time he has publicly acknowledged the issue.
___My Calendar, Your Calendar
I loved this insightful piece on the Lunar New Year and what calendars tell us about ourselves.
“It can be easy to think of a calendar as a scientific given, or a reflection of the laws of the universe,” Steph Yin writes. “In fact, as these holidays remind us, there are as many ways to track time as there are cultures and languages. Each calendar reveals something about how the people who created it relate to the world around them while also preserving rich cultural identities and memories.”
___Your Guide to Complaining
Not all complaints, in restaurants or in life, are created equal, as our critic Pete Wells points out in this useful (and insightful) guide about how to provide constructive criticism.
He’s focused on when you go out to eat, but a lot of the lessons go beyond that in their usefulness.
The New York Times Magazine tackles the gender divide in big wave surfing. Worth a read, and a gander at the imagery. Stunning.
___Australia and New Zealand
A few serious and lighter reads for you this week:
• The Flood Was Extraordinary. So Was Australians’ Response. In the aftermath of record-breaking rain, residents of Townsville, Australia, are supporting each other in ways that mental health experts say are critical for coping with disasters.
• Australia Cancels Residency for Wealthy Chinese Donor Linked to Communist Party: Huang Xiangmo, a developer who has lived in Australia for years, has given millions of dollars across the political spectrum, raising concerns about Chinese influence.
• Australian Banks Overcharged Clients, Even After Some Died, Report Finds: A government-appointed commission called for tougher regulations on the country’s financial industry, but a softening economy could hinder efforts to rein it in.
• ‘Unprecedented’ Floods in Australia Force Hundreds to Evacuate: Police officers in the state of Queensland were left clinging to trees while snakes and crocodiles roamed the streets after days of heavy rainfall.
• Australia Says Last Refugee Children Held on Nauru Will Go to U.S.: Resettlement will be a long-awaited end to a controversial practice and a victory for migrant advocates.
• Did a Seal Eat Your Vacation Photos? A New Zealand Scientist Is Looking for You: Researchers in New Zealand studying the feces of leopard seals found a USB drive containing photos and videos from someone’s 2017 vacation.
Women account for only a quarter to a third of letter-to-the-editor submissions to The New York Times. The Letters editors want to change that.
They are committed to working toward parity — and they’re holding themselves accountable. They’ll report back on their progress in February 2020. But to succeed, they need your help.
Shout this from the rooftops and invite women in your lives — and anyone else who feels underrepresented — to write in.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide. We look forward to hearing from you.B:
2017年第052期马报【莫】【巳】【末】【简】【直】【不】【敢】【相】【信】，【居】【然】【有】【人】【能】【够】【在】【百】【米】【之】【外】【听】【见】【自】【己】【的】【动】【静】！【自】【己】【分】【明】【任】【何】【声】【音】【都】【没】【有】【产】【生】，【不】【论】【是】【移】【动】【时】【亦】【或】【者】【停】【下】【时】，【她】【都】【没】【有】【发】【出】【任】【何】【的】【声】【音】！ 【除】【非】【前】【面】【的】【那】【个】【十】【七】【岁】【的】【小】【男】【生】，【能】【够】【在】【百】【米】【之】【外】【听】【得】【见】【自】【己】【在】【树】【枝】【上】【进】【行】【跃】【动】【时】，【脚】【底】【与】【树】【皮】【进】【行】【摩】【擦】【的】【微】【弱】【到】【不】【能】【再】【微】【弱】【的】【声】【音】 【可】
【联】【系】【过】【子】【穆】【之】【后】，【姑】【娘】【就】【看】【着】【阴】【沉】【昏】【暗】【的】【天】【空】，【自】【己】【有】【多】【久】【没】【有】【见】【到】【过】【正】【常】【的】【天】【空】【了】【呢】？【她】【不】【知】【道】，【但】【是】【应】【当】【是】【非】【常】【久】【了】。 【现】【在】【的】【她】，【后】【悔】【了】【呢】。 【姑】【娘】【不】【知】【道】【另】【外】【那】【两】【个】【魂】【是】【什】【么】【样】【的】【感】【觉】，【漫】【长】【的】【时】【光】【已】【经】【让】【她】【疲】【倦】【了】，【什】【么】【都】【不】【想】【去】【考】【虑】【了】，【毕】【竟】【现】【在】【任】【何】【东】【西】【都】【没】【有】【结】【束】【这】【一】【切】【来】【的】【实】【在】。 【这】【么】【想】【的】
“【嘶】。【好】【恐】【怖】【的】【力】【量】。【居】【然】【能】【逼】【迫】【着】【虚】【空】【断】【裂】，【大】【概】【世】【界】【毁】【灭】【也】【就】【是】【这】【个】【样】【子】【了】。【看】【来】【我】【们】【会】【一】【瞬】【间】【被】【这】【黑】【洞】【飞】【绞】【成】【颗】【粒】。” 【漫】【天】【的】【雷】【音】【轰】【隆】【入】【耳】，【忆】【悠】【远】【顿】【时】【被】【震】【得】【头】【晕】【目】【眩】，【胸】【口】【压】【堵】，【高】【压】【带】【强】【闪】，【这】【里】【简】【直】【是】【比】【佛】【界】【的】【大】【渊】【还】【要】【恐】【怖】。 “【嗯】。【这】【黑】【洞】【的】【形】【状】【能】【大】【能】【小】。【中】【心】【极】【有】【可】【能】【是】【某】
“【少】【爷】，【你】【在】【做】【什】【么】？” 【杜】【恩】【来】【到】【叶】【纪】【纶】【的】【跟】【前】，【只】【见】【叶】【纪】【纶】【打】【开】【了】【幻】【镜】，【正】【在】【偷】【偷】【的】【看】【着】【正】【在】【学】【校】【的】【秦】【梦】【落】。 “【少】【爷】，【你】【又】【在】【偷】【看】【秦】【小】【姐】，【小】【心】【被】【秦】【小】【姐】【知】【道】，【你】【又】【要】【受】【罚】。” “【你】【不】【说】【我】【不】【说】，【这】【件】【事】【梦】【落】【怎】【么】【会】【知】【道】？”【叶】【纪】【纶】【嘿】【嘿】【的】【笑】【道】，“【杜】【恩】，【你】【不】【会】【出】【卖】【我】【吧】？” 【说】【话】【间】，【叶】【纪】【纶】【的】【手】2017年第052期马报“【突】【厥】【党】”【的】【几】【个】【组】【织】【头】【目】“【弃】【城】”【逃】【跑】，【带】【走】【了】**【里】【大】【部】【分】【的】【武】【装】【反】【抗】【力】【量】，【只】【剩】【下】【小】【部】【分】【人】【还】【在】【顽】【强】【反】【抗】，【但】【看】【情】【形】，【被】【消】【灭】【也】【就】【是】【个】【迟】【早】【的】【问】【题】。 【第】【五】【六】【小】【队】【的】【人】【员】【还】【在】【外】【围】【突】【破】，【剩】【下】【的】【四】【队】【也】【有】【要】【坚】【守】【的】【任】【务】，【追】【逃】【兵】【的】【事】【自】【然】【落】【在】【了】【莫】【君】【烨】【和】【慕】【长】【安】【身】【上】。 【慕】【长】【安】【的】【目】【标】【从】【头】【至】【尾】【只】【有】【阿】【卜】【杜】【拉】
【黄】【大】【刀】【将】【他】【们】【悉】【数】【拉】【到】【宫】【殿】【门】【口】，【然】【后】【分】【配】【开】【来】。 【十】【人】【一】【个】【小】【组】，【分】【配】【有】【战】【士】【法】【师】【道】【士】，【数】【量】【尽】【量】【相】【当】，【分】【成】【六】【个】【小】【组】，【向】【着】【四】【面】【八】【方】【推】【进】【开】【去】。 【目】【前】【的】【情】【况】，【是】【法】【师】【和】【道】【士】【有】【优】【势】，【他】【们】【可】【以】【跳】【上】【低】【矮】【的】【屋】【顶】【上】，【对】【着】【街】【道】【下】【方】【的】【怪】【物】，【发】【动】【攻】【击】。 【战】【士】【则】【相】【对】【劣】【势】【一】【点】，【他】【们】【必】【须】【要】【近】【身】【攻】【击】，【但】【是】，
【小】【野】【猫】，【还】【想】【用】【爪】【子】【挠】【他】！【只】【可】【惜】，【指】【甲】【不】【够】【长】！【呵】【呵】…… “【大】【哥】，【呵】【呵】，【呵】【呵】……”【风】【倾】【颜】【傻】【傻】【地】【笑】【了】【笑】，【表】【情】【有】【些】【不】【自】【然】。【手】【上】【用】【着】【力】，【叫】【着】【劲】，【这】【面】【部】【的】【肌】**【也】【随】【之】【微】【微】【扭】【曲】【着】。 【这】【俩】【人】……【风】【云】【奇】【着】【实】【很】【无】【语】。 “【妹】【妹】【调】【查】【那】【个】【叫】【素】【娘】【的】，【要】【做】【什】【么】？” “【啊】？”【风】【倾】【颜】【的】【注】【意】【力】，【也】【在】【手】