New book says Australia and NZ need new approach to Forum

'The New Pacific Diplomacy', published by the Australian National University, has contributions from a range of academics, journalists, political leaders and other stakeholders.

An editor, Associate Professor Sandra Tarte says the Pacific Islands Forum will have to adapt, and Australia and New Zealand may have to tone down their influence.

Bushfire bears down on another town in Western Australia

The blaze started near Waroona earlier this week before tearing through the small town of Yarloop, destroying almost 100 homes, and has now burnt more than 67,000 hectares.

With a perimeter stretching across more than 220 kilometres, the fire continues to sweep south, and is now encroaching on more towns, with Harvey actively under threat.

12 students receive Australian scholarships

Deputy High Commissioner Rosemary Mckay met with the students this week and wished them all the best with their studies.

Eight students qualified through the Foundation programme at the National University of Samoa and will undertake undergraduate studies.

‘Spies’ get PNG marching orders

In a substantial blow to diplomatic relations between Australia and its former colony, PNG has gone ahead with a threat to end contracts for foreigners brought in to the nation’s public service.

There had been 33 Australian public servants seconded to various PNG departments including officials from the Tax Office, Customs, the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman, Treasury and Finance.

Australia starts 2016 under threat from bushfires

Overnight, an emergency warning was issued for the southwestern part of Secret Harbour in the city of Rockingham, which is just south of Perth.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said there was a threat to lives and homes in the area,

Australian paper calls for new refugee policy

The policies of turning back boats and processing asylum seekers abroad has for years enjoyed the support of both the ruling coalition and the opposition Labor Party.

The Age says asylum seekers have not broken any laws, but the government continues to use the most despicable tactics to deter them, which it says has brought Australia into disrepute around the world.

More homes lost to Australian bushfire

At Wye River, 98 homes were destroyed, while 18 were lost at Separation Creek. Fire officials said the majority of the properties lost were holiday homes.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimates the losses to be worth $AU38 million and it is expected that number will increase as claims are made.

Aust Minister for Pacific on first visit to Samoa

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, officially welcomed Minister Ciobo at his office in Apia yesterday, before joining him at the APTC (Australia-Pacific Technical College) To Work Forum at the National University of Samoa.

Pacific Island nations accuse Australia of failing to 'bat for neighbours'

President Anote Tong is among leaders of some of the world's most vulnerable islands calling for big polluting nations to stand up at the United Nations summit and ensure their survival.

As the richest country in the region, Australia faces Pacific calls to push for a strong deal that limits global warming to 1.5 degrees.

But so far, Tong hasn't seen evidence of that from the Australians.

“They've not been doing any batting at the moment for us,” he told AAP in Paris on Tuesday.

Chris Brown cancels NZ concert

He has also scrapped four Australian tour dates.

Brown caused a stir when he announced plans to visit New Zealand, with anti-violence groups speaking out against his trip because of his conviction for assaulting a former partner. But he gained the support of several high-profile Maori women.

He was due to perform in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth from 9 December as part of his 'One Hell of a Nite' tour and in Auckland on 18 December.