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Australia Day message from the Australian Ambassador to Thailand

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Australia Day is the ideal day to reflect on Australia’s domestic and international achievements. It is also an opportunity for Australians and Thais alike to celebrate and reflect on the relationship between our two countries.

Over several generations, Australians and Thais have built a solid bilateral relationship, establishing excellent models of cooperation and finding new ways to learn and profit from each other – in all walks of life.

On this day, we celebrate the Australia-Thailand relationship that is as broad as it is deep. In addition to celebrating, on Australia Day we should also focus on the untapped potential in the relationship. We can still make a wonderful relationship even better.

As our countries continue to grow, I would like to highlight some key aspects of our bilateral relationship.

Our strong trade and investment relationship is underpinned by the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.

Thailand is Australia’s eighth largest trading partner with over AU$19 billion (570 billion baht) worth of two-way trade in 2012-2013. Our trade partnership has grown 3.6 times faster than Australia’s global trade relations in the past 20 years and Thai investment in Australia is also increasing, worth AU$7.3 billion (219 billion baht). We are also encouraging more Australian investment in Thailand, currently valued at AU$2.8 billion (84 billion baht).

Education exchange is at the heart Australia-Thailand relations. Today, approximately 20,000 Thais have enrolled in Australian courses, creating a more fulfilling educational and community experience for all.

Our educational ties will continue to strengthen with more students being awarded our Endeavour awards and scholarships. The Australian Embassy is currently working with Australia’s universities to increase the number of students studying in Thailand.

The New Colombo Plan 2014 pilot program, launched last year by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, The Hon Julie Bishop, will send undergraduate students abroad to become Asia-literate, build friendships and strengthen ties with neighbours in the Asia-Pacific. The Australian Government has committed AU$100 million worth of funding over the next five years to implement the plan. The program which is expected to commence in Thailand as well as other parts of the region in 2015, aims to make studying in the region a rite of passage for Australian students.

Australians continue to value the generous hospitality of Thais, with over 900,000 Australians arriving in Thailand in 2013. Phuket remains one of the most popular destinations for Australian tourists.

To all Australians holidaying, living and working in Thailand, I wish you a happy and safe Australia Day.

We also encourage all Australians in Thailand to register at smarttraveller.gov.au.

– James Wise, Australian Ambassador to Thailand

— James Wise

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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