US has reportedly invited 12 regional countries, including the Solomon Islands, which in April struck a security pact with China, heightening Washington's concern about Beijing's growing clout.
The Trump administration claims that Russia has tilted the playing field in their favour, and they might be right.
The election will pit Bill Shorten, a former labour union leader who has presented himself as the alternative prime minister for the past six years, and PM Scott Morrison, a leader who the Australian public is still getting to know.
PM Scott Morrison approved reopening Christmas Island after a legislative defeat in Parliament allowed refugees and asylum seekers detained in existing offshore centres to travel to Australia for medical treatment.
The opposition along with minor parties and independent lawmakers passed a bill that would give sick asylum seekers easier access to mainland hospitals.
A lack of adequate healthcare services and the heavily securitised environment have resulted in the deterioration of the mental health of more than 600 men in the country's offshore detention facilities.
Public pressure mounts on Canberra to shift refugee children detained on the Pacific island of Nauru to New Zealand, even as PM Scott Morrison says such transfers could cause new arrivals.
Médecins Sans Frontières executive director said children in Australia's Nauru island exist in "a semi-comatose state" due to their indefinite detention while a large number of the refugee treated have attempted suicide.
Trump’s Muslim ban complicates the recently signed Australia-US refugee deal – and Australia complicates it further by denying journalists and rights activists entry to the contentious Manus Island detention centre.
Australia's current policy on asylum seekers is to intercept refugees and migrants at sea, deny them entry, and process them in centres like the camp on Manus Island in neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Critics consider the process inhumane.
Hundreds of asylum-seekers are adamant they will not leave the Australian offshore prison despite police calls for evacuation. Those holed up at the prison say they would rather live in squalid conditions than risk the alternatives provided.
Around 600 detainees told to leave Australian detention camp in Papua New Guinea as conditions worsen with power and water cuts in tense standoff.
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