Asialink and PwC host Foreign Policy White Paper Consultations

Asialink and PwC host Foreign Policy White Paper Consultations

On 22 February 2017, The Hon Andrew Robb AO, Chairman of Asialink and Asialink Business welcomed participants to the Consultations held in partnership with long-term supporter PwC.

The Australian Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper Taskforce invited Asialink to convene Consultations with key stakeholders to inform development of the White Paper, a comprehensive framework to guide our international engagement over the next five to ten years. The White Paper will provide a roadmap for advancing and protecting Australia’s international interests and define how we engage with the world in the years ahead.

The Consultations included 160 distinguished leaders and experts drawn from business, the cultural sector, education, health, youth diplomacy and security and foreign policy. The security and foreign policy stream was co-chaired by the Australian Committee, Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (Auscscap) and included eminent voices from the Indo-Pacific region. The youth diplomacy stream provided an opportunity for young leaders from diverse sectors to generate fresh ideas for Australian diplomacy through a ‘hackathon’ and pitch process.

Members of DFAT’s Foreign Policy White Paper Taskforce were in attendance. The Taskforce Lead, Mr Richard Maude, provided an opening introduction to the consultation process. Following the Consultations, The Hon Andrew Robb AO delivered a keynote address and Richard Maude provided a response to the recommendations. Asialink’s submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper can be found on the Asialink and DFAT websites, and some of the key arguments contained in the submission are as follows:

  • Australia must embrace long-term, bipartisan foreign policymaking, vision and strategy for successful engagement with the region
  • We must develop ‘Brand Australia’, by launching a public diplomacy campaign to capitalise on Australia’s strong reputation as a reliable and valuable partner
  • Mutual respect and reciprocity are needed in order to build lasting trust and partnerships
  • Non-traditional actors - such as schools, Track 2 organisations, the private sector, youth, the cultural sector, key migrant groups, professional associations – all are highly-valuable sectors that increasingly have an important role to play in diplomacy, and government should recognise and harness the potential of this wider community
  • It is crucial that the Australian public is better engaged with foreign policymaking, understands the region, and is equipped to deal with new challenges arising in a time of uncertainty
  • Investing in regional relations (Southeast Asia, Japan, India, South Korea and the Pacific states as well as China) is perhaps more important for Australia than ever before.

Asialink acknowledges the generosity of the many leaders in their fields who took the time to travel to Melbourne to contribute their expertise and ideas at all stages of the consultation process. We also thank PwC for their leadership and hospitality in their new state-of-the-art Melbourne office.

To read Asialink’s submission to the Foreign Policy White Paper click here.

To read final White Paper click here.

For more details on the Australian Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper click here.

Related Article: 

A White Paper for Dangerous Times, by Professor Anthony Milner, International Director, Asialink