Australia's Place in the "Asian Century"  (Page 3 of 4)

Within Australia, the report is commanding broad support and respect from the many constituencies and sectors that see a need to deepen engagement with Asia – ranging from business to education to the former political leaders and officials who have dedicated themselves to regional diplomacy for decades. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who drove the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation process in the late 1980s, was notable among the luminaries at the paper’s launch.

To be fair, the report is to be commended for its many sensible aspirations and what it terms ‘pathways’ to getting there.

It rightly emphasizes China, India, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea as Australia’s constellation of key Asian partners – a geo-economic Southern Cross for navigating this altered world.

It thankfully recognizes that any ‘Asian’ century is really an Asia-Pacific or even Indo-Pacific age. The United States remains the indispensable strategic player and the region’s trade and energy arteries span the Indian Ocean as well as the Pacific.

In other words, with this white paper Canberra has made it clear that it does not see the Asian century exclusively as China’s century. This should help neutralize voices that have claimed Australia was falling into China’s geopolitical orbit at the expense of its other relationships.

A real highlight of the paper is its emphasis on the goal of ensuring that all Australian schools offer Asian languages. This is a smart aspiration, and would not just equip new generations of Australians for business and engagement in Asia, but demonstrate a certain cultural respect for the new realities of Asia’s rise.

The fine print, however, is that this outcome will need to be negotiated with state governments – many of which are composed of Labor’s opponents, and are under tight funding constraints of their own. Moreover, critics are already noting the gulf between rhetoric and reality, the fact that government support for Asian languages has been declining for years. More Australians learned Indonesian in the 1970s than now.

Additionally, there are shortages of language teachers, and no immediate initiatives to address this through skilled migration. Indeed, the paper is largely cautious on migration – countenancing nothing like the (then European) migration and population growth revolution that was crucial to the country’s nation-building in the 1950s.

Another plus is that the white paper pointed to thousands of scholarships for Australians and Asians to build professional and cultural connections, a kind of two-way Colombo Plan.  The critics, though, are beginning to point out that most or all of these seem to be from existing programs.

An additional intriguing idea promoted by the new paper is to set quotas for Australia’s business leaders and senior bureaucrats to become Asia-literate. For instance, the report proposes that one-fifth of the members of Australia corporate boards should possess Asia skills or experience. It would have been nice to see something similar required of parliamentarians – for instance, requiring them to focus their taxpayer-funded travel on Asia, and to make visits to, say, Europe in summer the absolute exception.

Comments
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[...] that terrorism has not gone away.  And it has a more balanced take on the future of Asia than Canberra’s 2012 economic policy blueprint for the Asian Century, which accentuated the positive and downplayed risk.  But watch for the third and final text in [...]

[...] it has a more balanced take on the future of Asia than Canberra’s 2012 economic policy blueprint for the Asian Century, which accentuated the positive and downplayed [...]

Ian R
January 17, 2013 at 07:34

Lots of interesting comment here & a lot that is very ill informed [read "ignorant"]. I admit to a bias here – Australian married to a Singaporean. Compared to a good many places Australia is a good place to live even though most of us do work long hours [average is 46 per week] & in the major cities add an average commute of 1 1/2 hours each day to that – for the benefit of some that would make us TIRED not LAZY. You do not achieve what has been done here in only 225 years without effort.
Australia always looks outwards, I reckon it's because we are deeply aware of how far away from us the rest of the world is – if we don't reach out & try to be a good neighbor / friend we fear being ignored or missing out on anything & everything. Innovation & achievement are central to the national psyche & the national ethos is 'a fair go' – we're hard on ourselves, usually more critical than praising
This new initiative isn't really all that new – it's more of a focusing of what is already happening with ideas of where we'd like to get to & what we'd like to achieve.

Tim
December 26, 2012 at 22:31

"I agree with you that my knowledge of Australia is limited, as far as multi-ethnicity is concerned. I've never been to Australia."
so basically your not sure if you know what your talking about hmm seems to be a common issue in your post.
"I leave it to an international jury of agricultural experts and plant gene-tech specialists to suggest and decide what can and cannot be done with Australia's soil potential and climate".
We know the problem which is Australia has poor soils with a layer of salt/brine water underneath.
"But what I did want to point out is that if Israel could turn desert into green, then Australia, should definitely try that"
Israel didn't turn the desert green that is a myth what they did was force the Arab farming communities  off their productive farming lands and said look what we have done.
Australia's problem is  that layer of salt underneath  because  the moment you add water the underground water table rises and soon your soil is covered in salt.
 
 
 

shizzoyoshinaka
December 14, 2012 at 14:30

wow look john chan the commie lap dog is talking again arf arf arf sit roll play dead say's your owner the red thieves

ghantan
November 8, 2012 at 23:49

Not surprising given their sporty outdoor culture but australia performed the best in the olympics. read and weep chinabot.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/how-australia-topped-the-medal-tally-20120814-245vf.html

Jean-Paul
November 8, 2012 at 00:56

John Chan France actually has one of the strongest economies in Europe only slightly behind Germany because of its smaller population. France never had to go through any austerity like the PIIGS you speak of and hasnt even been in a major recession. Actually the French economy will be stronger because our politicians are not corrupt like they are in China. For example Francois Hollande will implement a 75% tax rate on its 1% because we are a fair and free nation.
 
John Chan how much money does your 1% give back to its country? Oh i forgot the only thing Chinese 1% gives back is massive pollution and corruption, how sad.
 
Also France has even more influence than britain or germany on the international stage. Just look for example at French influence in Africa http://www.cfr.org/france/french-military-africa/p12578 and you can see France is playing a leading role with the US in helping to develop Africa into a peaceful developed continent, unlike China which is just causing more trouble in the region.
Finally, France has also just opened up a new military base only a few years ago in the gulf region to help secure peace and prosperity there. If China was such a great peaceful nation, then how come nobody wants any chinese military bases?? Maybe because all the nations know china is a bully?
I hope you respond but i suspect you will simply continue going from article to article to spread more propaganda and lies.
 

smarty pants
November 8, 2012 at 00:04

Well, how is it that GM and Ford Australia cannot bail out a local supplier ?
What are you speaking about ? Imperialism  your country was founded on the
on the Imperial power of UK
 

Leonard R.
November 7, 2012 at 19:43

 
Wow! First time I've read Immanuel Kant cited in The Diplomat…and by an enthusiast of agricultural sciences no less! Well done George Chakko. A memorable entrance. 
 
Australia as done a lot of good work and been a good neighbor to Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines. It has been a good ambassador for western civilization. I am surprised it hasn't yet become a financial hub for the Far East. It offers indirect access to London New York and the E.U. Maybe HK already occupies that niche. But I wonder about that. 
 
Ultimately, Australia is an outpost of the West in the Far East. It's place is to offer western advantages in business, education and organizational thinking to its non-western neighbors. 

John Chan
November 7, 2012 at 11:05

@Jean-Paul,
“China’s destiny to be contained” is like the French destiny to play second fiddle to the English and the German?
 
Helping France avoiding to end like the PIIGS in the current Europe’s economic crisis is more useful than bad mouthing China out of jealousy, resentment and fear.
 
China is the biggest economy and the best performer in the Olympics Games in Asia and Europe. Comparing to China, France really is the sickman of Europe!!
 

Ser Gregor Clegane
November 7, 2012 at 09:20

"original population of Australia nearer and nearer to extinction. Poor Australia."
What original population are you talking about? There have been several large non-white migrations to Australia in the last 40 thousand years and have all driven out the people before them. The present day aborigines were in no way related to the original inhabitants but drove them out just like the White man did.  This 'flood' of Asian immigration also contributes far greater than the indigenous populations. In a world with a rapidly growing population and scarcer and scarcer land, the Aborigionals are going to have to improve their act if they want to remain a cultural force in the world. Australia would be the poorer if it missed out on the 'Asian flood' as you call it.

Luke Nguyen
November 6, 2012 at 19:45

So Australia will be changed to Australasian now….

Ser Gregor Clegane
November 6, 2012 at 17:10

Yeah its not exactly pc but your right ghanian. Muslim immigration leads to divided/fragmented communities and larger counter terrorism bills. Maybe if religious schools were banned it would be better but unfortunately this won't happen. Indian and Chinese immigrants are flocking to come, integrate easily and contribute greatly. Why take the risk and expense when you don't need to.
 
Yours sincerely,
The Mountain that Rides

US Trolls Running Amok
November 6, 2012 at 13:15

Nothing surprising from the many brainless, moronic lying US trolls on this blog.  BS propaganda against anyone who holds a view contrary to US imperialistic interests, are their forte. They will even do the same about their grandmothers if they dnon't like what they say about the emperors in Washington.

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