CANBERRA, May 25, 2010 - The Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, and Opposition Leader, the Hon Tony Abbott, delivered major speeches, and the High Commissioner for India and the Ambassadors for China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea participated in a panel discussion with Professor Tony Milner at the Asialink Asia Society National Forum at Canberra's Parliament House.
Entitled Mapping Our Future in the Asian Century, the Forum was unusual in covering so many aspects of Australia-Asia relations. It brought together 130 specialists and stakeholders from business, the arts, government, academia, public health, and development. This created an opportunity for cross-referencing between sectors, and building relationships that may be vital in furthering Australia’s effective engagement with the Asian region.
Forum discussion focused both on what the "Asian century" means in geo-strategic, economic, and cultural terms, and what it means for Australia in particular.
Participants started a stock-take, or health check, on how the country is progressing with regard to Asia engagement.
The annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Melbourne Institute Asialink Index, which covers progress in Australia's Asian engagement in the areas of trade, investment, education, tourism, migration, research and business development, and humanitarian assistance shows that engagement is four times what it was 20 years ago.
But the Forum raised some concerns, including: