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We had the pleasure of attending a recent address titled ‘Keeping the Right Balance in Asia’ by the Hon John Howard OM AC, former Prime Minister of Australia.  Mr Howard delivered the inaugural Asia Lecture at the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University in Brisbane Australia.

Mr Howard discussed Australia’s emerging and evolving relationships across the Asian region including China and ASEAN.

He shared the historic days in 2003 when US President George W Bush’s address to the Australian Parliament was followed the next day by the address of the President of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintao. These events signalled Australia’s growing diplomatic position in the Asia Pacific to the world, and demonstrated there was no need to ‘choose friends’ between Australia’s traditional ties and its growing relationship with developing powers.

Mr Howard observed that Australia was (and is still being) developed on the back of foreign investment, and that Australia should be open to foreign investment subject to the normal checks and balances.

Good reminders as Australia seeks greater engagement and ties with its neighbours in the Asian Century.