Inaugural public address by Australia's new High Commissioner to Malaysia


I’m thinking about a country and I want you to guess which country. It’s a middle power, multiracial, in the Indo-Pacific, open trading borders, constitutional democracy, monarchy, Westminster parliamentary system, common law, British military influence and traditions. Any ideas?

Full speech here:

If you are familiar with Malaysia, you would understand that he received mixed responses that included both Australia and Malaysia. And that is the beauty, yet perhaps not so well known fact, of why our countries engage and work together so well. The recent elections, whereby the ruling party was surprisingly overturned after 60 years, has provided a platform for increased engagement between our countries, and to quote HE, “Australia is very excited about the New Malaysia”.

In his address, He talks about change providing both risks and opportunities, and how these are reflected in the Foreign Policy that emphasizes the importance of both the Indo-Pacific region, and Australia’s relationship with ASEAN. Australia and Malaysia’s (often little known) shared history is reflected in our shared interest in rule-based order, international law and open markets. Australia’s trade with Malaysia has doubled in the past 10 years, with Malaysia our 10th largest trading partner in goods and services worth RM36billion ($AUD 12 billion), and this is only set to double with the implementation of TPP11.

The historic election outcome has geostrategical outcomes for Malaysia as a country where democracy has prevailed, and perhaps more importantly, a Muslim-majority country. This positions Malaysia as a democracy that has a voice in the region, a country that can contribute and provide leadership.

It is an exciting time for Australia-Malaysia relations, with HE having met with the new PM Tun Dr Mahathir on two occasions in the first few weeks of his leadership, and with the Deputy PM, a high level meeting has been held with the new Education Minister, and with the Eminent Persons Group that helps guide the new government. In early August, Australia’s Foreign Minister will again visit, the Australian Electoral Commission has been involved in talks about electoral reform, and the Australian Court system is assisting with judicial training.

There has never been a better time for global mobility programs and internships to a country that is politically stable, economically sound and financially competitive, and where hope is driving the country towards increased development in a manner previously not thought possible.