They had met in the most unusual of circumstances, through an inter-parliamentary working group. Her side of politics was more progressive than his, but they agreed on one core thing — they both weren’t too far from that mythical centre. And the past several years were, to both of them, eye opening. They had met many like-minded people from all around the world. From USA congressional study groups and caucuses, to European Parliament’s intergroups, and those involved in similar efforts from across the ASEAN region. It was quite a rewarding journey for the two of them, both professionally and personally.
It was an important milestone for the current Australian Prime Minister, after a campaign of unusual depth he was successful. He had won re-election. He and his party had run on a platform of ‘Good Nation, Good Neighbor’. An internationalist at heart, the PM was looking forward to leading his nation into the following year’s centenary celebrations of the end of World War II.
For the country’s last 12 months really had brought to the fore a sense of being a very welcome part of the global village. Australian athletes had exceeded expectations at the Madrid Olympics and the hosting of last year’s Climate Change Conference delivered the breakthrough “Canberra Concord”. But what really stood out was the ability of Australian diplomats and international relations experts to bring the Santiago round of trade talks, centred on the long-controversial topic of the intelligence economy, to a settled conclusion in Melbourne just 6 months ago.
Australia was glad that despite several decades of difficulty, the family of nations was at last prospering. And that they were very much part of it
One of the more profound seminars that they both attended 10 years ago, in Myanmar of all places, was on the history of inter-state advocacy. In this well-appointed Yangon conference room they learnt of the unsung contribution of senior non-political public servants. These ordinary men and women, invariably in positions of policy development, had a strikingly similar outlook on life. Whether they worked for a branch of a “western” government, a BRICS nation, or one within the ASEAN family, the papers, the ideas, the tenor of their output was one that was rooted in universal family values. Values of respect, of…