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Australian official stresses importance of Public Policy Exchange between UAE and Australia

posted on 28/01/2014: 6435 views

Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia, has commended the outstanding relations between Australia and the United Arab Emirates, and the growing development on these relations in the last years especially in the education field.

In an exclusive interview carried on the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, ECSSR, website, the Australian official said that there is "a very great friendship between our countries and it keeps growing year by year. I also think there are dimensions for further growth." She added that on the economy front, both countries have a strong relationship but there is more that can be done stressing the importance of the completion of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Australia.

She also noted that Australia has many Emiratis who go to Australia to study and there are Australian educational institutions in the UAE. Also, both countries have excellent air connections. But she added that there is always more to build on the people-to-people link.

With regard to signing a strategic partnership with China and stabilising relations with Beijing, she said, "As Prime Minister earlier, I was very pleased that we came to an agreement with China for annual leaders' meetings. Australia is one of the few nations of the world that has got a standing diplomatic architecture of that significance with China. China is important to our region, it is important to Australia and an important economic partner. But really the whole world has got an interest in seeing China peacefully rise and take its place as a global player in a rules-based system."

In answer to a question about climate change and her views on carbon tax, her reply was, "I think Australia and the UAE are both hot and dry places and as the world's climate changes, then there is as much risk for us as for people around the world. The most efficient mechanism for reducing carbon pollution is to put a price on it, and have a market-based scheme and emissions-trading scheme. That is what I introduced in Australia. The current government was elected on a platform of repealing that carbon price but that legislation is yet to be considered by our Parliament. So it is out there in public debate."

ECSSR then asked Ms Gillard about the identity of Australia and its citizens, citing the facts that Australia is a continent in itself, has dominion status and is also a Commonwealth country. With a variety of identities, how does the world look at Australia? The ex-Prime Minister explained: "I think Australians would like to be seen by the rest of the world as a peaceful, multicultural democracy. In terms of how we see the world, when I was Prime Minister, I made sure that our nation issued a new Policy Paper called Australia in the Asian Century' recognising that we live in the region of the world which will see such rapid transformation in this century. So our focus is on our region but we also want to be known and respected right around the world. This is why, for example, we pursued the campaign to be on the United Nations Security Council and we were so delighted to receive such strong support from the UAE."

The interview concluded with a question about Australia's long struggle to build a truly multicultural society, asking if she was happy with the way things stand at the moment and the way it is progressing.

In replying, she said, "Australia is a country we can really be proud of but one of the things we can be particularly proud of is the way our country has become a genuinely diverse, multicultural and peaceful society where diversity is the norm and is respected. I am a migrant to Australia. I migrated there as a child from the United Kingdom and rose to be Prime Minister." In a closing message to the ECSSR in its 20th anniversary year, she added "I am really delighted to have been invited to speak at the ECSSR. I am very admiring of the Centre's work. I think this is going to be a fantastic year, the 20th anniversary year of the Centre, so congratulations to all involved." - Emirates News Agency, WAM –


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