Saturday, January 28, 2017

Opportunities, and challenges, ahead for WA’s new Tourism Minister

By Ross B. Taylor

The announcement this week by Western Australia's new Premier Mark McGowan that Paul Papalia is WA's Tourism Minister will be welcomed by the industry and commerce generally. Mr Papalia has considerable interest in this field and also a sound understanding of our region.

As WA seeks to diversify away from our over-reliance on the resources sector, attracting foreign tourists to our state will increasingly be placed under the spotlight as the government seeks to build inbound visitor numbers significantly. And there are some huge opportunities and challenges that the new minister will face.

A look at the inbound statistics for three of our closest neighbours is enlightening but also disturbing. To correctly analysis the current inbound tourism arrivals from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, we need to adjust these numbers down, as all three countries have a large component of business and also student arrivals, with families visiting them during their study-time in WA.

So let's look at the numbers for 2016 for just tourism arrivals for holiday purposes only:
  • Singapore:  65,646
  • Malaysia:    67,642
  • Indonesia:  12,972
Whilst these figures suggest Singapore and Malaysia tourist arrivals are doing well but still have plenty of upside, the numbers for Indonesia are simply dismal. Here is our nearest neighbour: a nation of 260 million people and a strong emerging middle-class, yet WA can only attract less than 13,000 people to come to our state for holidays. Something is clearly wrong.

There has been a lack of focus on Indonesia in recent years, but that has recently changed with the appointment of a specialist Indonesian tourist promotions officer based in Jakarta within our 'now-saved' WA Trade Office. This is a good start, but the two major impediments to boosting inbound tourism to WA is from our Federal Immigration Department who still make it very difficult for Indonesians to apply for, and obtain, visas and the availability of competitive and regular flights between Perth and Indonesia’s major cities.

During President Joko Widodo’s recent visit to Australia both countries re-committed to closer bi-lateral ties, yet both governments continue to place rules that restrict the easy movement of our people – including our youth - between these two neighbours.

Although some changes to visa application rules are coming, Indonesians still must apply for a visa in person rather than online; something that has been enjoyed by Malaysian and Singapore nationals for years.

Young Indonesian’s (including those from Bali) may only apply for a holiday-work visa for a three month period and provided they pay and obtain health checks, a written recommendation from their Ministry of Manpower in Jakarta and provide proof of at least $5,000 in their bank account. I wonder how many young Australians have a ‘lazy’ five grand in their bank account. Their application and health fees are also non-refundable in case their application is rejected.

Interestingly, young people from Japan face less stringent requirements and may stay here for up to 24 months. For older Indonesians the question remains: Why should we ‘mess-around’ with going to Australia when the rest of Asia beckons and is mostly visa-free?

The other major issue facing WA’s new minister will be how to increase the number of flights that operate between WA and Indonesia’s major cities, apart from Denpasar in Bali. Whilst Malaysians and Singaporeans enjoy multiple airline choices and schedules with a number of flights each day in wide-bodied aircraft from Kula Lumpur and Singapore, flights from Indonesia (excluding Bali) are restricted to Garuda Indonesia and generally in aircraft travelling via Bali with lengthy stop-overs. Fares tend to be higher as well.

So the challenge for our new Minister is to pressure his federal colleagues to create a simplified and more 'friendly' visa application system for Indonesian nationals, including for young people wanting to holiday and work here, and to attract more competition on the Perth - Jakarta route and also between large cities such as Surabaya in East Java (home to 45 million people) and where WA enjoys a long-standing ‘Sister-State’ relationship.

We need more tourism; we all know that. But there are some gaping holes in these current arrivals figures.

With the appointment of a new and vibrant minister at least we now have an opportunity to do something about tapping into this huge market, right on our doorstep. And that should start with a phone call to the federal minister for immigration.

Ross Taylor is the president of the Perth-based Indonesia Institute Inc.
March 2017

Careful where you wear jeans': The unspoken rules of Indonesia.

At first glance, Indonesia appears to be a nation barely concerned with rules.
The colour of the traffic lights, for instance, has no connection to what the motorists are actually doing at an intersection.

Lane markings are for decoration only. Adults riding motorcycles wear helmets, but their child passengers never do.

Want to do a nine-point-U-turn across three lanes of traffic? Go for it. No one will even honk at you.
But as I spend more time here, it seems to me that the rules that really matter are the ones that aren't written down.

Be careful where you wear jeans

After a year in Indonesia it's time to renew my press credentials, which means a trip to the centre of power in Indonesia: the State Palace.

I need to get to the palace's media office but make it as far as the first line of security. A guard holding a sub-machine gun glances at my credentials, and then looks a lot harder at my pants.
He reaches out the hand that's not holding a weapon and pinches a fold of my dark blue trousers.
"Jeans?" he asks.

I'd forgotten perhaps the most rigidly enforced rule in Indonesia: no denim at the State Palace.
No, not jeans! I say, feigning outrage, in my horrible Bahasa Indonesia. "Tidak jeans ... Chinos!"
"Chinos?" he replies.

My colleague Yoto takes over, in Bahasa. "We're just going to get a pass," he says. "We're not visiting the Palace itself. Please can you let my ignorant friend through."
I'm eventually given a day pass, and we proceed.

We walk across the carpark of the palace, into an outer building. Another guard with an automatic weapon, this time with a silencer attached, steps out from behind a desk. He ignores my pass and stares at my pants. He looks shocked.
"Jeans," he says, contemptuously. I'm sure his knuckles whiten around his gun.
The purpose of the silencer becomes clear — quiet executions of inappropriately dressed foreigners.

'Never speak about someone else's religion'

Jakarta's Christian governor Ahok is on trial for blasphemy here, not because he incited hatred against Muslims — clearly, he did not.

When he said that Islamic clerics were wrong by stating that Muslims couldn't vote for a Christian, he broke one of Indonesia's key unwritten rule — don't talk about someone else's religion.
At the last big protest against Ahok, I spend hours wandering among the crowd of more than half a million.
Everyone I spoke to was friendly and helpful. They gave me food and drink, took the food wrappers and empty water bottles from me when I'd finished, and shushed each other when I was recording radio news reports.

It all was going fine until I walked away. People started yelling at me, gesturing wildly. I had no idea what the problem was until an English speaker ran up to me, I was walking on the grass of a traffic island.
There are no signs, but everyone in Jakarta knows: keep off the grass.

How a musician ended up in prison for three months

Foreigners sometimes misread Indonesia's unpredictable approach to the rules, just ask those caught in Bali with even the smallest amount of drugs.
Get caught on the beach smoking a joint, and you have an excellent chance of spending at least 12 months in Kerobokan prison.

Every month or two there's another story about a foreigner caught bending the rules on a working visa.
Like US singer Kina Grannis, who came to Jakarta to perform at a single concert, and ended up being detained in Jakarta for three months until her immigration hearing.
She even wrote a song about it.

'The immigration officers swooped'

At the ABC we spend months each year in the arduous process of renewing our working visa, called a Kitas. I sometimes wondered why we bother — no-one ever looks at it.
Until earlier this month, when I was in South Jakarta covering the Ahok trial. I was a bit shaken after watching a hardline Islamist mob descend on a man suspected of being a police informer.
They roughed him up for about five minutes until some in the crowd dragged him to the police, who were standing by on the other side of a razor wire barricade, doing nothing.
The plainclothes immigration officers weren't nearly as passive.
As cameraman Phil Hemingway and I walked away they swooped. After 10 minutes of inspecting our documents, they grinned as they let us go, even posing with us for photos.
We'd played by the rules. And neither of us was wearing jeans.

Adam Harvey is the ABC Correspondent based in Jakarta. This article appeared on ABC Online on Saturday 28th January 2017

Yes, this is the Asian Century, but there’s still cause for Western optimism

"Asia is on the rise. That doesn't mean the West has to be pessimistic "

By Kishore Mahbubani Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 
National University of Singapore

The big question of our time is a simple one: should we feel optimistic or pessimistic for the future of humanity, all 7 billion of us?

The world’s response is divided. Many Western societies are drowning in pessimism. By contrast, the rest have never been more optimistic. This represents a reversal of previous centuries’ pattern, where the West was always more optimistic. What happened? And what do the facts tell us?
The facts are clear. The human condition has never been better. Global poverty is declining steadily. In 2015, we far exceeded the UN’s Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty. According to the NIC, extreme poverty could halve again by 2030.

The global middle classes are exploding, from 1.8 billion in 2010 to 3.2 billion in 2020 and 4.9 billion in 2030. The world’s infant mortality rate has decreased from an estimated 60 deaths per thousand live births in 1990 to 32 in 2015. This translates to more than 4 million fewer infant deaths per year. If we were rational and objective, we would be celebrating the current human condition. 

Western naval-gazing 

Why are we not? One simple answer is that Western intellectuals who dominate the global intellectual discourse are only aware of their societies’ short-term challenges, not the long-term global promises. Francis Fukuyama illustrates this well. In an essay written after the election of Donald Trump, he says, “Donald Trump’s stunning electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton marks a watershed, not just for American politics, but for the entire world order. We appear to be entering a new age of populist nationalism, in which the dominant liberal order that has been constructed since the 1950s has come under attack from angry and energized democratic majorities. The risk of sliding into a world of competitive and equally angry nationalisms is huge, and if this happens it would mark as momentous a juncture as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.” [Note: emphasis added.]

Please study his words carefully. He is conflating the condition of the West with the condition of the world. It’s true that populism has risen in the West. That explains Trump and Brexit (and possibly Le Pen). But it hasn’t emerged in the more populous regions of Asia and Africa. 

More importantly, the West only represents 12% of the world’s population. 88% live outside the West. And their living conditions (with the exception of a few Arab countries and North Korea) have never been better.
Take three of the most populous countries in Asia: China, India and Indonesia. The lives of the almost 3 billion people in these countries have never been better. And they will get much better in the coming decades, .

The decade of 2010 to 2020 is probably the best decade Asia has ever experienced. The Asian middle class population is going to jump from 500 million in 2010 to 1.75 billion in 2020. In short, Asia is going to add 1.5 times the total population of the West to the global middle class population in one decade.
Why is this happening? One simple answer is the triumph of reason. 

The spread of Western science and technology demonstrates this most clearly. At the most basic level, humans around the world can see the benefits of modern Western medicine. As a result, reason is replacing superstition. In all spheres of human life, from economic policies to environmental management, from education to urban planning, Western best practices are being almost universally adopted by all societies.

So what’s with all the pessimism? 

If the world is getting better, why is the West becoming more pessimistic? The simple answer is that the West has pursued a deeply flawed strategy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Like the British defenders of Singapore in World War II, they had their guns pointed out to the sea in the South when the Japanese came by land from the North.

To put this point even more starkly, the West thought it had won a colossal and epic struggle with its dramatic victory in the Cold War. As a result, it didn’t notice that an even bigger struggle had begun with the “return” of Asia at the same time. China decided to re-join the world economy in the 1980s. India did so in the 1990s. The return of 3 billion Asians was obviously going to shake up the global economy. The West didn’t notice.

It didn’t notice because Western minds were intoxicated with an unhealthy opiate of triumphalism. Francis Fukuyama’s famous essay “The End of History” captured this well. As a result, the West developed a flawed interventionist strategy towards the rest. Many of the interventions led to disaster. Michael Mandelbaum notes that “the Clinton administration’s track record was not encouraging: it has promised order in Somalia and left chaos. It had gone to Haiti to restore democracy and had left anarchy. It had bombed in Bosnia for the sake of national unity but presided over a de facto partition.”

And 9/11 made things worse. It seduced the Neo-Con advisers of George W Bush to invade Iraq, after invading Afghanistan. A decade later, Europeans saw two-thirds of their refugees coming from three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. 

But that was not where the real disaster was. As Western strategic thinkers were distracted, they didn’t see that the most important event in 2001 was not 9/11. It was China’s entry into the World Trade Organization. The entry of almost a billion workers into the global trading system would obviously result in massive “creative destruction” and the loss of many jobs. 

Trump and Brexit are therefore the natural and logical results of a flawed Western strategy of not dealing with the real economic challenges to the West. While the West was distracted, China emerged. According to IMF statistics, in 1980, in PPP terms, America’s share of global GDP was 25% while that of China was 2.2%. In 2016, America’s share has shrunk to 15.5% while that of China has risen to 17.9%.

The relative decline of the West 

There are therefore sound strategic reasons for Western pessimism: From 1820 to roughly 1980, Western economic power either grew steadily or maintained a huge globally dominant position. In the past three decades, the combined GDP of North America and Western Europe has shrunk from 51.5% in 1990 to 33.45% in 2014.

An even more destructive strategic change happened at the same time. While the workers in the West suffered job losses and deteriorating incomes, the Western elite became super rich from accelerated globalization and the return of Asia. 

RW Johnson describes well how American workers suffered: “Between 1948 and 1973, productivity rose by 96.7% and real wages by 91.3%, almost exactly in step. Those were the days of plentiful hard-hat jobs in steel and the auto industry when workers could afford to send their children to college and see them rise into the middle class. But from 1973 to 2015 – the era of globalization, when many of those jobs vanished abroad – productivity rose 73.4% while wages rose by only 11.1%. Since 2000 the wages paid to college graduates have fallen.”

A reason to be optimistic 

The existential questions that the West faces today are quite simple. Is everything lost? Will Western power and influence steadily decline? Or is there hope for the West? Can the West also benefit from the resurgence of the rest?

The simple answer is that the West can benefit from the surge of the rest. 12% of the world’s population can be pulled along by the remaining 88%. To achieve this, Western leaders and pundits need to make many significant psychological adjustments.

Instead of constantly trying to retain control of the world, the West should learn to share power. Asians should be allowed to run the IMF and World Bank. Equally importantly, Western pundits must drop their traditional condescension when speaking about the rest. Emerging Asian entities, like China, India and ASEAN, should be treated with more respect. India should be immediately given a seat on the UN Security Council, with the UK and France stepping aside. 

All this sounds inconceivable to many Western minds. But until recently, it was also inconceivable that the rest could be more optimistic than the West. The West must now do the inconceivable to prepare for the inevitable inconceivable world.

Kishore Mahbubani is the author of The Great Convergence: Asia, the West and the Logic of One World. His forthcoming book, The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace will be published by NUS Press in early 2017.

Jokowi: A reform-minded leader despite the challenges ahead.

Indonesian president Jokowi: A reform-minded leader
Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, won the presidential election of Indonesia in 2014 by vowing to boost growth, attract investments and improve infrastructure, making him the first president outside of the political and military elite.

Having worked as a carpenter and later as a furniture exporter before he was elected as the mayor of Jakarta, Jokowi is portrayed as a reform-minded and liberal president. Since assuming the top post in late 2014, he has carried out numerous reforms to fuel growth, albeit with different degrees of success. Nonetheless, he has improved the country’s fiscal credibility, improved public infrastructure, and created a market-friendly investment environment.

Fuel subsidy cuts and tax amnesty programs boost Indonesia’s fiscal credibility

Indonesia has a long record of budget and current account deficits, and Jokowi’s efforts in cutting fuel subsidies and his tax amnesty program have helped to improve the government’s fiscal space, regarded as his greatest achievement in the first two years of his presidency. 

During the first three months of his presidency, Jokowi ended the decades-long subsidies that created a huge burden on government spending. The World Bank along with other international institutions had advised Indonesia to abandon its energy subsidies. With the help of low commodity prices, Jokowi’s administration pushed through with the reform. The cuts freed up 19.8 percent of the 2015 state budget, with a total of $20 billion to fund public spending for infrastructure and education. 

To deal with tax evasion and fund government spending, Jokowi’s administration also launched a tax amnesty program in July 2016, which will run until March 2017. The first two phases of the program saw the government collecting an extra 107 trillion rupiah ($8 billion) worth of tax revenue, almost 10 percent of the total tax revenue in 2016.

Economic reforms improve ease of doing business in Indonesia

Indonesia is ranked among the worst countries to do business with according to the World Bank’s ranking, and Jokowi has made improving the index one of his top priorities. 

Between September 2015 and August 2016, with over 200 business regulations, his government has introduced thirteen economic policy packages, which include reducing processing time for establishing a business, issuing permits, cutting administration costs, measures to support small and medium businesses, and fiscal incentives to attract investments.

 A series of reforms have generated waves of optimism that Indonesia is eager to integrate with the global economy. Foreign investors responded favorably to the economic reforms and saw an increase in foreign investment in 2015 by 19.2 percent.
So far, the reforms have helped the country to improve its ease of doing business index from 106th to 91th place in 2017. But this is still very far behind Jokowi’s goal to move Indonesia’s position to 40th by the end of his first term. 

Another significant part of Jokowi’s economic reform is the change of foreign ownership, which has helped to create more opportunities for foreign investment. With the support of Jokowi, the revised foreign ownership rules, known as the negative investment list (DNI), which outline the industries and to what extent foreign investment is allowed, have reduced the restricted sectors and raised the foreign ownership limit for industries such as travel, pharmaceutical, and creative. While the liberalisation remains restrictive, it nonetheless demonstrates the government’s commitment to further liberalise the economy and foreign access.

Public infrastructure took momentum under Jokowi’s presidency after a slow start

Improvement in infrastructure has been an icon of Jokowi’s administration. Suffering from a minority parliament that was dominated by opposition parties, Jokowi’s administration was slow in the execution of public spending for infrastructure projects. However, over the last 12 months, Jokowi has consolidated his political power and spending has finally picked up momentum. Last year, several big projects came underway, including a third terminal opening at Jakarta’s Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, the construction of a metro network system in the capital, and a high-speed railway connecting the capital to the country’s West Java province. 

Infrastructure projects continue to face structural challenges such as land acquisition and weak cooperation between central and regional governments, especially land acquisition issues that have at times raised concern for human rights. But Jokowi has showed determination to push for infrastructure development and has appeared at the groundbreaking of several big projects despite land acquisition processes still being underway. While this may be seen as controversial, it ultimately boosts investor confidence.

Political consolidation frees up Jokowi’s efforts for more policy focus

Improving fiscal credibility and speeding up infrastructure spending were the key achievements of Jokowi’s first two years, but these could not have been achieved without the success of his political manoeuvring through the complexity of the Indonesian political system. 

Jokowi began his presidency with a parliament dominated by opposition parties, but within the last 12 months, he has gained support of other political parties, including the opposition party, Golkar, which is also the second largest political party in Indonesia. With the help of Golkar, Jokowi has nearly 70 percent of the parliament behind him, making the legislative process easier.

With a majority parliament, he was able to pass through the controversial tax amnesty bill and reshuffle his cabinet in July 2016, a second time within a year. His appointment of Sri Mylyani Indrawati, a World Bank managing director, as a finance minister is widely welcomed by investors as a sign of the government’s commitment to fiscal discipline.

Despite coming from the outside of the political circle, Jokowi has exhibited great political navigation skills. He is now in a much stronger position to carry out his reforms and it is looking increasingly likely that he will be re-elected in 2019 for a second term. 

Looking ahead, logistics and infrastructure deficiencies will continue to prevent Indonesia from reaching its growth potential. Internal power struggles, especially within the ruling party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and chairwoman and former president, Megawati Sukarnoputri pose the greatest challenges to Jokowi’s political position. External factors such as the competition between China and the US and the uncertainty of the global economy will weigh on Indonesia’s economic development. 

But investors have reasons to be hopeful for Indonesia. Unlike many southeast Asian political leaders, who are either suffering from international criticisms, tangled in corruption scandals, or constrained by entrenched power struggles, Jokowi has the political power, and his reform-minded and pro-business attitude is a sign of optimism in the Indonesian market. Jokowi has set a target of 7 percent GDP growth by 2019. 

While this is a rather ambitious target with the World Bank predicting Indonesia to grow 5.3 percent in 2017, if Jokowi manages to secure a second term, it is very likely he will be able to achieve it after 2019

Monday, January 9, 2017

Australia must be more sensitive in dealings with Indonesia.

Illustration: Eric Lobbecke

By Richard Woolcott

All Australians, especially our political leaders, should be in no doubt that in the future no relationship will be more important to Australia than that with Indonesia. This importance coexists with a vulnerability and sensitivities linked to our different approaches to major issues. The current rift and the suspension of all, or more likely some, of our military links is the latest example of the fragility of our relationship.
No two neighbours are as unalike. 

As former foreign minister Gareth Evans wrote in 1991: “We largely differ in language, culture, religion, history, ethnicity, population size, and in political and legal systems.”

Although it seems likely General Gatot Nurmantyo alleged publicly that Australia had tried to recruit Indonesian officers as agents, he apparently suspended defence co-operation between the two countries without discussing it with President Joko Widodo. But Jokowi, as the leader is popularly known, said he supported the decision as a matter of principle. In Indonesian politics it is not helpful to be regarded as being responsive to Australian pressure.

This was the case, for example, with Australia’s persistent opposition to the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Our continuing and excessive pressure in fact underlined that they would be executed. It was also seen in Indonesia as inconsistent because John Howard had supported the execution of Saddam Hussein and called for the execution of the Bali bombers.

General Gatot visited Darwin recently, apparently to ascertain what the 2500 US marines based there were actually doing. He also expressed concerns about possible Australian support for West Papuan independence and has argued in the past Australia originally opposed East Timor’s independence but changed its position when pressures built up.

Now that Indonesia has democratised, the general feels free to make comments that may not be supported by some of his colleagues. Australia’s relations with Indonesia, as well as our ties with China, the US, Japan, India and Russia are asymmetrical in that they are more important to us than relations with Australia are to them. We may not like this but it is a fact and means that the onus is on us to work hard to strengthen relations with these countries.

Indonesia is of special importance to us because it is so close and so large — a country of about 250 million people, 81 per cent of whom are Muslim, and with a 90 per cent literacy rate. Its middle class is growing rapidly. This offers so many challenges - and opportunities, if handled with sophistication.
The rise of Asia has been caused by the great transfer of wealth from the West to the East, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

This shift is driven mainly by the spectacular economic growth of China. It is also reinforced by the rise of India and the established economic strengths of Japan and South Korea, in addition to the growing potential of Indonesia and Vietnam.

This constitutes a historic global turning point to which Australia must respond — or be left behind.
The Asia-Pacific region is where the world’s major power relationships now most closely intersect. It is where the template for the US-China relationship will be largely shaped. It is also the crucible in which the interrelationships on Asia-Pacific issues between Australia and Indonesia, as well as the US, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and other regional countries will be forged.

And we are not doing as well in our engagement with Indonesia as the rhetoric and spin from ministerial offices would have us believe. Study of the Indonesian language and Asian history and cultures in our schools and universities is declining. Indonesia will never accept our “turn back the boats” policy. It sees Australia as a large country with a small population. A former Indonesian ­ambassador said to me recently that all those who had “come by boat in the last decade would not fill the MCG”.

Indonesia would also be un­impressed by any provocative action by Australia in the South China Sea.
I believe we need a fundamental change in our national psyche to focus more on Asia than on our traditional links with the US, Britain and Europe. Many Indonesians see Australians as part of the “Anglosphere”, as uncouth in terms of Indonesian culture, and still harbouring undertones of ­racism and religious intolerance as the election of Pauline Hanson (and her supporters) to the Senate last year would indicate. They also find our close involvement in the conflicts in the Middle East damaging and inconsistent with our claimed focus on the Asian and southwest Pacific.

Indonesia welcomes constructive American involvement in the Asia-Pacific region but there is some concern about the pivot to Asia, now referred to as “rebalancing”. The Indonesian government and think tanks want to know what this will involve for us in US strategic thinking. In Indonesia there will be concern if we are seen as bound to American military activities, especially if places such as the Christmas and Cocos islands — so close to Indonesia, yet part of Australia — might be used, including by drones, for security purposes the in region. As a matter of course we should keep Indonesia informed of what involvements we may be entering and the extent to which they might affect Indonesia.

It is, therefore, important that Australia has an Indonesian speaking, culturally sensitive ambassador in Jakarta.

The late Sabam Siagian, a former Indonesian ambassador to Australia and editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post, told me last year that thinking Indonesians find it difficult to accept Australia as a “true strategic partner”. Australia, he added, needs to “speed up its transition to the changed global and regional situation and become an independent nation that stands on its own two feet”.

He found it difficult to understand why Australia had not yet become a republic, and how we could retain the Queen of England as our head to state (the real issue was the monarchy, not the occupant).

Richard Woolcott is a former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, ambassador to Indonesia, and ambassador to the UN. He is the founding director of the Asia Society Australia Centre.

(This article first appeared in The Australian Newspaper on Monday 9th January 2017)