Function for the Australian Institute of International Affairs - Queensland Branch
Shadow Trade Minister, Mr Tim Nicholls MP; members of the Consular Corp; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House this evening.
It is quite a challenge to pinpoint the time at which Australia took full control of its foreign and trade policy.
I was certainly not at Federation in 1901, when foreign policy remained, by mutual consent, the province of the United Kingdom. But, by the end of World War Two, Australia had the major levers of foreign policy firmly in its hands.
Parallel with this process was not only the development of foreign policy expertise in government, and of a professional diplomatic service, but also the development of a broader corpus of Australian interest and expertise in foreign policy.
Over those decades, the making and implementation of Australian foreign policy has had to react to an increasingly crowded, complex and challenging international environment that affects the everyday lives of Australians in a variety of ways.
As a result, the need for informed debate on our country’s foreign policy has become more, rather than less, important for the quality and robustness of that ongoing dialogue.
The AIIA has long been a highly important player in this field. Nationally, the Institute is only eight years short of its centenary. The Queensland Branch has been active since the early 1930s.
It is entirely fitting then, that the Queensland Branch has embarked on two initiatives designed to strengthen further the Institute’s participation in the national foreign policy dialogue.
The AIIA Queensland Award recognises an Institute member who has contributed most to the State in the international relations arena in 2015.
The Asia Pacific Scholarship looks to the future in assisting students who are AIIA members to study overseas in their chosen discipline.
As Governor and Patron, I warmly congratulate both award winners in advance, and I thank and congratulate the executive, staff and members of the Queensland Branch of the AIIA on its very significant and ongoing contribution to the profile and quality of foreign policy discussion, debate and dialogue in our State and further afield.