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Australia in the Asian Century White Paper



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Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Julie Bishop

Australia in the Asian Century White Paper

29/10/12

The economic growth and increasing military and strategic importance of Asia has enormous implications for Australia in coming decades.

It is vital that policy makers in this country have a deep engagement and fundamental understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

That is what makes the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper so disappointing, as it has failed to set out a strategic vision for the steps that we should take in this country in response to developments in the region.

Rather than address the critical issues, the White Paper is a brazen attempt at self-congratulation that tries to make the argument that to take advantage of Asia's growth we merely have to adopt Labor's current policy agenda.

There are laudable goals and aspirations in the White Paper, however there is no new funding and little detail of how those goals will be achieved.

The report does not address the damage to relations caused by this government's handling of issues such as border protection, live cattle exports, foreign investment and increasing union militancy, among others.

The government has a track record of producing documents with grandiose launches, such as the 2009 Defence White Paper, and then failing to act on the report.

Some of the government’s actions in last week's MYEFO are in direct contradiction of recommendations in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper including cuts to education and research which reveals the government's lack of commitment to this paper.