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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4373


Senator LINES (Western AustraliaDeputy President and Chair of Committees) (15:47): by leave—I present the report of the Australian parliamentary delegation to the Republic of Korea and Japan, which took place from 11 to 21 April 2018. I seek leave to move a motion to take note of the document.

Leave granted.

Senator LINES: I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

I report that I led the Korean part of the delegation. An important part is that all five members who were on the Korean part of the delegation were women. As the parliaments of both Korea and Japan are dominated by male politicians, the fact that we were an all-female delegation in Korea was a point of discussion. I think it gave encouragement to the women MPs who we visited and spoke to about how to improve the election of women into their parliaments, and, indeed, into ministerial positions.

The parliamentary delegation to the Republic of Korea formed part of the official 2018 bilateral parliamentary visits. The delegation to Japan was by invitation from the presiding officers of the Japanese Diet, and the Speaker, Mr Tony Smith, led that part of the delegation. I would like to thank our embassy staff and officials in Korea, who made our visit so enjoyable and really important. We met with a lot of Australians doing business in Korea, we heard from the Korean members of parliament how important and how valued their relationship with Australia is, and we visited the demilitarised zone, which was really important in the lead-up to the most recent talks with the leader of North Korea.

We also visited a number of private companies, and we saw a lot of Australian produce—sadly, mostly from Victoria—on supermarket shelves in Korea. They are very keen to do business with Australia, and I know that our agencies are working hard on this. They did, however, mention that we could do a better job of selling beef to Korea, and I raised that with Meat & Livestock Australia during estimates. That was commented on quite a number of times when we met with both Australian private employers and Korean officials. Whilst our meat is imported into Korea, there was a view that we could do better than we're doing. I commend the report to the parliament.

Question agreed to.