Homepage Events
Celebrate 40 years of Australia-China Diplomatic Relationship

2012 marks the 40th Anniversary of Australia - China Diplomatic Relationship. To celebrate this very significant occasion, ACPPRC and NSW Parliament Asia-Pacific Friendship Group have organised a 2-day Summit on 22 and 23 November 2012 at Parliament House. Chinese diplomats, specialists, academics have been invited to attend this 'Summit of the 40th Anniversary of Australia-China Diplomatic Relationship'. At this Summit we summed up the past, reviewed the present and predicted the future. We discussed policies, foreign affairs, culture, education, technology and the various aspects through which we have had so many years of mutual relations. We endeavoured to instil new blood, provide fresh ideas and promote vitality to further enhance this excellent relationship between our two countries.

We were privileged to have the Hon. Bob Carr, Foreign Minister; H.E. Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW; the Hon. Barry O'Farrel MP, Premier of New South Wales as our keynote speakers. We were also honored to have had overseas speakers from China Mainland, Taiwan and Macau. The Summit was received very well by the attendees praising its effectiveness, professionalism and scope.


At the opening ceremony, the following speakers had delivered their messages:

Mr. William Chiu JP, Chairman of ACPPRC;
Message from the Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser, AC, CH;
Message from Ambassador of P.R. China to Australia;
Hon Barry O’Farrell MP, NSW Premier;
H.E. Hu Xiaolan, Deputy Consul-General of the PRC in Sydney;
Mr. Alfred Huang AM, South Australian Government Special Envoy to China, Representing S.A. Premier;
Mr. Lin Wenken, President of Chinese Language and Culture Education Foundation of China;
Mr Zheng Xinsui, representative of the National People’s Congress of China Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC Hubei Provincial Committee;
Ms Linda Law, Acting Director of Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office to Sydney;
Ms Rose Chi, Chairperson of Alliance for the Reunification of China


The keynote speaker of the luncheon on 22 November 2012 at Parliament House was NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir. Mr Daryl Maguire MP was the M.C.. Hon Don Harwin introduced the NSW Governor.

During the section of Chinese Culture Seminar in the afternoon, the speakers included: Prof. Jocelyn Chey, Professor of Sydney University Former Australian Consul General in Hong Kong; Prof. Meng Man, associate Professor of Minzu University of China; and Prof. Cheng Yuzhui, Professor of Peking University.

Senator The Hon. Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, was the keynote speaker of welcome dinner on 22 November at Parliament House. Mr Ernest Wong was the introducer.

The first section in the morning of 23 November 2012 was 'Relationship Across Taiwan Strait and the Region'. The speakers included: Ms Linda Law, Acting Director of Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office to Sydney; Mr Mee-Kau Nyaw, President of Association of Hong Kong Region for the Peaceful Reunification of China; and Mr Gu Kaining, Deputy Director of China's Research Centre on Cross-Strait Relations

The second section was 'Multiculturalism in China and Australia'. The speakers included: Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and Mr Qi Zhencang, Deputy Principal of Gansu Institute of Chinese Culture.

Hon Barry O’Farrell MP, NSW Premier, was the keynote speaker of the lunch on 23 November at Parliament House. Ms Sonia Hornery MP was the MC.

The afternoon section in the afternoon was 'Business Interaction Forum', Co-organised with China Studies Centre/Business School of University of Sydney. The Chair was Prof. Hans Hendrischke.

The closing banquet was held in the evening of 23 November. The speakers included: Mr. Frank Chou, Senior Honorary Chairman of ACPPRC; The Hon. Philip Ruddock, Shadow-Cabinet Secretary of the Federal Opposition; Mr. Daryl Maguire, Chairman of NSW Parliament Asia Pacific Friendship Group, Co-Chair of the Organising Committee of the 40th Anniversary of Australia-China Diplomatic Relationship; The Hon. Amanda Fazio MLC, Opposition Whip in NSW Legislative Council.

Keynote Speech from Professor Marie Bashir
NSW Governor
at the luncheon on 22 November 2012

Well, thank you indeed honorable Don Harwin for those very very generous and may I say catchy remarks. At the outset I want to say what a joy and privilege it is to be here today with you all and when I tell you a little of what I have to say you’ll believe those very words. But to be here with you, you are representatives of a wonderful wonderful community in Australia and may I say to you chairman Daryl Maguire, member for Wagga Wagga, Yes, just 63 miles from Wagga Wagga I was born. A very very long time ago. Grew up in the Warungjeree country, that’s the traditional owners of that glorious part of Australia. So it is with a sense of joy and gratitude I also acknowledge and indeed respect the traditional custodian of this land from which we gather. The original environmentalists who have nurtured our land for 40,000 years in the South and 60,000 years in the North.

Well, yes, members of parliament- so many of you here today touch me deeply. Members of the past and present, which is indicative of the great, respect and value that they place on this friendship between two very great people. There can be no doubt of that, and I say that with modesty. So, Mr William Chiu, a great pleasure to be here with you and thank you for your inspired leadership and those who have gone before in this very important Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China. And of course the splendid parliamentary group, this parliament, the oldest parliament in the land of the Asia Pacific friendship group.

Visionaries, all of you. And may I say all the leaders supporting this luncheon and this 2-day conference are visionaries too, because you too know that this is the way the world must go. You are investors in the greatest investment I think probably of modern civilization. What can be derived, the dividends will emanate from the friendship between our vast country, small in population, though wise and China of course very wise with a quarter of the earth’s population but considerable land, intelligence, creativity and vision for the future. Together I believe, I should have left this sentence to the end, but together we can change the direction of the world for the better. Show peaceful, coexistence, inspiring one another, and collaboration- and I am not talking about the economy. Yes the economy is fine in both our nations, but far more important and deeper than that is the well being of our people. And others I think will see a model that hopefully will be emulated.

So, Hon. Helen Sham Ho, Mr Frank Chou OAM, Prof. Shao Qun, Katie Young vice chairman and of course Shirley Hancock speaker for the lower house and Ms. Hu Xiao Lan and everyone of you distinguished guests and oh I missed Mr Alfred Huang from south Australia, the warmest of welcomes to you. That too is indicative of the strength and friendship and the importance of this gathering of the 2 days that one of our own should come from South Australia part of our commonwealth to share in the wisdom that will emanate from your 2 days together.

And I am not saying this to flatter anyone here but why should I have this deep love and respect for the Chinese people, Chinese culture and Chinese history? Because I was brainwashed when I was a little girl, brainwashed by my mother. When we were very good little children we could have embroidered Chinese sheets on our beds from Swatow and we could nurse the mandarin doll. She would show us how to paint in the Chinese style because she herself, a Sydney girl, was a lover of the Chinese culture. But it also, as we got older, it pained her to see the Chinese people continue to suffer. So that made me very interested and this is not political at all- it is to do with humanity and the right of every family, child, adult to have a peaceful life, access to education and health.

So that after the revolution- I was a student then, at university and not rightly to mingle with, just a child from Daryl Maguire’s country, Warungjeree country at the university of Sydney, but I was a subscriber, and hope I don’t offend anyone, to China Reconstruct, China Pictorial and so forth.

So I began to appreciate the suffering that was going on, the history, and the incredible courage of those of the long march of which there were doctors and lawyers and even idealists from other countries. So at the first possible opportunity, 1974, I was able to obtain a visa. That was not long after our prime minister recognized China as having a right to have a role on this planet and established historically that wonderful relationship 40 years ago. So congratulations to those forebears who worked towards that very wonderful relationship which continues to grow and blossom.

Well I was going by myself. My husband was the Lord Mayor of Sydney at that time and because of the opening of the Opera House he thought he couldn’t leave the post. So I was going as a youngish doctor and I wanted to go down to the provinces with the barefoot doctors to see how they were immunising the children and were they getting the medical services out to the people. So that was arranged through various connections, so you know through the consulate and so forth. And my aunt who lived in the eastern suburb, my parents had both died, my aunt said “I can’t let you travel alone, I’ll come with you”. So she came with me and I’ll never forget those wondrous, glorious times. In the little villages down in the south west province the grandmothers will say wait wait, through the interpreter, wait and they would run home to get their children to see these funny looking people with the long nose but most especially- you know what intrigued them? What was on our feet. We had flesh colour stockings so they pull up the stockings to show these strange things on the feet that they weren’t just this coloured legs. Could you imagine that? So it was a journey of absolute joy it was a journey of joy.

I don’t want to offend anyone but I tell you, we went to concerts by the People’s Liberation Army. We went to operas in Guangzhou and Beijing- it was simply wondrous. We walked along the great wall with our hearts pounding, knowing how much the Chinese people had suffered and now they had their country together. Yes, everyone was wearing the same clothing but so what? It looked to me that everyone was having at least one nutritious meal a day. The children looked healthy. They were going to school.

And of course there we did go to the new territories, looked across from Hong Kong too and I knew that one-day all that territory including Hong Kong would come together as one harmonious whole. So I have had the great privilege to have visited China. When I came back, several times, many times and the last was over 3 weeks ago and I tell you about that, that had to do with the University of Sydney- young Chinese students their graduation ceremony that we take over there as they can’t wait here in Sydney. But I was invited back to China for their 35th anniversary of the revolution. I don’t know how that came about perhaps because when I came back to Sydney, channel 9 and various other media outlets  “Lady Mayor-ess, what do you think of communist China?” and I said what I thought about the Peoples Republic of China was that if they continue on their pathway of working hard as one people for their nation, the world will never, throughout its history, have seen anything like the achievements that will result.  So I was told and I never forget this and I am glad they said that to me “if you like communism so much, go and live there” and I said, I am not speaking of political ideologies.  Political ideologies come and go- it changes all the time. I am talking about one quarter of the earth’s population, our sisters and brothers who now despite the pressures, despite the constraints, despite perhaps the limitations that will need to evolve, are still at last, united. I actually said, forgive me everyone, the foreign devils are no longer here exploiting. I was using some of the language I learnt from the China Reconstruct, China Pictorial but of course what one saw at the 35th anniversary revolution was further achievements, great building. Most of you if haven’t visited China in recent years know only too well the enormous achievements that are being made. And I am not just speaking about the visible ones because the universities in Australia are very proud to be linked with the universities in China.

My reason for being there 3 weeks ago was to visit, was at the invitation of the Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of the great universities of the world, not just one of the great universities of China. With whom we have a number of very advanced research studies going. Research studies on stem cells, biology, research studies that are going to, we believe, help all of the people of the world and not just the people of Australia and China. The other important thing is too that we are building a very important bridge of friendship that is very strong and that will continue to thrive. And as you know,  millions of Chinese students  now travel across the world for higher education. They have splendid universities in China but also China believes that their young people are enhanced by overseas experience in academic institutions. So we at the University of Sydney have been very privileged to have some of the brightest and the best. And they very often do economics, business, accounting and many  do science. One young lady whom I know did an advanced research study gaining a doctorate of philosophy in a condition called retinitis pigmentosa that affects all races and classes. It's a very, fortunately, rare condition but it can cause blindness which begins in the teenage years and it goes on till it becomes complete in adulthood. Now she has done the advanced research in that. So at the graduation ceremonies, a lot of the young people can’t wait in Sydney for another month or 6 weeks till the ceremony takes place nor can their parents  leave their jobs or what they’re doing and come down for their graduation ceremony. So each year for the last 12 years or more we’ve been taking the graduation ceremonies up to the major Chinese cities, to Guangzhou, to Shanghai, to Beijing and to Hong Kong in recent years. And what is wonderful is that we take everything with us. We take the ancient caps and the gown of the chancellor, in which role I have the honor to hold to serve the chancellor, the deans to go with their various roles and so forth. We take a group from the conservatorium of music to play the music and they learn the Chinese national anthem too. But what is so wonderful is that they go up a few days earlier and those young musicians link up with the young musicians from the Shanghai conservatorium or Guangzhou and they play together at that ceremony. Can you imagine the friendships that have been built? And not this last ceremony in Shanghai but the one before, the astrophysicist, they are the space scientist they are looking beyond what is defined as the universe now out into the outer reaches of space, they teamed up with the astrophysics in China and they put on a production after that graduation ceremony called music of the Cosmo. So they showed these magnificent and wonderful slides of what is whether there is water on the Mars or Uranus and the planets and in between each segment of the slides the young orchestra played the music from The Planet suite of Gustav Holst. Can you imagine how sophisticated? And some of the parents come from as far as Qinghai province. They have saved their money to come from that province down, from near Tibet to come and see their children graduate. And I always say to them in my speech of congratulation, “today you are surrounded by the pride, the love of your family who’s made sacrifices to ensure you are highly educated but at this graduation ceremony you also become members of the Australian family bound together by a commitment to do good in the world, a commitment to be continually learning and everlasting learning too and sharing the knowledge we have learnt for the benefit of mankind”. And you know the next year when I go back they bring their little babies to come and show me. They come back to their alumni celebration that we have when the graduation celebration is finished and so you see there are these bridges of enormous importance being built with this wonderful, ever increasing wave of young Chinese people. There is room for us to work together, when one thinks of the gas field in and around the south China sea – the minerals but all of those resources mean they are of only a temporary value unless they have our friendship, our trust, our respect and our awareness of each others culture is sustained and appreciated. So I want to thank you.

It can only get better and better especially with organizers such as yourselves- formalizing and speaking about the friendship. And it must not stop just with China, Australia and New Zealand, ‘cause New Zealand is also very enlightened too. We can show the world what a good marriage is like and how much understanding there is and how the dividends increase enormously in every regard. It gives me a thrill when my little 10 year old comes home, my grandson comes home from the school in Sydney and tells me that he is learning mandarin. So there are signs of this filtering down. I didn’t tell him to do it but that’s an enlightened school and parents who wanted to see this and this is to build bridges. It’s not to sell coal or mine, it’s to build bridges of understanding and friendship. It’s perhaps one of the, I think and let me confess today that I am an incurable optimist, but perhaps it’s the finest thing that’s happening in the 21st century. And as we were saying on our table earlier, we shouldn’t be surprised that this friendship because the Chinese admiral came down here in the 1400s in the 15th century to the west coast of our continent and of course before 1850 there were settlers coming from Guangdong province to search for gold and after the gold pleated out they went through all the country towns in eastern Australia and certainly in South Australia.

But where I lived we had a very fine Chinese community in Miranda and some of the Chinese settlers didn’t only go into agriculture and market gardening. Some became portrait painters of great distinction and even carved and made the frames. Now I can tell you that because I own one of those examples. I bought it at an antique store about 30 years ago. The antique dealers now want to buy it back. But it’s of a woman, an Australian woman, whose husband was on a trip to the Solomon Islands. This is in the 1800s and the ship floundered and the husband was drowned. He was a missionary in fact. There is a portrait of a sad lady in black clothes. But in this beautiful portrait depicting her sadness in a magnificently carved appropriate frame. So this goes back to the 1850s and 1860s and even when the Chinese community established themselves in the Haymarket it is recorded there were times when non Asian women who were having difficulties at home, these days its called domestic violence, ran away in fear and trembling, they were taken to those Chinese homes and cared for by the Chinese community in Haymarket. So the foundations of this friendship are very sound and they go back a long way and there are these very personal and intimate underpinnings to them. It’s not based on economy.

Alright, my husband often says to me, I’m being facetious now, “try getting on the bus without any money”. But you know, a good economy makes the world go round, but this is more powerful than that. And economies arts and culture, the enjoyment of life will flourish where sound respect and friendship become stronger and stronger. Thank you all.

Keynote Speech from Senator The Hon. Bob Carr
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia
at the Welcome Dinner on 22 November 2012

Ernest, thank you very much for your generous welcome, and to my colleague from the Parliament Daryl Maguire, and the distinguished visitors from China, especially welcome to these senior and the very distinguished Chinese visitors, especially welcome and you do us great honour.

There is a saying, an old Irish saying “Old friends are the best friends”.  When I walked in here tonight, I saw people I have known for a decade.  Katie Young welcomed me, and I remembered being at a gathering dinner in Chinatown in the mid 80s when I was a Minister of the Planning and Environment in NSW.  And we looked at building the links, this was only the case for the growth of the Chinese community on the serious scale, and we discussed building the links between my Party and the Chinese community and goes back a long way in the mid 80s.

And I saw Helen Sham-Ho, the Former Parliamentary colleague here.  She does not look any older. She and I were around in this Parliament back in the 80s.  What year did you get elected, Helen?  In 1988.   Remarkable.  So it is very nice to meet old friends again. 

But I want to pay a very special tribute to William Chiu, because William is responsible for this respectful organisation that is for the association for peaceful reunification of China, and has at its heart a very noble concept and that is  China can use its patience to achieve an outcome it’s entitled to, that is, Taiwan being recognised as a province of China which  the world recognises and which can be given reality in a peaceful fashion. 

And as that kind of statesmanship that William has his name to as a leader of Chinese Australian Community.  That kind of statesmanship that makes it distinct the potential of the Australia China relationship.  But there is an extraordinary thing we could say China as a arising power , as a country returning to greatness because of course the great path of China returns to greatness but China could achieve this fulfilment of this reunification in a peaceful fashion. 

 The statesmanship of China embodies great patience and the absorption of Hong Kong peacefully to the benefit of the people of Hong Kong and the benefit of the mainland China is a great demonstration what the Chinese leadership means by One Country Two Systems. And we are indebted  to Chinese vision, to that promise of peace as China asserts its nationhood that does  peace in that expression captured by William and his organisation of peaceful reunification of China.

Later on, I travelled extensively in China before I became Foreign Minister. I remember especially exploring the history of China in a great city of Nanjing. Two things stand out with me about the Nanjing. First, the tomb of Sun Yat Sen.  It is a monument of great importance to the people of China because when at the end of 19th century, China was occupied by foreigners.  Chinese people would be exploited by foreigners.  China was denied its sovereignty.  Sun Yat Sen had a vision to see a united and powerful and prosperous China.   It’s a remarkable vision.  If you look at the Sun Yat Sen’s museum in Hong Kong, you are reminded that when he went to the colonial city, Hong Kong, where he studied medicine in late 19th century, he was able to say that he wanted the day when all the cities in China would be as modern as Hong Kong was there.  That is his modern sanitation playing modern pipe water, hospital, police stations and plans streets and modern architectures.  That was his vision.

That fascinating thing to me about Chinese modern development is that the great Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had the same vision.  He wanted to see the modernisation of China, he wanted to see cities of the Chinese mainland as modern as those of the western world. He went to Singapore,  he wanted to see Chinese cities with the flower beds in the  trees in a modern architecture.  And this is the wonder what  happened to China and that is true of China  in the dozens or so Chinese cities, probably 20 Chinese cities that later on I visited and I have been struck by the maturity, the city like Nan Ning, for example, in southern China. It’s the city of first world standard and  it’s not the city of a developing country but of a rich developed country; quite striking and Chinese urbanisms, Chinese architecture, city planning and environmental sciences, and living in China to do something very very interesting.

And back to Nanjing. Nanjing has got the great monument to Dr Sun Yat Sen,  the tomb of Sun Yat Sen.  That epic is that the pioneer of Chinese reunification and modernisation but also got a reminder of suffering the Chinese people in the 20th century, and has got that monument to the Rape of Nanjing 1937 to 1938. Over that winter, thousands of Chinese in Nanjing paid with their lives was the effective start of the World War II and was the opening of atrocity of World War II, and deep in the DNA of Chinese is a recollection of that foreign conquest and I was in end of the Chinese resistance achieved in 1949 and a unified and sovereign China.

Once again, I was in the Huang Por near Pearl River, I wanted to see the military academy that trained the Kuomintang leaders who achieved the unification of China was advanced in 1920.  So it is interesting to go there, this is the West Point of China, Military College of China is where Sun Yat Sen wanted to train his officers who could beat the warlords and achieved the united China in the wake of the republican revolution of 1911 and the quest of the China that could make the decision in the national capital about its own future.

China was divided by the warlords principalities, and in that military academy, and you could see the photos on the walls of the great Chinese generals who were training there. They gave themselves the military science; they would label them to go north, the great march north, and unite China to defeat the warlords in big pitch battles throughout the 1920s.  It’s a very moving part of the Chinese story.

In Xian, I saw not only the monuments to the Tang Dynasty here, the art and the original museum and of course the monument of the first emperor that Terracotta Warriors, the greatest archaeological discovery in the world.  Terracotta Warriors reminded the world of the first emperor who achieved Chinese unification in 221 B.C. 

But I saw another side of greatest experience of modern Chinese history.  The side of Xian’s incident.

In 1937, when Chiang Kai Shek , Leader of Nationalist China was kidnapped by its own general and told in this pavilion that he had to return on the Japanese and has to stop fighting the Communist.   And unite with them and fight the Japanese and that was the returning point in the Chinese history.   It’s remarkable to be in that pavilion with this incident occurred, the kidnapping that the military command of the Nationalist China. So all these sights are significant because they point to  the phenomenon  of our time --- the unification and the modernisation of China and  the rise of China,  the return of China to great power state..

China, this is a miracle of our time.  It is a great glamour of our time and it’s happening faster than the industrial revolution of America after the American Civil War; and that’s happening faster, and is happening faster on a bigger scale and is involving more people.  400 million lived out of poverty, but the revolution that Deng Xiaoping unleashed in 1979 and more thoroughly after he completed the great southern tour in 1991. 

I think Deng Xiaoping is an extraordinary Chinese leader.  He saw after the Cultural Revolution the country had to modernise and had to modernise fast, rarely have you seen a vision of a political leader translated into action as you have with China under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. 

It’s a remarkable story and there are many forms of story told of Deng Xiaoping and because he came from Sichuan province and there is a nick- name for him, called the “Little Red Pepper”.  They said he loves Sichuanese food and he has a special chef and gave him the hot spicy flavours of the south in his food in Beijing. But to achieve a remarkable outcome, the rise of China, Chinese industrialisation, urbanisation, modernisation and he returns China to its  greatness, Australian became part of its story.

In 1972, when Gough Whitlam recognised China, the exchange of ambassados, and happened so easily. Gough Whitlam visited China and our ambassadors start interacting and the Australian and Chinese story became merged. 

Since then we’ve built up habits of cooperation, It is my vision of the future one, the Australian should provide China with food and security.  We are a country that allows foreign investment, and we are a country that honors contracts, we are  a country where rules of law prevails and if a Chinese investor buys the shares, sugar mill or farms, and that stands in law, and there is no source of nationalism that tries to call it back  or advises the terms of contract.  This is the country of courts. The courts are in Sydney central business district, contracts are enforced.

Same as the distinguished Chinese guests, we are a good economic partner. On the point of investment, there is a big Chinese investment taking place in this country and we welcome, we welcome where it’s taking place in sugar and we welcome where it’s taking place in cotton, Cubbie Station.  eg. We have the promise of extension of the Chinese investment in northern Australia in food.  And we got extensive Chinese investment in mining and is a good thing, and if you allow your customers to buy part of the farm, or part of mine, they keep on buying their products from you, good for China, good for Australia.  I don’t think there is any country of the world that has a more open investment regime, welcoming the Chinese investments.

And the second point I made is, we supply resources. We will meet Chinese urgent needs and the needs of the main industries for the mineral.  We can export the gas that lights the Chinese cities, powers and factories and we do it reliably. The price that we strike contracts is the price that prevails. China thought when they contracted the gas from Western Australia, they got good price, and the prices then they looked for was too high a price, but right now, the Chinese could see the deal of the strike in the earlier years of the century was a terrific deal, for the price of gas has gone up, but Australia does not pull that contract back.  Another part of world like Africa, and like the America, and that happens but we honour contracts, we are good customer, we are your reliable supplier.  Contracts are enforceable in our courts.

Chinese investment is very welcomed and this is a good place for Chinese investment, but we face the challenge that’s extending its economic relationship and the cooperation in a broader sense.  A geo-strategic cooperation, Australia and China don’t have to face the clash of interest, we got the same priorities, if you think about it. We want to see a region, a region of East Asia, and a region of Southeast Asia, and South Asia.  We want to see these regions at peace, developing economically, developing socially.  Good for China, good for Australia, good for the world.

I think there is room for us having more regular consultations with the highest political level especially with the Chinese now settling on the new leadership.  I congratulate the Chinese on the peaceful transition of leadership, but the country is moving through. The recent 18th Congress of the Communist Party of China and the approaching leading the national congress which will complete the process.  This is very significant and there is another measure of China’s maturity and the peaceful rise, the peaceful expression of China’s greatness, the rise of China is good for Australia, the rise of China is good for China and is good for the world. On this, we can build more understanding.

I thank you for all your commitment of this process, but just to remind ourselves that there is nothing normal about the process we’ve been witnessing, what we have seen with China reclaiming its greatness, there’s been not normal  but extraordinary in the history of nations with its phenomenon that’s unrivalled.

As those in the history book revisit for suffering the Chinese people, occupation, foreign occupation, Civil War, exploitation, is an extraordinary thing, just an extraordinary thing that’s happened in the space of a life time since Deng Xiaoping said in 1979 that he will fulfil effectively the vision of Sun Yat Sen, China will be united and China will be rich.

Thank you.

Keynote Speech from The Hon. Barry O’Farrell
NSW Premier
at the Luncheon on 23 November 2012

Thank you for that, Sonia.

Can I first acknowledge William Chiu and the other members of the Council who organised the last two days. 

Can I obviously acknowledge my Parliamentary colleagues and former Parliamentary colleague including Helen Sham-Ho. Government officials who were here including one of our most important Stepan Kerkyasharian who chairs the Community Relations Commission. 

Can I especially welcome those visitors who have come here from China for the past two days to commemorate, to celebrate, to think about, to talk about, this extraordinary 40 year relationships between China and Australia.

I also want to acknowledge Warwick Smith who is here today, not because he is the new Trustee of the Art Gallery NSW which has a wonderful Asian collections, but because he is Chairman of the Australia China Council which is another means by which the national government is seeking to further relations with the People’s Republic; and not just the government to government level, but people to people and cultural as well.

When I was thinking about what I might talk about today briefly and I recognise that Bob Carr’s spoke last night.  I think there is sufficient gap between us and I hope I won’t be judged too harshly against his usual performance.  

I want to start with one of the most interesting figures for me in Australia’s history.

A man called George Hubert Morrison who was born in a village south of the Murray in Geelong, back in 1860 who it was said at Geelong College, which I think became Geelong Grammar, gathered some habits that stayed with him all his life, a habit of writing a diary, a habit of collecting and a habit of going on long walks. When I say long walks, I mean long walks because when he was 20, he walked from Normanton on the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne, distances of 1200km and was it done in just over 3 months. 

George Morrison went on to university to study Medicine, just to show that he wasn’t perfect in his spare time he did journalism, one of the vices that occur in some places and he got so interested in his journalism that he actually at one stage failed a year of his medical course, which instead of redoubling his effort for the time he just used to go and investigate the trade in Northern Queensland of illegal kidnapping of South Pacific Islanders to come and work on cane farms.

He went back and got his degree but he continued to travel.  Travel through to New Guinea and eventually found his way to China.  And it is his Chinese exploits which didn’t finish until 1919 when he covered the Versailles Peace Treaty.  That interested me most.

What interested me, in particular was that, in February 1894, he embarked on another walk, a walk of 4,828km. It was a walk from China to Burma, from Shanghai to Rangoon. And it’s said that he walked across China in Chinese dress - in fact there are photographs of him - walking across China in Chinese dress, Chinese dress appropriate for the time.

And for many Chinese in villages and cities across China and he would have been the first European person that they set eyes on.  After that walk, his vice of journalism struck him again and he became the “The Times of London” First Permanent Correspondent in China and he stayed there until he went to cover the Versailles Peace Treaty talks in 1919 and he regrettably died a year later.  But there’s an example of the fact that all that is old is new again.

Two weeks ago, the Federal Government released its Asian Century White Paper.  The Asian Century White Paper that tells us about the need to more closely engage within our Region. And for the purposes of this talk, to redouble our efforts, particularly with China.  And it is a good paper, it’s a paper that I welcome and its an effort that I’ve been seeking to undertake myself since I became a Premier with visits to China, visits to India and other parts of our Region.

But as I said at another function last night, celebrating 60 years of International Education, celebrating the establishment of the Colombo Plan. 

It is not about the announcement, it is not about the report, it is not about the media coverage; it has to be about walking the walk, as well as talking the talk.  It has to be about constant engagement and it has about application.  It can’t simply be a stop-start relationship.  So I think the best part of the Asian Century White Paper and its reaction is the fact that it does enjoyed by the bipartisan support of both sides of the government.  Because clearly the Federal Government and the Federal Opposition are waking up to what State Labour and Liberal Parties have known for more than a decade; that we need to better engage within our region of the world, we need to better engage the biggest economies in our region and some of the biggest economies in the world, like China and India because of the benefits that that can provide and not just in our communities by way of jobs and revenue and economic growth and investment but also of course to those of countries like China and its provinces with whom we seek to engage.

So we need to ensure that what’s announced is implemented, what’s announced is practiced and what’s announced is lived, because otherwise in 10 years time, in15 years time we’ll have another Federal Government delivering its version of an Asian Century Paper and nothing would have been achieved. 

What I am delighted about is that 40 years ago, a Labour Prime Minister entered into formal diplomatic relationships with China. 

What I have said previously, what I said yesterday, was what was forging diplomatic relationships was a full blown trade relationship, thanks to, in no small part, the efforts of Malcom Fraser, himself a farmer, that he understood absolutely the opportunity that China offered for Australian farmers to sell their goods into that region and of course followed by Bob Hawke that I said yesterday, and John Howard.

I note William that the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China had these three Patrons, three important figures in that history of national bipartisanships towards this relationship - Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser, all patrons of William’s organisation, all committed in all demonstrably in their careers seeking to further the relationship between Australia and China and we have had success.  Not only as I said yesterday in terms of trade where in 1972, the two way trade was worth around a hundred million dollars and yet in 2011, it was worth more than a hundred and twenty billion dollars.  

But also in terms of tourism, barely no tourism occurring in 1972, I think even the governor’s trips that she no doubt beguiled you with last night, in a sense, wasn’t tourism so much as related to medicine but even then she would tell you only a handful of people coming from Australia and going to China.  But last year, 540,000 people Chinese residents visited Australia and more than 360,000 Australians went back to China to have a look around China.

So in the year of 1972, when there is barely no tourism in each direction to last year, with more than three quarters of million people went in each direction and of course, in education, which I celebrated last night with the University of NSW, barely no students studied in this country in 1972, and now almost 170,000 studying across the country with the great bulk in NSW.  That’s the benefit that closer trade, investment, cultural, tourism mix can provide. Benefits for people who come to study in this country and return to China and not only further their career having got a first class education but also further, the sort of relationships which we have been celebrating and talking about over the past two days.

And that is important, it’s important that we continue to do it, it is important because we live in a global economy, it is important because I see that one of the key drivers of the new leadership of China is to engage in further economic reform, further economic reform that will create further opportunities for NSW, for other Australian states and for our nation to give our citizens the opportunity to engage in trade and other relationships within China.  But also that we will continue as we are seeking to do as a state government to attract investments, for instance, from China into some of those infrastructure projects where we are committed to delivering across NSW.

I spoke at the start about someone I admire in history in terms of George Morrison, I just want to finish by speaking about someone who I admire today - his name is William Chiu. 

I think that back in 1880s and early 20th century, this country, not consciously, fostered the efforts of George Morrison and his travels in China.  And it no doubt benefited him and no doubt hopefully benefited some of those he came into contact with.  And it did the same way unconsciously the Chinese Government has fostered William’s effort in this country where he has travelled across this country.  I know that from some of the things that I am involved with, where through this Council, he has sought to forge close links between our two countries where he is supported, whether it is cultural exchanges, whether it is business exchanges to global relationship. where he has encouraged Australians of Chinese heritage, and of course, I am particularly proud this city has more Australians of Chinese heritage than any other city in the country, where we celebrate each Chinese New Year, the great contributions that Chinese have made to this State and we always acknowledge this the fact of our success is in no small way due to the contribution of Chinese Australians.

But William’s efforts have ensured that Chinese Australians living in this country have, as they are called upon, provided support, backing to China whether in the place of earthquakes or whether through their wonderful program “Eyes on China” which has provided real medical assistance into regions of China where our assistance might not otherwise have been obtained. 

So, as we again, at this lunch, acknowledge all the benefits of that 40 year relationships between Australia and China.  As we are at this lunch wish that relationship ongoing success in the years ahead.  We should think of the efforts of people like George Morrison and William Chiu, people who are acting as individuals but who as individuals inspire others; who as individuals inspire others to do much and continue to do much, that sometimes government can’t do.  I do know some of my Chinese history, I know that contrary to some views bureaucracy was not invented in the British Empire, China always had a strong bureaucracy.
I know that one of the characteristics of the Chinese bureaucracy which I noticed even in the modern day states is that sometimes the bureaucrats think they run the show. I am sure it doesn’t happen in China today.  The fact is, though, that sometimes government can’t make those personal connections that clearly were made in 1972, that clearly were made by George Morrison and continued to be made by William Chiu. They are the connections that can ultimately be banked upon. They are the connections that the governments can work with, to grow these sorts of relationships for the mutual benefits of our citizens.

Thank you.