Australia in the Asian Century White Paper

Australia in the Asian Century White Paper.Prime Minister Julia Gillard commissioned the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, which was released in October 2012. The Paper was the culmination of an extensive consultation process, led by Dr Ken Henry AC. Ken met all living Australian prime ministers and travelled extensively across Asia and Australia.

The policy themes and cultural positions of the White Paper have established a platform for engagement with Asia that has been embraced by all major political parties. Since the White Paper’s release, the term Asian Century has become commonly used in policy circles. There is also a much stronger focus by government and the private sector on capturing opportunities from the Asian Century.

For the White Paper, I coordinated policy development across Commonwealth departments, drafted parts of the report, and oversaw the writing of the submissions summary. It was disappointing to see the Abbott Government remove the White Paper from official sites. Nonetheless, the White Paper has had an indelible impact.

On a personal level, participating in research and consultation for the White Paper inspired me to launch UniCurve, a company which is active in Australia’s international education sector.

Australia in the Asian Century White Paper

For easy access to the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, here is a condensed PDF copy (in 2 parts), as well the Submissions Summary. The White Paper is quite long but is designed to be easily navigated. I recommend having a look at the Submissions Summary as well—for a snapshot of some excellent contributions from individuals, businesses and various organisations.

Part 1 — Summary and Chapters 1-5

Part 2Chapters 6-9 and Tables

Submissions Summary

White Paper Executive Summary

Here is an excerpt from the Exec Summary. For the full text, see the link to Part 1 above.

This White Paper provides a roadmap for the whole of Australia—governments, business, unions, and the broader community—in this next phase. Our goal is to secure Australia as a more prosperous and resilient nation that is fully part of our region and open to the world.

Australia starts from a position of strength. Just as our region has a lot to offer us, we have a lot to offer our region. We have strong, world-leading institutions, a multicultural and highly skilled workforce, and a productive, open and resilient economy, which is one of the strongest in the world. These assets have been reinforced by a series of economic reforms and good decisions made over past decades, including Australia’s world-beating actions to avoid the worst impacts of the Global Financial Crisis.

Our strengths have long been reflected in Australia’s interaction with countries in Asia. Over the past 50 years, Australia’s trade with Asia as a share of our total trade has risen dramatically. Our financial, political and cultural links have deepened. We have strong relationships and close friendships with countries across the region.

But Australia’s success will be based on choice, not chance. In order to succeed, we must sustain the policy settings and pathways that have served us well. We need to reinforce our strong social foundations, including our national institutions, our cultural diversity and our outward-looking society.

We will need to do more than this—we all need to respond to the rapid changes occurring in our region.