On 19-20 March 2015, DFAT Victoria State Office hosted Nay Chi Win, Head of Burma’s National League for Democracy’s Research Unit, who visited Australia as a guest of the Australian Government.
Nay Chi Win enjoyed sampling Burma-Australia ‘fusion’ cuisine at a roundtable dinner at Burma Lane restaurant while learning about Australia’s system of parliamentary democracy, governance structures and the role of political parties. Hosted by Deputy State Director Estelle Parker, Bruce Atkinson, President of Victoria’s Legislative Council and Telmo Languiller, Speaker of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly, briefed Nay Chi Win on their respective roles, highlighting the importance of their impartiality in fulfilling their duties during parliamentary debates and Question Time. Mr Languiller shared his experiences as a refugee from Uruguay in the 1970s and the group discussed how important human rights and multiculturalism are to Australia and Australians. Greens MP Nina Springle briefed Nay Chi Win on the role of minor parties as well as some of the challenges facing women in politics, highlighting the talents of the women who currently make up only 25 percent of Victoria’s parliament.
There was a broad-ranging discussion of the challenges facing Burma in its reform process, the possibilities for constitutional reform and the future of Burma’s fast-growing economy. Nay Chi Win impressed upon participants the importance of clear land tenure to economic growth and said that eco-tourism, if done properly, could be a major contributor to Burma’s economic future, as well as ensuring ordinary people benefited from Burma’s economic growth and reform process. Economic reform is a major focus of Australia’s development assistance to Burma, worth $90 million in 2014-15.
Nay Chi Win had the opportunity to meet Australia Award scholars from Burma, who are studying in Melbourne on Australian Aid Program scholarships, at an afternoon tea in DFAT’s State Office hosted by State Director John Richardson. Mr Richardson and Nay Chi Win talked about the importance of robust accountability institutions and the challenges of developing capacity in that area. The Australia Awards scholars, who were notably focussed on education policy and public health, shared their experiences of studying in Australian universities, including ways to tackle evidence-based policy development, how to promote multiculturalism and how to better ensure social and economic inclusion for people with disabilities. The students valued the opportunity to discuss political and social developments in Burma with Nay Chi Win, re-connecting with developments in their home country.
Some may wonder why the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has State Offices. The old distinctions between domestic and foreign and trade policies were never particularly clear, but as a result of the increasingly globalised world we live in, are ever more blurred. It is therefore essential that DFAT maintains strong linkages with the broader community, participating in international relations and trade, at the state and local government level, with business, with academia and with NGOs.
The Victoria State Office helps DFAT in this important task, providing a range of services in support of our Portfolio Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary, assisting the Victorian Government in its overseas endeavours, maintaining contact with the business community and assisting the general public, where needed, with consular services.
Economic diplomacy is a key priority for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Charter on Economic Diplomacy and Australian Business outlines the services the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio provides to business. The department also maintains a business engagement page with useful information, resources and updates for business.
“Economic diplomacy is a collaborative process, beyond government. Australia’s business community, our think tanks, our NGOs and our community are an integral part of our economic diplomacy efforts. We look forward to working together to pursue shared opportunities to drive economic prosperity, in Australia and in our region.”
The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Victoria State Office plays a key role in delivering economic diplomacy in Victoria in close consultation with business and the State Government of Victoria. The Victoria State Office can assist arranging speakers and putting your business in touch with relevant contacts in our international network.
Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource designed to help you start, run and grow your business managed by the State Government of Victoria.
The Victoria State Office provides protocol services to the Consular Corps. These services include processing of arrival and departure notifications, diplomatic visa renewals and issue of identity cards, airport facilitation for foreign dignitaries and representation at Corps’ functions.
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