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Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, on ‘Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific’
5 March @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to host Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Former Australian Prime Minister, for a special event chaired by Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, to discuss “Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific in an Age of Great Power Rivalry”.
The UK-Australia relationship is one of enduring defence, security, economic, historical and cultural ties, and it is clear that the Asia-Pacific region will become even more critical to Britain’s global interests after Brexit. Hon. Turnbull’s speech will explore the next phase of this relationship, and how the openness and security of the region can be defended.
By kind invitation of Tom Tugendhat MP, we are delighted to invite you to join Honourable Malcolm Turnbull for a unique event discussing the freedom of the Asia Pacific in an age of great power rivalry.
Mr Malcolm Turnbull was Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-2018) and had international careers in law, business and the media before entering politics at the age of 50. As Prime Minister, he reformed Australia’s personal income tax, education and childcare systems, oversaw the legalisation of same sex marriage and announced the construction of the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere. Globally, Mr Turnbull played a leading role in reviving the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) after the United States withdrew. He also struck deals with US Presidents Obama and Trump to accept refugees who tried to arrive in Australia illegally by boat. As a lawyer, Mr Turnbull successfully defended former MI5 agent Peter Wright against the British Government in the “Spycatcher” trial before entering business where he enjoyed a successful career with Goldman Sachs and launched multiple technology based businesses in Australia.
Tom Tugendhat MP is the member for Tonbridge and Malling. He left the British Army in July 2013 after a career in which he served on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, as the military assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff. As a Territorial Army officer he worked on everything from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to establishing the Armed Forces Muslim Association. He also worked for the Foreign Office and helped set up the National Security Council of Afghanistan and the government in Helmand Province. Tom studied for a Masters’ degree in Islamics at Cambridge University, which included learning Arabic in Yemen.
On the 5th March, The Henry Jackson Society and Tom Tugendhat MP welcomed Hon Malcolm Turnbull as he relayed his thoughts on Australia’s global position, Britain’s friendship and current Indo-Pacific relations.
He initially started his talk with current trade relations in Indonesia, explaining how Joko Widodo is a modern, charismatic leader who represents Indonesia and its values on a world stage now more than ever. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will cut 98% of tarrifs between the involved nations, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand. He believes that it is not necessary for the USA to join yet, but emphasised that the option was there for them in the future. Australia has celebrated its 28th year of uninterrupted growth and he believes that doesn’t come from cutting, but instead economic growth goes hand in hand with humanitarian help.
China was frequently mentioned, especially as he believes they were the largest economy until the last two centuries when they fell behind technologically and were exploited. Every citizen seeks to never see this happen again. China is Australia’s largest two way partner and Australia’s main aim is to ensure that all nations maintain their authority. In the South China Sea, he insisted that Australia has no claims there and calls for artificial islands and the demilitirisation of them as it is a source of continuing tension and he will always support freedom of navigation.
He predicts that in the near future, half of the world’s submarines and half of the airforce will operate in the Indo-Pacific. He was determined to create a continuous defence plan and this was key in his economic policy, emphasising that Australian politics is only controlled by Australians. As a result of his term in office, he believes that defence spending will reach 2% of GDP.
Terrorism was another key topic raised, and Hon Malcolm was thankful that there have been no mass casualties. He works closely with neighbours in a way they describe as ‘gamechanging’ so that terrorists don’t gain footholds. This topic went hand in hand with cybersecurity, an issue which Hon Malcolm feels is not recognised enough. The law which applies offline should also apply online and he has spent a lot of time making company CEO’s aware of the issues, even asking them if they know who their systems administrators are. He banned telecommunications companies that could not meet security, but worringly the upcoming 5G network is different and intelligence will be distributed throughout the network. It is important that the nations treat cyber with the upmost importance.
To summarise, he stated that Australia will play a vital role and maintain free trade and open rule of law so strong powers can not do as they will. The UK can be reassured through solidarity and friendship that they have trusted Australian family friends.