Celebrating 40 years of Australia-ASEAN relations

Parliament house flag post

Celebrating 40 years of Australia-ASEAN relations

Posted 21/07/2014 by Frank Frost

40th anniversary Australia-ASEAN
DFAT

This year, Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are marking 40 years of multilateral relations. The anniversary will culminate in a leaders’ summit in November in Nai Pyi Taw, Myanmar (the current Chair of ASEAN).

Since its inauguration in 1967, ASEAN has gradually extended its activities and is pursuing the development of an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015 in the areas of economic, political and security and socio-cultural cooperation.  In April 1974 Australia became the first non-member country to establish a multilateral association with ASEAN. Australia has since cooperated with ASEAN in a number of areas including the Cambodia peace process (late 1980s–1993) and the development of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF, 1994, with 27 participants) and the East Asia Summit (EAS, 2005, which includes the ASEAN ten, Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States). Australia along with New Zealand concluded a multilateral Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN, inaugurated in 2008. Australia is also participating in negotiations on a further trade and economic agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP, with ASEAN, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea).

Australia’s interactions with ASEAN are wide-ranging. In 2007, the two sides signed the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership: the Plan of Action to implement the Partnership provides a framework for the pursuit of relations. Australia’s Foreign Minister meets with ASEAN counterparts for annual consultations. Australia appointed a resident Ambassador to ASEAN (based in Jakarta) in September 2013. Australia also participates in several ASEAN-sponsored dialogues including the ARF, the EAS, a meeting of defence ministers (the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus process) and a dialogue on maritime issues (the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum). Australia’s merchandise trade with the ten ASEAN members amounted to A$70.2 billion in 2013 (13.9 per cent of Australia’s overall trade). The multilateral Free Trade Agreement provides a significant framework for developing trade relations, although a report by Asialink in 2012 argued that more could be done to spread awareness of the agreement among business sectors. Australia’s bilateral development assistance to ASEAN members exceeds A$900 million in 2014–15. The ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program supports ASEAN on a multilateral basis with a particular focus on assistance to ASEAN’s Secretariat in Jakarta and to ASEAN’s programs for economic integration. Alongside official cooperation, people-to-people and educational links are very extensive: for example, between 2002 and 2012, there were 614,327 enrolments by students from ASEAN countries in Australian tertiary institutions.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop emphasised the Government’s commitment to ASEAN in an article in April 2014. Ms Bishop commended ASEAN’s contribution to economic growth, to regional security dialogue and architecture and to promoting cooperation on disaster relief. Australia’s current cooperation priorities include developing the New Colombo Plan (which is being trialled in Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong), strengthening cooperation through the East Asia Summit and supporting the work of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre). 

Australia appreciates ASEAN’s ongoing contributions to regional security. Australia has accordingly supported ASEAN’s objectives in seeking to conclude with China a ‘code of conduct’ for the South China Sea. A code could potentially facilitate more cooperative relations among parties with competing territorial claims, reduce the dangers of maritime incidents or clashes and improve coordination of resource management and environmental protection. However, while discussions between ASEAN and China have continued, recent disputes (including between China and both the Philippines and Vietnam) have added to regional tensions and reduced prospects for progress towards a possible code of conduct. 

In 2014, the Australia-ASEAN anniversary is being promoted through a program of events. These include a Business Forum, visits to Australia by the ASEAN Secretary-General and other senior ASEAN officials, and an ASEAN-Australia Connectivity workshop, along with regular ministerial meetings with ASEAN by the Foreign Minister and the Minister for Trade. 

Anniversary celebrations will culminate in a special leaders’ Commemorative Summit in Myanmar in November 2014. This will be the fourth ASEAN-Australia Summit at heads of government level, after similar meetings in 1977, 2004 (along with New Zealand) and 2010. At the November Summit,   ASEAN and Australia are expected to adopt a new Plan of Action for the period 2015–2019 to deepen political and security, economic and people-to-people cooperation. Discussion is also likely on whether Australia and ASEAN could meet more frequently at heads of government level than has occurred in the past. Such meetings could be held every two to three years and would help add focus and profile to the relationship on both sides.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes spam, profanity and personal abuse, as well as comments that are factually incorrect or politically partisan. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

Refugees asylum climate change immigration Australian foreign policy parliament social security welfare policy elections welfare reform school education health financing higher education Australian Defence Force emissions trading indigenous Australians women private health insurance people trafficking illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 United Nations Employment Asia disability income management Middle East Medicare Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics sport health forced labour federal budget Afghanistan Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics dental health United States aid child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency steroids World Anti-Doping Agency National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Criminal Law Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling transport debt taxation international relations constitution New Zealand food WADA Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme pensions public service reform children's health Aviation foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP ASADA Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave same sex relationships corruption coal seam gas customs planning federal election 2013 Australian Electoral Commission doping OECD crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy welfare ASIO intelligence community terrorist groups Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union Federal Court family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs UK Parliament welfare systems Indonesia social media children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy science social inclusion human rights paternalism Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse terrorism World Trade Organization Australia public health China housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions domestic violence export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing election results by-election expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership voting Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats research and development new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare ADRV Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics violence against women language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional mental health alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran transparency ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution early childhood education Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly national security smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid disability employment Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct integrity retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP Tasmania world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea fuel rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition standards conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office NATO work-life balance

Show all
Show less