Behind the scenes on a State Visit

 

by Alanna Mackay, First Secretary at the Australian High Commission in Wellington 
Originally posted at blog.dfat.gov.au.

State Visits are usually very formal affairs, with lots of gilt and glitter.  Every country has their own traditions, but a State Visit will more often than not involve a formal welcome, a black tie lunch or dinner, a wreath laying at an important memorial, and a series of cultural events. The host country wants to put on a show; the guests are on their best behaviour.  Behind the scenes, officials will have worked out every single detail to make sure the visit goes off without a hitch.

Continue reading

Australia’s nuclear and arms policy

By Peter Woolcott AO

I have recently responded to correspondence asking why Australia has decided not to participate in recent negotiations towards a nuclear ban treaty.  Given that this is an important policy position – and one where Australia’s position differs to that taken by New Zealand – I thought it would be useful to share my response more widely. I have also addressed comments regarding Australia’s support for progressing the Arms Trade Treaty. 

Continue reading

Gymnastics Australia in the Cook Islands

by Brooke Kneebush, Oceania Development Manager Gymnastics Australia

The Cook Islands is one of three countries to recently establish a new Gymnastics Federation with support from the International governance body. To support this, Gymnastics Australia has assisted the new Cook Islands Gymnastics Federation to apply for Australian Government grants, including a Direct Aid Program (DAP) Grant through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, for equipment to conduct activities in local schools, villages and clubs.

Continue reading

Why Prime Ministerial Visits Matter

Peter Woolcott

16826094_1127213310738807_7561866244715548289_o.jpg

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Queenstown for the annual Leaders Meeting.

As the Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand the event you look forward to most each year is the annual Leaders Meeting.

While invariably short, these visits can accomplish a huge amount for a bilateral relationship.  They set the direction for work that will continue long after the PM’s plane leaves, and they build the foundations of mutual respect and trust between leaders which is so important in maintaining strong relationships between countries. It is also a chance to cut through bureaucratic thickets and get decisions made.

Continue reading

Capital cities pioneering wildlife conservation together

Alison Russell-French

ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary and the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust join forces.

There are two sanctuaries that lie across the Tasman, nestled in the capital of Australia. In one, birds dive, swoop and flutter in water against the backdrop of the city; in the other miniature kangaroos and spotted carnivorous marsupials rummage through tufts of grass and gumtrees inside the protective guard of a predator-proof fence. Jerrabomberra Wetlands and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary.

Mulligan%27s097_png.png

‘ZEALANDIA by Night’ inspired the formation of Twilight Tours at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. Here a group meet before embarking through the sanctuary at night in search of unique native wildlife. Photograph by Stephen Corey Continue reading

Beyond Belief – how we find meaning, with or without religion

download

Hugh Mackay
Hugh Mackay recently spoke at Victoria University of Wellington as part of a tour to promote his new book Beyond Belief.

*

Globally, religion is on the rise. Almost three-quarters of the world’s population identify with Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism, and the graph is pointing upwards: by the middle of this century, 80 percent of the world’s population will identify with one of the four major religions.

Continue reading

Australia lends a hand in Kaikoura

flying-ops

After the earthquakes in Kaikoura last week, the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin, Commanding Officer CMDR Phillip Henry and her crew were sent to support the response to the emergency.

As Lieutenant Brett Schulz said, in the Navy you have to “remain rubbery” – flexible and ready for change.

“One minute you might be ironing your whites in preparation for a Fleet Review, the next minute you’re in a sea boat heading ashore to render assistance to an earthquake affected town.”

LSET Vinnie Carrol and LSA Dan Colbert have shared their experiences helping the people of Kaikoura.

Continue reading

Trans-Tasman business leaders to seek significant improvements to Australia/New Zealand relationship

Adrian Littlewood CEO 2013

By Adrian Littlewood, New Zealand Co-Chair of the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum

In two days, more than 200 senior Australian and New Zealand business leaders and nine Government Ministers will meet in Sydney to identify ways to further improve the trans-Tasman relationship. The meeting will coincide with the Australian and New Zealand Government’s annual CER/Single Economic Market meeting.

Continue reading

Public policy lessons from across the ditch

Alison LinkedinThis week’s blog is by Alison Duncan. Alison heads up the economic and trade team at the Australian High Commission in New Zealand. She has previously served in Indonesia and Solomon Islands. 

She undertook ANZSOG’s Executive Master in Public Administration  from 2013-14.  In 2015, she was awarded a Young Public Sector Leader Award by the Institute of Public Administration of Australia in recognition of her academic and professional achievements. Continue reading