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. 

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Why Prime Ministerial Visits Matter

Peter Woolcott

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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.

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Fly fishing diplomacy

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Piero Bertocchi releases a rainbow trout on a backcountry river in the South Island

Piero Bertocchi, Assistant Defence Adviser, Australian High Commission in New Zealand

For a fly fisherman, receiving a three year posting to the Australian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand was like a dream come true. As a fishing friend of mine said – ‘that’s some job!’ Indeed it has been a true privilege to live, work and play in this wonderful country. But now in my final year here, it is with a tinge of regret, I contemplate my last trout season during the posting. With the opening of the trout season (1 October) rapidly approaching, I have been busy tying flies and preparing my gear for the fishing ahead but also reflecting on the journey already travelled.

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New Colombo Plan students broadening their horizons in the Cook Islands!

Kia Orana! For a three week period, eleven law students from the University of Newcastle undertook internships within the Cook Islands public service. Through the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) they were able to gain pre-graduate experience in drafting legislation and reviewing parliamentary material. They also broadened their expertise in court procedures and issue-spotting skills in relation to different departments and management strategies. None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of their different Cook Islands supervisors and encouragement from the dedicated staff in each agency. Below is a snapshot of each student’s experience in the Cook Islands.

HOM with NCP students - Cook Islands

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A very Pacific solution for a Pacific challenge: the success of RAMSI

This week’s guest blogger is Quinton Devlin, Special Coordinator of the  Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

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Photo by http://www.ramsi.org/

Shortly after the first rays of dawn hit the tarmac of the Honiara international airport on 24 July 2003, Australian and New Zealand police, soldiers and civilians – along with forces from eventually 13 other Pacific Islands nations – began landing in Solomon Islands to help a neighbour ravaged by five years of ethnically-charged conflict. These men and women formed the first elements of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, widely known as RAMSI.

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Cyber security: Australia, New Zealand and Napoleon

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Andrew Cumpston

“Geography is destiny” is a much debated diplomatic polemic, reportedly first uttered by Napoleon.* The saying may be an oversimplification, but it has always had an element of truth to it. There is no doubt that people’s opportunity and threat analysis has always been heavily influenced by who is nearby. States such as Singapore, Italy or Kazakhstan have traditionally had a fundamentally different set of strategic calculations than Australia and New Zealand because of geography.

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Antarctica

Antarctica

Peter Woolcott 

Antarctica matters to Australia and New Zealand. It matters scientifically, environmentally and strategically. It rarely makes headlines and the work there is methodical and considered. This is a good thing – the Antarctica Treaty system has been extraordinarily successful.

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Back to Basics: Reinvigorating the Trans-Tasman Economic Agenda

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Peter Woolcott, 3 May 2016

This is the first in a series of regular blogs that the Australian High Commission in Wellington will  present. These blogs will deal with issues as seen from a more personal perspective. It will not be just me who blogs on this site.  It will also reflect the thoughts of other senior members of the High Commission and the occasional guest blogger.  I will start with a few thoughts on the economic relationship between our two countries for it is this, and the people to people links, which is the bedrock.

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