“Fair competition on a level playing field governed by rules, that is the world we want,” and in “the tech advanced world of few to no borders” international cooperation is more important than ever to Australia’s prosperity and security, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne told day one of CEDA’s annual State of the Nation conference.
That is why Australian communities, businesses and institutions need to take Australian values to the world, Senator Payne said.
“As a nation, we have a history of helping to provide solutions. We've earned a good name on the international stage and that's a core message that I will take with me on Sunday to the United Nations in New York,” she said,
“The government believes that the UN remains central to maintaining the rules and institutions that underpin a free, open, inclusive and prosperous global order.
“This week leaders will traverse many issues – climate, health, sustainable development and oceans. We will discuss nuclear non-proliferation, counterterrorism, our work to achieve justice for the victims of the downing of flight MH17 and their families. More than ever, Australia is and will continue to be, active and vigorous within the international system.
“There's no doubt that these are challenging times, however we have strong experience of engagement in influencing our region and our strong contribution to the rules.
“While cooperation between government and industry and business has always been important, the tech advanced world of few to no borders in which we live, means that such cooperation is more important for our prosperity and our security than ever. So, I encourage you, the communities, the businesses, the institutions that you represent, to join me in taking Australian values to the world.”
Senator Payne said Australia on the international stage must continue to support a rules-based international order which is founded on values that enhance stability and prosperity for all people for Australia.
Senator Payne said those values included “freedom, openness, inclusiveness and respect by each nation for the sovereignty and independence of others”.
“Reform and economic development are not ends in themselves but must be geared towards actually making people's lives better.
“Global rules and norms have been rightly shaped over many decades to reflect what the international community, Australia included, has judged will deliver the best outcomes for everyone and it's the importance of these rules and norms that I'd like to talk to you about this evening in a context that you'll be familiar with. The power of competition on a level playing field governed by a code we all agree on.
“Speaking to a business audience, I'm optimistic I will be among friends when I say that healthy positive competition is something that we favour. Our international system of rules and norms has created stability and prosperity by allowing most disputes, clearly not all, but most, to be resolved peacefully enabling commerce to flourish.”
Senator Payne discussed the challenges that Australia faces, and how they are being approached in a considered calm way to ensure that they were well-managed and strategically focused.
“I believe fairness is a valued Australian principle. It's part of who we are. Trade deals rely on all parties keeping their promises and, when there are disputes, having agreed processes to resolve them justly. Unfair dealing is anathema to countries who work within this system of trade rules and who care about their international reputation. An international system of rules that underpins and encourages fairness across the board has therefore allowed us to prosper.
”…that will mean speaking our mind or taking actions that are disagreeable to others. It might seem occasionally easier not to speak or to act, but in my view it is in our long-term interest to remember our core values, our values are good for business because they underpin the rules and the norms that support predictability and consistency and thereby create or enable the long term conditions for prosperity.”
However she said: “The rules themselves, it's widely acknowledged, will need to be updated and modernised to keep pace with changes in technology and economic conditions, but the values that constitute their foundation are enduring and Australia will need to remain clear about our values and core interests and we continue to be active in prosecuting them.
“Fortunately, we have a strong track record regionally and more broadly of using our diplomacy actively and effectively, a fact that is, I think, under-appreciated.
“Australia has used our diplomatic skills to considerable effect in the past and I have every confidence that we can continue to do that into the future. Of course, the way we exercise our diplomacy evolves as the strategic environment, as technology, as economic circumstances evolve.” However, she said “we're ready to take a leading role in keeping the international rules and norms fit for purpose.
“There is understandable concern right now about the differences between the United States and China. A trade war between the world's two largest economies is in nobody's interests. We urge, and have continued to urge, both sides to resolve it and to do so in a way that reinforces our open rules-based trading system without undermining the interests of other nations.
“You can be assured that the Morrison Government is focused on the long-term prosperity of our nation. We will continue to help shape a world that remains free and fair in which individual and collective rights are protected and people and nations are not subjected to coercion and pressure.
“That's a world in which the private sector is free to pursue innovation and develop the big ideas that will power and shape the economies and the societies of the future. Fair competition on a level playing field governed by rules, that is the world we want.“