Opening Remarks – ASEAN Australia Summit

Labor Party

I would like to thank Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia for his generous hospitality and leadership of ASEAN.

I commend your efforts in delivering on the theme – ‘Addressing Challenges Together’.

I also thank Prime Minister Phankham of Laos for his partnership as Australia’s ASEAN Country Coordinator.

We come together as neighbours and steadfast partners and friends.

We are united not only by geography but by our determination to advance common interests and principles.

Australia is proud to be ASEAN’s oldest Dialogue Partner.

For close to five decades, our partnership has stood for mutual respect and cooperation among sovereign nations.

And has promoted, in the words of the ASEAN Declaration, “the cherished ideals of peace, freedom, social justice and economic well-being”.

The urgent task we face today is to uphold these cherished ideals as we confront a complex and changing world.

I come here to reaffirm Australia’s commitment to this effort.

And bring a renewed vision for what we can achieve together for our shared region.

We were honoured to become your Comprehensive Strategic Partner last year.

Through the flagship ‘Australia for ASEAN Futures’ Initiative we’re delivering against shared priorities like driving economic growth.

Realising the potential of digital economies.

Developing smart, sustainable cities.

Advancing science, technology and innovation projects.

And furthering the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

I look forward to adopting our Joint Statement on Cooperation on the AOIP.

A statement that affirms shared principles, and commits to concrete implementation under the AOIP.

We understand that the AOIP embodies your aspirations for our region, and today we stand with you and declare they are our aspirations too.

We are also committed to doing more with you to seize the opportunities of the net-zero transition, so necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

All of these initiatives are essential to our security and prosperity.

And they present a vivid example that nations can better advance their interests by working together.

My Government is committed to deepening Australia’s engagement with Southeast Asia which is why my first bilateral overseas visit as Prime Minister was to Indonesia, where I met with President Widodo as well as Secretary-General, Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi.

Why we’re appointing an eminent business leader, Nicholas Moore, Special Envoy to Southeast Asia to drive delivery of a comprehensive Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040

It is why we’ve committed $470 million of additional development assistance.

Australia welcomes ASEAN Leaders’ in-principle agreement to admit Timor-Leste to be the eleventh member of ASEAN.

As Timor-Leste’s largest development partner, Australia is committed to providing capacity building to support its full ASEAN membership.

Australia remains committed to a rules-based regional order with ASEAN at the centre.

And to the “spirit of equality and partnership” expressed in the ASEAN Declaration.

Working in close cooperation, we can forge a more secure and sustainable future.

Where international law and norms are upheld.

And disputes are resolved amicably through diplomacy and dialogue.

With confidence in our cause, let us affirm the great founding vision of this institution.

And carry it forward into a new era of peace and possibility.

Thank you.

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