Australia’s new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has unveiled his first cabinet, seeking to unify the Liberal Party and reassure the nation after a week of tumultuous infighting that saw Malcolm Turnbull turfed out of the top job.
Morrison named Marise Payne to replace Julie Bishop as foreign minister and promoted Christopher Pyne to oversee defence. Mathias Cormann will stay in his role as minister for finance and failed leadership challenger Peter Dutton retained a reduced home affairs portfolio.
The reshuffled cabinet bookends a chaotic week in which Turnbull was ousted by his own party — the sixth time since 2007 that Australia has changed prime ministers. Morrison, the former treasurer, was a surprise victor in the Liberal Party ballot after the populist right-wing of the party, which had agitated for Turnbull’s removal, was unable to persuade enough moderates to back Dutton.
“Government stability is being restored, we are getting on with the job,” Morrison said. This cabinet will “tackle the big challenges that are before us with some new ideas and a fresh emphasis while restoring some of the emphasis of the times past.”
The swath of new cabinet appointments come as the governing party battles to restore unity ahead of an upcoming federal election, due by May, with the opposition Labour Party leading in opinion polls.
Support for the Liberal-National coalition crashed in the wake of the infighting, and it now trails Labour by a 12 point margin, 56% to 44%, according to the latest Newspoll published in the Australian newspaper on Monday. That compares with a 2 point gap earlier this month. Labour leader Bill Shorten is now regarded as the preferred prime minister, for the first time since February 2015.
“We saw a handful of individuals who decided to wreak havoc” last week, Simon Birmingham, who takes on the tourism portfolio, told ABC TV earlier on Sunday. “That was very destructive. Every single man and woman in the Liberal Party room needs to put that type of behaviour behind us and make sure we do unify for the future. The Australian people expect us to care about them and their interests.”
Former prime minister Tony Abbott, who was beaten by Turnbull in a leadership ballot in 2015, did not win a place back in the cabinet.
Australia’s key new government members:
Prime Minister: Scott Morrison
Treasurer: Josh Frydenberg
Minister for Foreign Affairs: Marise Payne
Minister for Finance: Mathias Cormann
Minster for Defense: Christopher Pyne
Minister for Defense Industry: Steven Ciobo
Minister for Home Affairs: Peter Dutton
Minister for Jobs, Industrial Relations: Kelly O’Dwyer
Minister for Education: Dan Tehan
IN this region, Australia enjoys a long tradition in supporting the exchange of people, culture and ideas through education. Recently, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honourable Julie Bishop, was in Kuala Lumpur to meet with senior government, business and education leaders.
The minister's itinerary included a stop at Monash University Malaysia, where she delivered a public address to mark the university's 20th anniversary in Malaysia. In her speech, she highlighted the fact that Monash University Malaysia is Malaysia's first foreign university campus and it is also Monash University's first campus abroad.
"This showcases the high quality and high standards that Monash University achieves. It has been a remarkable success in embedding a world-class Australian university within the Malaysian community," she said.
One of the most powerful aspects of the relationship between Australia and Malaysia is the educational exchanges. Australian universities have in total 11 campuses overseas with three located in Malaysia – Monash University Malaysia, Swinburne University of Technology and Curtin University.
"Investing in education means Malaysia has a highly skilled workforce with the ability to fuel the next generation of growth, innovation and economy. Australia welcomes and encourages the new government's focus on education. We see many potential areas for cooperation, such as the Australian government's signature policy, the New Colombo Plan," stated Bishop.
The initial Colombo Plan which was set up in the 1950s brought nearly 4,000 Malaysian students to Australia to gain Australian university qualifications. Today, 400,000 Malaysians are reported to have studied in Australia; 32,000 enrolments alone, last year.
Under the New Colombo Plan, an estimated 2,500 Australian students would have participated in the plan's Mobility and Scholarship programmes in Malaysia by the end of 2019. That includes 840 students from Australia studying in Malaysia this year, which makes Malaysia the fifth most popular New Colombo Plan host location out of 39 participating nations across the Indo-Pacific region.
"Since its inception in 2014 up until 2019, around 40,000 Australian undergraduates will have lived, studied and undertaken work experience, internships and practicum in countries in that region. The friendships and connections these and other New Colombo Plan participants gain through this programme will pay dividends for both countries across the decades.
"It is hard to conceive a better investment for the future than preparing our next generation of leaders with a great understanding of their region (where they will gain) experiences that give new skills, insights, understanding, connections, as well as networks that will last a lifetime," she highlighted.
Australia awards ASEAN Scholarships
On that note, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski revealed the names of the five Malaysian recipients awarded the Asean Scholarships - Yeoh Jie Shuang, Aizat Shamsuddin, Rashidah Kamaluddin, Kah Mun Hon and Karl Nadzarin.
Briefly, the prestigious scholarship transpired from the first and historic Asean-Australia Special Summit, which was held in Sydney in March this year, where leaders of Asean nations were hosted by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The scholarship offered 50 outstanding young students, five from each Asean country, the opportunity to attain their Masters at universities in Australia in fields that contribute to the Asean agenda which addresses peace, prosperity and social development.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is visiting Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia from July 29 to August 7 to reaffirm her country’s commitment to remaining a leading partner to its regional neighbours in Southeast Asia, according to her media release on July 29.
In Dili, she is scheduled to meet the leaders of the new Timor-Leste Government. The two sides plan to discuss deepening cooperation in security, development and economy, opening a new chapter in the Australia-Timor-Leste relationship, and following the signing of a treaty establishing permanent maritime boundaries.
In Malaysia, Bishop looks forward to engaging senior members of the new government and building on the Strategic Partnership announced in 2015, reflecting the two nations' close collaboration and shared strategic perspectives on regional and global affairs. This will be Australia's first ministerial visit to Malaysia since the latter's general election on May 9.
In Singapore, she plans to attend the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and Australia-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. The meetings are an important opportunity to demonstrate Australia’s strong support for ASEAN and its role in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The discussions will build on the historic ASEAN-Australia Special Summit hosted in Sydney in March 2018.
Visiting Indonesia, the last destination, the Australian official will co-chair with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi the Bali Process Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. This meeting provides an opportunity to boost practical cooperation between regional partners, civil society and the private sector to end the scourge of human trafficking, modern slavery and forced labour.
She will also officially open the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya. It is Australia’s fourth diplomatic mission in Indonesia and part of the country's priority for deeper engagement with its neighbours, as outlined in the Turnbull Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper released last year. The Consulate in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, will strengthen Australia's trade and investment links with Indonesia
Crisis Management Centre recently shared industry experiences to communications students at Manipal International University (MIU). The university, which has taken data analytics seriously with its inclusion in a dedicated data driven MBA, was a natural choice for the Crisis Management Centre who prides itself on the application of social media data in managing perception during a crisis.
Data Driven Crisis Management is widely seen as the cutting edge of the industry which has seen an increase in demand following major shifts in the political and business landscapes both in Malaysia and around the region.
"Data is a double edged sword, even the likes of Mark Zuckerberg have found this out in recent times, and following the 'shock defeat' of Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential election the metaphorical witch hunt was underway, who were the data scientists and how did they get their information? The list of questions goes on but one thing is for sure is that data gained by listening to what people think or want can no longer be ignored, during a crisis that data is just coming at a faster rate than a normal work day." Stated Nordin Abdullah who recently established the Crisis Management Centre.
"In the past a crisis could be managed in isolation, you get your internal team together, good people that know what they are doing their fields and you roll out your crisis management plan for those who have one and for those who don't you scramble to put together a few next steps and action points. As a decision maker you will naturally want all the information possible," continued Nordin who is also an EXCO member of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.
Now with the element of social pressure, "Enter the armchair expert who has a few thousand followers on twitter or Instagram and they commented on your crisis or even worse they are the person who broke the story by broadcasting it on Facebook Live. At the same time the algorithms that Google or Facebook use start to see this topic as something interesting so by the end of the day everyone including the authorities know what's going on, human curiosity and desire to know what's going on will mean your organisation needs to respond," continued Nordin who is also an EXCO member of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.
"We are pleased to have high-level industry experts share their time with our students. The Manipal Education Group has been responsible for producing some of the brightest minds in Asia for the past 60 years. The Group has a network of six campuses and affiliations with 30 universities worldwide. Building on the success of the Melaka Manipal Medical College in Malaysia, Manipal International University (MIU), is a full-fledged Malaysian university offering multidisciplinary programs with a focus in the fields of Science, Engineering, Business and Mass Communication," stated Mr. Bharath Vasudevan, Principal Officer -- Operations, Manipal Education Malaysia.
The two hour interactive session was attended by over 60 students and faculty members at Manipal International University. Harvestmedia director Yen Loong Chua also spoke during the session on the importance of data insights during a crisis which included closing remarks from Prof. Dr. Seena Biju the Associate Dean School of Management Studies.
The Crisis Management Centre was established to empower governments, organisations and individuals better manage crisis. The Founder and managing director Nordin Abdullah established the Crisis Management Centre as a natural step after being involved in numerous crisis and natural disasters in Malaysia and the broader ASEAN and Asian region. A core team that leverages off a network of experts across the Asia Pacificthat can be called into action to handle your crisis.
Free-trade agreements linking Australia to south-east Asia, Latin America and the European Union will help break our reliance on international students from China, but they could also pave the way for increased competition from foreign universities on local soil.
The new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP-11, signed in March will boost trade between Australia and 10 other signatories – Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
It is seen as the new gold standard of free-trade deals, which no longer focus primarily on goods but increasingly on services as well.
Negotiations are now under way for a similar agreement with the European Union, which EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says would open up significant opportunities in public procurement and the service sector in particular.
As one of the country's biggest sources of export income, these agreements have enormous implications for the tertiary sector.
Some of the benefits are easy to see – two in particular are greater access to overseas students and smoother facilitation of international research projects.
On their own, the agreements won't necessarily lead to a shift in the number of international students studying in Australia, but they could dramatically change where they come from – alleviating concerns about over-representation of Chinese students in local classrooms.
Simplified visa requirements, government promotions of education in Australia and mutual recognition of qualifications in professions like law, accounting and engineering could see an influx of new students from areas like Latin America or parts of Asia that have traditionally been considered out of reach.
Similarly, a shared understanding on issues like salary provisions and working conditions, joint protection of intellectual property and investment rules would make it much easier than it currently is for researchers and university staff to collaborate across borders, and for universities to invest strategically abroad.
However, Australian universities will need to be proactive to actually take advantage of what these agreements offer – and if they don't, risk losing out to their overseas counterparts.
Just because FTAs exist doesn't mean businesses automatically reap their benefits.
Higher-education providers will need strategic managerial and organisational knowledge to know how to navigate their complex rules effectively.
A report on how Australian businesses have used existing FTAs to date, published by PwC in February, found that their impact was particularly high in merchandise trade, but only 35 per cent of services firms considered them as part of their export strategy. This compares to 90 per cent of EU organisations.
This would indicate that the services sector in Australia is significantly less developed in its approach to using FTAs effectively than it is in the EU, which would possibly put our sector on an uneven playing field if – or more likely, when – it becomes Australia's next FTA partner, depending on the success of governmental negotiations.
Thankfully, the attitude of Australian universities to FTAs has started to shift over the past few years.
When talk of a possible agreement with the EU first arrived, it seemed as if the higher education sector wasn't sufficiently concerned because it didn't see how such a deal could be relevant.
Since then, there has been a noticeable increase in awareness among vice-chancellors and in lobbying for the higher education sector to be represented in negotiations – though it is still far from comprehensive.
Just as Australian businesses will be looking to see how a potential FTA with the EU could benefit them, so will their European counterparts be on the hunt to make the most of new opportunities in Australia. This will include education providers already keen to launch new campuses on Australian soil.
The danger for Australia's higher education industry lies in underestimating just how much change could be around the corner, brought on both by Australia's existing FTAs as well as the plurilateral TPP-11 deal and future FTA deals such as that with the EU. If Australian universities don't tap into the opportunities effectively, they run a serious risk of losing their position and watching as international providers step in to fill the gap.
Source: Financial Review
The Australian Government has awarded the University of Newcastle $1,267,750 million in funding under the 2019 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.
Funding will support 334 University of Newcastle students to undertake 23 mobility projects in 15 countries across the Indo-Pacific region, with the University leading five cross-institutional projects addressing global environment, health and business topics.
Established in 2014, the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program aims to deepen two-way engagement between Australia and the Indo-Pacific by providing undergraduate students with a variety of exchange opportunities in 40 host locations.
Successful students from the University of Newcastle will study and undertake internships in Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vietnam.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Advancement, Winnie Eley, said she was delighted to see so many exceptional students take up the opportunity to advance their knowledge in fields of global relevance.
“Through international mobility, this program enables our students to enter the work force with greater cultural awareness and a deep understanding of our neighbouring regions and beyond.
“This experience not only fosters the next generation of global citizens, but also provides students with professional and personal connections that will stay with them for the rest of their lives,” Mrs Eley said.
New Colombo Plan 2019 Student Mobility Grant Projects led by:
Associate Professor Graham Brewer, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment – Understanding sustainable development and resilience in South Korea
Professor Sally Chan, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Promoting cultural competency – East meets West in community care in China
Dr Sara Geale, Faculty of Health and Medicine – A team approach to improving the health of children and young people who are in need in Cambodia
The Wollotuka Institute, Aboriginal professional practice and Indigenous culture in the Solomon Islands
Dr Sally Hewat, Faculty of Education and Arts – Speech pathology in Mainland China
Dr Daphne James, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Medical radiation science multi-professional student placement in Vietnam
Dr Philip Matthias, Faculty of Education and Arts – Indigenous Tongan oral tradition
Mr Shaun McCarthy and Dr Bin Li, Faculty of Business and Law - Clinical legal education in China
iLead+, UON Global, iLEAD Plus global leadership experience in India
Ms Jacqueline Svenson, Dr Liam Phelan and Mr Daniel Matas, Faculty of Business and Law – Climate connections across the Pacific in Tuvalu and Fiji
Associate Professor Pamela van der Riet, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Thai cultural study healthcare program in Thailand
Professor SueAnne Ware, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment - Tactical urbanism GZ in China
Dr Deborah Wise, Faculty of Education and Arts – Advancing Australian public relations student’s understanding of professional practice in Indonesia
UON Global – Semester exchange in Singapore
UON Global – Semester exchange, internship and language training in China
UON Global – Semester exchange and language training in Japan
UON Global – Semester exchange in Republic of Korea
UON Global – Semester exchange in Malaysia
UON-led cross-institutional projects:
Dr Elena Aydos, Faculty of Business and Law – Environmental regulation in Australia and Japan
Dr Lyn Ebert, Faculty of Health and Medicine – Growing health partnerships globally in China
Dr Silvia Frisia, Faculty of Science – Global changes impacts in the South Pacific: Field study in the Cook Islands
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts, Faculty of Science – Cultural awareness through tropical ecology and forest rehabilitation in Indonesia
Dr Marcus Rodrigs, Faculty of Business and Law – Intensive business and finance project in Malaysia
In 2019, the New Colombo Plan will support 11,817 students from 40 Australian universities to take part in 792 mobility projects across 36 host locations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The awarded funding to the University of Newcastle for 2019 represents 4.42 per cent of the $28.7 million offered overall, which is an increase from 4.36 per cent awarded in 2018.
The Malaysian government’s stand on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will be finalised by the Cabinet soon.
Minister of International Trade and Industry ( MITI) Ignatius Darell Leiking said Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad had been looking into the matter.
“He has given his thoughts when he was in Japan. Give us some time to grasp the agreement, the Prime Minister would certainly make a decision on the matter soon,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir’s call for a review of the CPTPP as the current agreement could prove to be a disadvantage for smaller economies.
Darell told reporters this after receiving courtesy calls by delegates from Singapore, South Korea, Australia and the United Kingdom here today.
Darrel said Malaysia has not opted out from the pact but the new government would need some time to ensure that it would benefit the nation.
MITI Secretary-General, Datuk Isham Ishak said after signing the pact in March this year, there would be a ratification process which required Malaysia to undertake some changes in laws and regulations pertaining to the enforcement of the agreement in February next year.
“Malaysia might miss the enforcement date, as we still have to make some amendments on laws and regulations during the upcoming parliamentary session, but we can still join the pact once the ratification is done,” he said.
He added countries which opted out of the pact after signing the agreement would not be slapped with any penalty under its exit clause but need to give proper notification.
Meanwhile, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Andrew Goledzinowski, said Malaysia and Australia were looking forward to strengthening cooperation between the two countries within the established bilateral framework.
Both countries also discussed regional relationships, including the CPTPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
“We are optimistic of a positive outcome on the ratification,” he said.
Goledzinowski said Australia was confident of the new government and was optimistic on the Malaysian government’s move to review mega projects.
Citing the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) – which has a high rate of involvement by Australian companies – as an example, he believed that there was no fear of government scrutiny despite having to go through an audit.
On investments, he said Malaysia had a lot to offer, including ease of doing business, a highly skilled workforce and low cost base.
Apart from the financial sector, Goledzinowski said Australia also saw opportunities to strengthen its trade and investment relations with Malaysia in the tourism, hospitality, construction, energy and education sectors.
Source: New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: Australian-listed AI Group Ltd has identified a few target companies with high growth potential to invest in Asia Pacific including Malaysia.
Chairman James Huey said the board will be reviewing the companies in the next four to six weeks before making a firm deal.
"We will be looking at making an investment in one of more target companies this year. The sectors we are focusing on is new age business. Malaysia is one of our dominant targets because of our familiarity with the market.
"We will also be active in the Australian market. We will be over time, identifying prospects in our regional economics that are of interest where the countries are stable or in growing situation and that will include China and Vietnam," Huey told NST Business here recently.
AI Group, an investment holding company was listed on the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSX) recently and it raised about A$1.8 million.
Huey said it will use the fund for its daily operation and for investment in the targeted companies.
"We want to buy good quality business and increase the valuation. The target will be companies that have a bright future and delivering sustainable business with a lot of upside.
"The objective is to increase their valuation. We will not just be a passive investor like sitting back and waiting for that company to deliver good results. We will be actively helping them to grow their business and build their profits, and underneath all that increase the value of the company, which means the value of our investment," he said.
AI Group's biggest shareholder Datuk Dr. Sherwin Chew said the group will grow the investee companies and seek for additional fund in the near future.
"We plan to raise more capital after making a few successful investments in the next one to two years. If we can show our shareholders and the rest of the market that we can add value to companies, then we have a track record and that will make it much easier for us to raise more funds," Chew said.
AI Group is aiming to move to the main board of the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) in no less than two years.
"It depends on whether we can achieve significant size. Going on to the main board of ASX requires AI Group to be larger and again have a good track record to sustain market interest in it," he said.
Chew is also not ruling out a dual listing in another country to raise more funds, as well as to build the company's profile and market confidence.
Source: News Straits Times
THE depth of the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Australia was among the topics discussed during a meeting between Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Australian Ambassador to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski here today.
Both officials also identified areas of potential collaboration between the Finance Ministry (MoF) and the Australian government in areas of mutual interest including structural reform and fiscal management.
“We look forward to continuing our close and productive relationship with the MoF as it implements its important priorities, including through a potential senior officials’ policy dialogue,” Goledzinowski said in a statement today.
Goledzinowski today met with Lim and alumni of Monash University in Melbourne.
Australia first established a diplomatic presence in Kuala Lumpur in 1955.
Both countries shared a longstanding partnership economic policy, reform and trade, including regular secondments and exchanges between agencies with responsibility for financial sector regulation, taxation, competition and anti-corruption.
The relationship is anchored by close defence and security cooperation, as well as strong people-to-people links through education, business, migration and tourism.
In 2015, the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership, reflecting the enduring nature of Australia-Malaysia bilateral ties.
Source: The Malaysian Insight
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