Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 DFAT White Paper Submission

Dear Ministers:

Please find following my submission for the 2017 DFAT White Paper.

Yours sincerely

John McGregor
Celebrate 88
http://celebrate88.com/
TEL 048181 3388

DFAT WHITE PAPER SUBMISSION
2017
JOHN MCGREGOR
CELEBRATE 88

In the decade ahead Australia must pursue a robust foreign and trade policy that secures our place on the world stage as a prominent leader and producer of goods and services that represent cutting-edge capabilities.

With our diverse multicultural workforce, we already have so many innate advantages in trade on the global stage, more however needs to be done in promoting our goods and services in ways that further our nation-branding in timely and focussed means, and this is where our membership of the Bureau of International Expositions, and representation at and of hosting of World Expositions needs to be further maximised and delivered.

Too much of late, including glaring omissions at Milano 2015 and Astana 2017, Australia has missed it's opportunities for promotion at these pinnacle events, citing short-term "budget emergencies" or "financial constraints", effectively meaning that Australia is "not in business" at these microcosm world diplomacy and trade events.

We would not think of not sending a team to the Summer or Winter Olympics Games, citing "budgetary pressure", and yet, when there is the opportunity to further our key core assets on the world stage makes itself possible by representation at or at hosting of a World Expositions, we strangely believe that it is "not in our national best interest" to attend.

Too often, lack of a burgeoning trade relationship with the Exposition host nation is used as a excuse for not being represented with an Australian Pavilion at a Recognised or Registered Exposition.

But this is precisely the reason why we should attend - to boost trade and diplomatic relations with not only the host nation and region - but also with the myriad of other nations (and corporations) represented at the Expo also in terms of business deals made with visiting international corporate and national delegations to the Expo.

It is sincerely hoped that through regular representation at World Expositions, Australia can once again gain trade, business, and diplomatic momentum on the world stage, and that subsequent Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, can earmark from a early stage funding for upcoming Expositions, hence furthering our trade and diplomatic relations, and our membership of the BIE.

As an observer for Brisbane's World Expo 88 at three Assemblies of the BIE-led Assembly of Expo Cities and Regions, it would be an honour to speak further to the Commonwealth Government on ways in which "brand Australia" can re-assert itself on the World Expositions stage.

Our nation depends on it.

Yours sincerely

JOHN MCGREGOR
CELEBRATE 88
http://celebrate88.com/
TEL 048181 3388

Monday, August 22, 2016

Australia at Dubai 2020

22 August 2016

CORRESPONDENCE TO FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MONCRIEFF
THE HONOURABLE MR STEVEN CIOBO MP
RE: AUSTRALIA AT DUBAI EXPO 2020

Dear Minister:

AUSTRALIA AT DUBAI EXPO 2020

Greetings!

My name is John McGregor and I live in your electorate, in Lawson St Southport.

I run a commemorative organisation for Brisbane's World Expo 88, entitled Celebrate 88, and hosted at http://www.celebrate88.com/, and we also look into advocacy for Australian representation at future World Expositions, including the upcoming Astana Expo 2017, and Dubai Expo 2020.

Although we have received official notification that Australia will not be at Astana 2017, we have yet to hear about Australia at Dubai 2020, a bid which Australia supported in its initial and concluding stages.

Representation at World Expositions enables Australia to promote it's important nation branding initiatives on the world stage, not only at the host city and host nation level, but also for trade and business delegations amongst other participating nations and corporations at the Expo.

Whilst Australia's lack of participation at Astana 2017 is disappointing, what would be even more disappointing is  being absent also from Dubai 2020.

Being represented at Dubai is an important fiscal priority for the Australian Government, and measures must be made now to ensure future budgets take this into account.

I would be grateful if you could forward this correspondence to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Ms Julie Bishop MP, whose portfolio responsibility lies for Australia at World Expositions, for her comment.

As always, Celebrate 88 fully supports an Australian presence at future World Expositions, we need not rest on our laurels of past Exposition Pavilion successes, but we need to work further towards future synergies of trade, commerce and diplomacy and their benefits for Australia as encapsulated by being represented.

I look forward to your response.

With cordial regards,

JOHN R MCGREGOR
Founder
Celebrate 88
Progressing the World Expo 88 Vision

Friday, October 30, 2015

Response to Minister for Trade

30 October 2015

The Honourable Mr Andrew Robb MP
Minister for Trade
Commonwealth Government of Australia
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister:

AUSTRALIA AT WORLD EXPOSITIONS

Thank you for your letter of 13 October 2015 to my local Federal Member Mr Stuart Robert MP's office with regards to my representation to you regarding Australia at Milan World Expo 2015 and subsequent World Expositions.

I acknowledge your Department's response and the effort made to secure representation at Milan, however unsuccessful.

Every World Exposition is a one-off event, unique to the host city, unique to the world, and unique to that epoch and time. The theme of the Expo gives us a further opportunity to communicate Australia's objectives on the world stage.

Unfortunately, like any advertisement, it costs money to have a shop front, but we run into the danger of "advertising" that Australia is "closed for business", if we do not make the effort for a Pavilion at these pinnacle public diplomacy events.

But lack of Government funding should not be a stumbling block for no representation at a World's Fair, as the USA example (and others) shows.

Wouldn't it therefore, be far better that the portfolio for Australia at World Expositions be moved to Austrade where that agency would be better able to facilitate and promote Australian private enterprise representation and funding of an Australian Pavilion?

Whilst a fully private enterprise funded Australia Pavilion has, I believe, not been explored before, now, as Astana and Dubai, loom, maybe it is time to investigate such an approach.

And given the microcosm and myriad of business transactions which take place amongst international participants at a World Fair, I believe that geopolitical relations with the host nation, whilst important, need to be a second tier rationale for representation at an Expo, with the ability to network with the global community and articulate the Expo theme to Australia's advantage at a World's Fair to be the principal non-financial deciding factors.

Australia in its modern history has been a proud representative in World Exposition history, including hosting World Expositions in Sydney, Melbourne, and recently Brisbane 1988, with Australian representation at World Expositions being amongst the most awarded and memorable of any nation's Pavilions.

We need not however forget the important role of World Expositions in the peaceful promotion of global understanding and trade relations, objectives that Australia proudly also upholds, and we also need not run into the danger of "resting on our laurels".

Correspondingly, I ask that your Department, on behalf of the Australian nation, take into serious consideration the matters raised in this letter.

I await your response.

Yours sincerely

John R McGregor
Celebrate 88!
- Celebrating Brisbane's World Expo '88 and Australia at World Expositions -

celebrate@celebrate88.com
http://www.celebrate88.com/

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Co-host The World's Fair Podcast
http://www.worldsfairpodcast.com

http://www.facebook.com/celebrate88/
http://twitter.com/celebrate88
http://YouTube.com/foundationexpo88/
http://worldexpositionssnapshot.blogspot.com

 Tel +614384 89135

"It is a great and glorious end to bless the sons of man,
And meet for peace and doing good, in kindness, while we can;
It is a greater, and more blest, the human heart to raise
Up to the God who giveth all, with gratitude and praise."

Excerpt from prose by Martin Tupper Farquhar, on the 1851 London Crystal Palace Exhibition

Response from Minister for Trade

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Response from/to DFAT re: Australian Representation

Ms Lou Anderson
A/g Secretary
Public Diplomacy Division
DFAT Canberra ACT 2600

16 September 2015


Dear Ms Anderson

Thank you for your considered response with regards to my enquiry concerning Australian representation at the next two World's Fairs in Astana and Dubai.

I acknowledge your comments re: the tight budgetary position which has precluded Australian representation at Milan, however this, as in the USA case where no State Government funding can be used for representation at an Expo, and other similar cases, need not be a stumbling block in forging a Pavilion at future Fairs, but rather should be a conduit for a Government facilitated and private enterprise funded Pavilion. Diplomatic ties are of course not the only consideration here - and this is perhaps where Austrade through DFAT can pull more weight.

World's fairs are the cultural and trading Olympic games and are the pinnacle event for public diplomacy and nation branding for their given year. Being absent is a glaring and embarrassing omission, not only in bilateral relations with the host nation, but also in terms of the microcosm web of interlinked multilateral exchange amongst participating nations at the Expo itself.

Given the above, I find tight budgetary concerns by cabinet, or perceived lack of compelling geopolitical reasons to be represented at the host nation is a weathered down argument that does not wash well with me, who has seen a string of very successful Australia Pavilions since our own hosting of our very successful World Expo 88 in Brisbane.

In terms of diplomatic reciprocity alone, given that Italy was represented at World Expo 88, the Australian representation at Milan should have been given a high priority from 2 years out. And yet there was no communication from the Government - or even Parliamentary debate for that matter concerning Australia's glaring absence from Milan. A very disappointing outcome.

Australia has been an active participant in the world of world's fairs almost since their inception over 150 years ago, as a young vibrant nation they give us an unparalleled opportunity to further Australia's interests on the world stage.

The decision to not be represented at Milan must be criticised at the highest levels, hence my representation to the Senate.

We must make sure that such short-sightedness does not become the absent rubber stamp from representation at future World Expositions, and correspondingly I shall continue to lobby the Commonwealth Government to raise awareness of this issue, including considering moving the portfolio of representation at World's Fairs to Austrade and not Foreign Affairs.

I look forward to keeping your office informed.

With sincere regards

John R McGregor
Celebrate 88!
- Celebrating Brisbane's World Expo '88 and Australia at World Expositions -

celebrate@celebrate88.com
http://www.celebrate88.com/

Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Co-host The World's Fair Podcast
http://www.worldsfairpodcast.com

http://www.facebook.com/celebrate88/
http://twitter.com/celebrate88
http://YouTube.com/foundationexpo88/
http://worldexpositionssnapshot.blogspot.com

Tel +614384 89135

"It is a great and glorious end to bless the sons of man,
And meet for peace and doing good, in kindness, while we can;
It is a greater, and more blest, the human heart to raise
Up to the God who giveth all, with gratitude and praise."

Excerpt from prose by Martin Tupper Farquhar, on the 1851 London Crystal Palace Exhibition

"Anderson, Lou" <Lou.Anderson@dfat.gov.au> wrote:

Hello John
Thanks for passing on a copy of your letter to Lisa Wright.

I am unable to meet while you are in Canberra tomorrow as I have a full dairy, but I can tell you that has been no decision taken on Australia's participation in Dubai Expo 2020.

As you are aware, in light of the very tight budget environment in Australia and the high cost of participation in world expos, the Government decided not to participate in the World Expo in Milan in 2015. Through our Embassy in Rome and Consul General in Milan, we continue to support Australian trade, tourism and networking events in the lead up to, and during, the Milan Expo.  And while Australia will not participate in the Expo, we have a significant public diplomacy footprint in Italy during 2015 through the Venice Biennale, managed by the Australia Council.

The Australian Government will consider any future participation in world expos on as a case by case basis evaluating events which reflect strong economic links, compelling business benefits and private sector support, as well as the right fiscal environment in Australia for Government to finance participation.

Happy for you to keep in touch but I imagine there will be no developments to share before the end of the year.

Kind regards
Lou


Lou Anderson
_______________________________
Director | Advocacy, Events and Outreach
Public Diplomacy Branch | Public Diplomacy and Communications Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Open Letter to DFAT Re: Australia at Astana 2017/Dubai 2020

15 September 2015

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Federal Member for Fadden
Commonwealth Government of Australia

Ms Lisa Wright
Assistant Secretary
Public Diplomacy Division
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade


Dear Mr Robert, Ms Wright:

AUSTRALIA AT EXPO 2017 ASTANA KAZAKHSTAN

Firstly let me congratulate your offices on our new Prime Minister the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP.

I write to you on this occasion with regards to Australian representation at the next World Exposition in Astana Kazakhstan in 2017.

As you may know, this year's World Expo is in Milan Italy and unfortunately in the Abbott Government's first budget, no funding was allocated for an Australian Pavilion at Milan - the first time in nearly 50 years that Australia has not been represented at a Universal Exposition.

I had written to DFAT, and the Prime Minister's Office 18 months from the commencement of Milan 2015 to express my concern of no announcement of a Pavilion and furthermore to the Senate Standing Committee into Defence Foreign Affairs & Trade as to why a private enterprise model Pavilion could not be investigated, but both to no avail.

Although this is disappointing, it need not be a precedent for lack of an Australia Pavilion at future World Expositions such as that at Astana 2017 and Dubai 2020 - the next Universal Exposition after Milan, and I write to your offices at this early junction to ascertain the Government's position on a Pavilion for Australia at Astana 2017 and Dubai 2020.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely


John R McGregor
Celebrate 88!
celebrate@celebrate88.com
Tel 04384 89135

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Milano World Expo 2015 6 Months to Go - additional request to the Senate


Dear Committee:

CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING AUSTRALIA AT MILANO WORLD EXPO 2015

I write to you with regards to attached correspondence forwarded to your Committee on 28 May 2014, to which I was informed had been forwarded to the Minister for Trade for his official response.

This is to advise your office that nearly six months have passed and I am yet to receive a follow-up from your Committee since notifying me of such, or indeed, any response from the Honourable Minister for Trade.

As this is an important matter in the national interest, which also sets a precedent for future Australian representation at World Expositions, I would be grateful if you could inform the Minister that your Committee - and Celebrate 88, as represented by myself and the interested Australian community, are waiting for his response.

I look forward to your injunction and await your reply.

Yours sincerely,

John McGregor
Celebrate 88
http://celebrate88.com/
Tel 04384 89135

------------------

28 May 2014

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee 
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

ATTN: Ophelia

Dear Sir/Madam:

REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION

I write to your office after several communications over the past two months to the Prime Minister's Office, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shadow Minister, local members of Parliament and the Senate, however to no, or no satisfactory avail.

It is with regard to the Commonwealth Government's decision to not commit to a Pavilion at next year's World Exposition in Milano Italy, "Expo 2015", which commences 1 May 2015.

Already more than 150 nations and international organisations have committed to Milan, including our major allies and trading partners the UK, USA, Japan, China, Korea, and most of the developing and developing world.

Participating in the World Exposition fulfills major trade, foreign affairs, and public diplomacy objectives for Australia.

To not be there, is not only a very bad policy decision, but is also an embarrassment by omission.

The Exposition in Milano represents the world's pinnacle public diplomacy, trade and diplomacy opportunity for the 2015-2020 half-decade, not only in terms of to visitors at the Exposition from Milano, Italy, Europe and the rest of the world, but also in terms of international Government and corporate inter-Pavilion networking at the Expo.

Not until Dubai 2020 will Australia have a similar opportunity to wow on the world stage, and this will be presented with a different region, era and theme.

The time to investigate and re-evaluate the Government's very luke-warm response is now - by July at 300 days to go, the decision may well be out of the Government's hands as logistically financially and otherwise it will be too late.

Budgetary pressure is not a good enough reason to not commit to Milano, as DFAT representatives have stated.

The time is now to think 'outside' of the box, and to create a fully-corporate funded Australia Pavilion concept, with Government coordination, similar to the USA Government's USA 2.0 Pavilion initiative.

I ask the Committee to, with post-haste, to investigate why DFAT and the PMC have not investigated promoting a fully-private enterprise funded Pavilion for Australia at Milano 2015, that provides for an alliance of Australian-Italian/European corporations to be presented at Milan in an Australian Pavilion.

With the theme of 'food', a topic universal to all humankind, surely there is no better opportunity for the best of Australia's food and hospitality to be represented in Europe and on the world stage next year.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN MCGREGOR
Celebrate 88
http://celebrate88.com/
Tel 0455 488 787

Friday, September 19, 2014

Still Awaiting Official Response from Minister for Trade

We are still awaiting the official  response from the Australian Government Minister for Trade as to why Australia could not be represented at Milano World Expo 2015, with a Government or private enterprise funded Pavilion.

Whether there is an Australian presence at Milano or not, it is important to hold the Government accountable for its decisions, so that it is on the record that its decisions do not go un-noticed. as well as establishing better guidelines for future Australian participation at World Expositions.

Not enough money, in this day of free-enterprise and Government liaison, is simply not a good enough response from the Federal Government.

An Australian Government facilitated and Australian-Italian free-enterprise funded Pavilion should have been the ticket the Australian Government should have promoted, and which could have been a great success.

We still have hope for some Australian representation at Milano, but an Australian Government Pavilion alas, looks to be, and for some time now, a no hoper.


Australian Shadow Tourism Minister Albanese Confirms the Worst

Brought to our attention yesterday, the Australian Government Shadow Minister for Tourism Mr Anthony Albanese MP here in this late August 2014 Press Release confirms our worst fears. Yes, someone in Canberra is listening and yet it appears that not even the Federal Opposition can do anything about the Government's stall tactics with regards to making an 'official' announcement vis.a.vis our Pavilion at Milano World Expo 2015.

Victoria will be represented with a themed week at the Expo, but no other State/Territory nor will the Federal Government be represented at the Expo. In my view, this is a critical - and clinical - policy failure on behalf of the Australian Government at next year's - and arguably this decade's - most important global public diplomacy initiative. As once proud host of World Expo '88 - and with more than several decades history of representation at World Expositions, this singular decision by the Department of Foreign Affairs makes for an outstanding - and embarassing - singular omission by the Australian Government and continent at a World Exposition. We will be there - noticed - if anything but all by not being there. 


The Press Release in full is here:

Milano Expo Snub Shows Australia is Closed for Business

Tony Abbott has turned his back on a golden opportunity to enhance trade links between Australia and Italy and to promote tourism by refusing to fund an Australian presence at the 2015 World Expo in Milan.

While the Victorian Government is spending $1.25 million to participate in the Expo, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop claims she cannot justify funding involvement by the Australian Government because of the expense involved.
This is absurd.  Participation in Expo Milan would be an investment in the future and would more than pay for itself in terms of trade opportunities and tourism.
The Government’s obsession with spending cuts at all costs and its mealy-mouthed rejection of promoting Australian tourism abroad is now costing Australian businesses genuine opportunities.
The theme of the Expo Milan is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Given Australia’s status as a food exporter, our participation makes good sense.
When I visited Italy last year I met then Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who specifically raised the issue of Australia’s participation in the expo.
About 900,000 Australians have Italian ancestry and the expo also provides a chance to boost people-to-people links between the two nations and promote Australia as a destination for Italian tourists.
The Abbott Government’s short-sighted approach is inconsistent with its claim after its election that Australia was “open for business’’.
A government truly interested in economic development would ensure Australia had a stand at the Expo, as was the intention of the previous Labor Government.

The source of the 21 August 2014 Press Release is here: 
http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/milan-expo-snub-shows-australia-is-closed-for-business