Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Open Letter to Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

30 April 2014

The Honourable Ms Tanya Plibersek MP
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Commonwealth Government of Australia

Dear Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs:

I write to you on this occasion further to previous correspondence concerning next year's World Exposition at Milano Italy and Australia's representation there.

I have written to your Government counterpart and also the Prime Minister, however, now, at one year to go before the commencement of the World Fair, the Australian Government is yet to commit to be represented at Milano.

Dear Shadow Minister, Australia has a proud and long record of hosting and being represented at World Expositions - the 'cultural Olympics' - from Sydney 1879 to Melbourne 1888, to Brisbane 1988, and the stunning Australia Pavilions at Montreal 1967, Seville 1992 and Shanghai 2010.

Already over 150 nations have committed to Milan, including the UK, USA, China, Japan, Korea - in fact most of our major trading partners and the developed and developing world.

Australia's absence from Milan 2015 would be a major loss for our nation's trade and foreign affairs branding, in this decade's major cultural public diplomacy opportunity.

Not participating at Milan would not only represent a major omission, embarrassment and lack of opportunity to further Australia's interests on the world stage, both in terms of visitor impact and inter-Pavilion and international business networking but it would be the first time in the modern era that Australia has not had a Pavilion at a Universal Exposition.

Dear Shadow Minister, I implore upon you, to bring our Government into account to announce Australia's representation at Milano soon.

This is a major international public diplomacy initiative that Australia cannot afford not to be represented at.

I look forward to your representation in Parliament, and to your response.

Yours sincerely,

John McGregor
Celebrate 88
Progressing Brisbane's World Expo 88 and Australia at World Expositions
Tel 0455 488 787
Surfers Paradise Queensland

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Milano World Expo 2015 - 366 days to go

Tomorrow marks exactly one year till the commencement of Milano's World Expo 2015, where the international community will gather on the theme of "Food: Energy for Life".

Already over 150 nations have announced their participation, including Japan, UK, USA, China, and most of the developed and developing world.

Australia has participated at every Universal Exposition with its own Pavilion since Montreal Expo 67 Canada. Yet at this critical one year to go milestone being passed till Milano 2015, the Australian Government is yet to announce its decision concerning its representation.

At 400 days to go Celebrate 88 wrote to the Prime Minister's Office, asking for a response, however now more than a month later, still no response has been received.

Citing 'budgetary pressures' the Australian Government is either uninterested or not willing to commit to Milan, risking an obvious omission, not to also mention an embarrassing one.

We can only hope that the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, whose responsibility it is for Australia's representation at World Expositions, has in fact already advised the Prime Minister that Australia should be at Milan, and that we are just waiting for the announcement.

However, in another 2 months time, by 300 days to go, it may be too late to commit funding and organise a Pavilion from a logistics point of view.

At the moment, we can only hope an announcement for Australia's participation will be made soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

400 Days till Milan Expo 2015 - and where is Australia?


2 April 2014

The Honourable Mr Tony Abbott MP
Prime Minister
Commonwealth Government of Australia

Dear Prime Minister:



I write to your esteemed office on this occasion with regards the above, and a response from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade stating that Australia is "yet to confirm its participation", now at nearly less than a year to the Expo's commencement.

I acknowledge the points raised in the Department's response and understand that quantifying the trade and other benefits for participating at a World Exposition can be difficult, given financial and other constraints.

Let me, on behalf of Celebrate 88, with more than several years experience in World Expositions spanning since Brisbane's World Expo 88, that the short term and long term benefits of hosting and being represented at a World Exposition are considerable, and along with the Arts, Sports, representation at and hosting of Olympic Games, and give Australia an unparalleled opportunity for nation-branding in an international setting/networking furthering Australia's diverse global interests, trade of course included.

Given these undeniable benefits to Australia's representation at World Expositions, especially in one of Australia's major trading partners, historically and in a contemporary sense, the European Union, I believe the decision to participate at Milano should now not be a question of "if" but when.

We are already at the point of less than 400 days to the commencement of the Expo. We run into the danger, as I am sure you are aware, that unless a decision to participate is made within the next four weeks, it shall be deemed too late, from logistical, funding, and other considerations for Australia to be represented at Milano.

I impress upon you, Prime Minister, therefore to quickly approve Australia's representation at Milano.

I, and the international community at Milano, which already includes over 150 nations, including the UK and USA, await your response.

Yours sincerely,

John McGregor
Celebrate 88
Surfers Paradise Queensland 
Tel 0455 488 787