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:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Still Awaiting Response from Senate Committee re: Australia at Milano 2015

Dear Followers, Supporters, all:

It is now nearly 3 months since our letter to the Australian Parliament Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade, and we have yet to receive a response from the Minister for Trade.

We have sent this letter to the Committee today, and hope they can give us some news, although I do not expect the news to be positive, soon.

11 September 2014 

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

Dear Committee:


Thank you for your ongoing assistance.

I write to you on this occasion with regards to following up a response from the Minister for Trade vis.a.vis Australia’s representation at next year’s World’s Fair in Milano, Italy.

I have yet to receive a response from the Committee, or the Minister.

I look forward to your any further information.

Yours sincerely

John McGregor
Celebrate 88

We will post the Minister's response as soon as we have received it.

Solider on, people!!!