30 October 2015
The Honourable Mr Andrew Robb MP
Minister for Trade
Commonwealth Government of Australia
CANBERRA ACT 2600
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.
John R McGregor
- Celebrating Brisbane's World Expo '88 and Australia at World Expositions -
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Co-host The World's Fair Podcast
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