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G20 Summit takes place in Brisbane
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is met by Australian Attorney-General George Brandis on arrival in Brisbane for the G20 Summit. Photo: G20 Australia.
This week Australia will welcome leaders of the world’s major advanced and emerging economies to Brisbane to discuss the future of the global economy, and, more importantly, to set it on a solid track towards strong, sustainable growth.
The leaders will meet at a time when the evidence shows the global economy continues to underperform. In October, the International Monetary Fund again revised down its forecasts for global economic growth to just 3.3 per cent for 2014.
This is where we see the true value of the G20 and the cooperation we have built over the past years of economic turbulence – in the lead up to last month’s meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, our countries developed some 900 measures – 700 of which are new – that would bring us very close to the target of delivering a 2 per cent increase in to global GDP over five years. This will mean US$2trillion to the world economy and millions of new jobs. We are already at the 1.8 per cent mark.
We do not seek growth for its own sake, but to help our citizens find new and better jobs, expand business in international markets and to build the infrastructure this century demands. This is no small challenge, and there is still work to be done.
Each G20 member is focussing on individual and collective actions to boost economic growth, putting credible and sensible measures in their country growth strategies.
Getting these strategies right is critical not only for the G20 as a forum, but also to put the world’s economy back on track in this post global financial crisis period.
The status quo is simply not sufficient to bring us back to pre-crisis growth. But this is not a problem that governments alone can solve. We need the private sector and the help of our citizens. Over the past couple of months, we have received recommendations from business, civil society, thought-leaders, labour and youth representatives from G20 countries. There is a broad understanding of the reforms the G20 must implement if we are to deliver better economic outcomes.
Creating an environment that is conducive to growth means removing impediments to private sector growth, enabling free trade, and lifting participation and employment – particularly of women and young people. Working with Canada, Australia, as G20 chair, has encouraged the G20 to shift its focus from government-led growth to private sector-led growth, particularly through additional investment in infrastructure. Last month in Cairns, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to establish the Global Infrastructure Initiative, which will include the development of a database to help match potential investors with projects.
Infrastructure has a key role in Australia’s efforts to boost growth, supported by the government’s recently-announced asset recycling initiative. Our current federal budget has committed $50 billion to infrastructure, the largest infrastructure investment in Australian history. In turn, we are forecast to generate a record $125 billion of public and private investment in infrastructure over the next decade. We are confident some of this investment will come from Canada, given the expanding interests of Canadian pension funds and other investors in Australian infrastructure.
Like Canada, Australia is repairing the national budget and shifting spending away from short-term consumption and towards growth-enhancing investment. We are lowering the costs of doing business by cutting red tape, reducing taxes and further opening our trade borders.
G20 reforms must be structural – removing long-standing imbalances and distortions in our economies, improving efficiency and productivity, and making it easier for business to do business. We must each undertake domestic reforms, and collectively take measures that go beyond our borders. Global growth requires global effort.
We are committed to making a real change for the better at the Brisbane Summit. We look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Harper to Brisbane and working with him and other leaders to lift economic performance and living standards. This is an outcome well worth our effort.
- High Commissioner Louise Hand PSM
South Australian By-Election, District of Fisher: 6 December 2014
Electors enrolled in the State House of Assembly District of Fisher (SA) who are visiting or residing overseas are advised that a By-Election for this District has been announced for Saturday 6 December 2014.
Information about the election can be found on the Electoral Commission of South Australia website.
Australians overseas who wish to apply for a postal vote can download a postal vote application form from this website.
Postal vote application forms must be received by the Electoral Commission no later than 5.00pm (ACDT) on Thursday 4 December 2014. Completed forms should be faxed to the Electoral Commission (+61 8 7424 7444) or sent by mail to:
Electoral Commission of South Australia
GPO Box 666
Adelaide SA 5001
Signed completed forms may also be scanned and emailed to ECSAcomments@sa.gov.au. Ballot papers will then be posted to the elector for completion.
For your vote to be received on time, completed ballot papers must be mailed in Australia or overseas postmarked prior to 6:00pm (ACDT) on polling day, and received at the Electoral Commission by 6.00pm (ACDT) on Saturday 13 December 2014.
Voting in Victorian State Election
A Victorian State Election has been announced for 29 November 2014. For all election enquiries, please visit the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) website at: http://www.vec.vic.gov.au/. Electors can contact the VEC directly by telephone: +61 3 8620 1100, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal vote applications are available on the VEC website.
In-person voting, in Canada:
In person voting will commence on 19 November 2014 at the Australian Consulate-General in Toronto and the Australian Consulate in Vancouver. (Contact details for Toronto and Vancouver)
*Close of Early Voting Period is 28 November 2014.
Completed postal vote applications, in Canada:
If you reside in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island or Quebec, you may fax your completed postal vote application to the Australian Consulate-General in Toronto: +1-416-323-4295
If you reside in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan or Yukon Territory, you may fax your completed postal vote application to the Australian Consulate in Vancouver: +1-604-684-1856
*Close of Postal Vote Applications is 27 November 2014.
Prime Minister Abbott's Statement to House of Representatives in Canberra
Madam Speaker, as we all know, overnight there has been an attack on the Canadian Parliament.
A soldier has been killed and others have been wounded following the terrorist murder of a Canadian soldier the day before.
Madam Speaker, apart from New Zealand, no country on earth is more akin to Australia than Canada.
We are both multicultural federations with British institutions, they speak our language, and they share our heritage and our danger.
More than 100 Canadians are believed to be fighting with the ISIL death cult and other terrorist groups in the Middle East and more have been infected with godless fanaticism.
So, Madam Speaker, today, more than ever, Australians and Canadians are family. We feel Canada’s shock, pain and anger.
I have been in their Parliament, I have been at their War Memorial – so many of us have. I regard Stephen Harper, their Prime Minister, as a friend and almost a brother. So, an attack on their Parliament is an affront to this Parliament too.
So, today, Madam Speaker, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Canadian comrades in defiance and resolution.
We stand for freedom and for the right of all people in all places to choose their way of life and their way of worship. We always have and we always will.
Madam Speaker, finally, I note the presence in our Parliament today of Canada’s High Commissioner and I hope that he finds some comfort on this day in the solidarity of our Parliament with him.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa earlier this year
Papua New Guinea Visa Applications
Historically, the Australian High Commission acted as an agent for Papua New Guinea (PNG) Immigration. Following new directions from the PNG Government, with effect from 10 July 2014, the Australian High Commission in Ottawa is no longer allowed to accept PNG visa applications. All PNG visa applications have to be lodged by the applicant directly to the Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (PNG ICSA) Office in Port Moresby, PNG.
Australia's G20 Sherpa delivers keynote address at CIGI in Ottawa
Dr. Heather Smith, Australia’s G20 Sherpa and Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, delivered a keynote address on the challenges and opportunities Australia faces in chairing the G20 during a period of post-crisis consolidation. Dr. Smith spoke on how the Australian presidency of the G20 is working with members to promote growth, build resilience in the global economy and build a durable international order to underpin global prosperity in the twenty-first century. The 2014 G20 leaders’ summit will be held in Brisbane, Australia on 15-16 November 2014.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits Ottawa
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa.
Following a visit to France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in Ottawa on Sunday 8 June. The two-day visit started at the Canadian War Museum where Prime Minister Abbott announced steps to increase cooperation between the institution and the Australian War Memorial to commemorate the shared contribution of both countries to victory in World War One. Full release
Prime Minister Tony Abbott tours the Canadian War Museum.
In the evening, High Commissioner Louise Hand welcomed Prime Minister Abbott to Australia House for a dinner with business leaders and to do some gardening. The Prime Minister enthusiastically helped the High Commissioner plant a Himalayan Birch. His tree joined those of former Australian Prime Ministers Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard, and former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce in the Residence garden.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott plants a tree in the Residence garden with High Commissioner Louise Hand.
An early bike ride on a beautiful Monday morning started Prime Minister Abbott’s second day in the capital. He was accompanied by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as they traversed Gatineau Park.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Gatineau, QC.
Next up for the Prime Minister was breakfast with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The pair first met in 2005 when Mr Harper was the opposition leader.
“He has taken me under his wing when he was an experienced Prime Minister and I was a mere neophyte Opposition Leader. He has kept me under his wing and I look forward to a strong partnership in all of the forums of the world in the months and years to come.” – Prime Minister Abbott at his official dinner in Ottawa. Full text
The connection between the two leaders and the close bilateral relationship was apparent as Prime Minister Abbott received an impressive welcome on Parliament Hill. This included a 19 gun salute, an inspection of the honour guard, anthems and the multitude of Australian flags all around the city.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
From Prime Minister Harper: “In a recent address to the Australian-Canadian economic leadership forum, you said, and I quote: “Let us make more of the friendship between Australia and Canada for our own good and for the good of the wider world.” Let us use your visit here to renew the bonds of friendship and to recommit to work together for a better Canada, a better Australia, and a better world. Again, we’re delighted that you’ve come, and I look forward to many more equally productive meetings in the months and years ahead.“ Full Text
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Prime Minister Abbott and Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb hosted a discussion roundtable with members of the Australian and Canadian business community, the focus of which was infrastructure and energy investment. Prime Minister Abbott is travelling with a delegation of business leaders from organisations such as: APPEA, Ausfilm, Austmine, Boeing Australia and South Pacific, BHP Billiton, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, IFM Investors, Infrastructure Partnership Australia, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, QIC, and Transurban.
Left: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Trade Minister Andrew Robb. Right: Co-Chair of the Australia-Canada Economic Leadership Forum Mr Thomas d’Aquino with Prime Ministers Abbott and Harper.
One thousand tweets and counting
If you’re not already following us on twitter, here’s a look at what you’ve missed in our first thousand tweets: