Roundtable with the Hon Tim Watts MP

On Tuesday 30 August 2022, the Perth USAsia Centre hosted a private roundtable discussion with the Hon Tim Watts MP, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The new Labor government promises a fresh approach towards Australia’s relationship with its Indo-Pacific partners across Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Africa. Discussion noted that Penny Wong’s warm reception in Jakarta for speaking Indonesian highlighted the immense potential in this new chapter of Australia’s Indo-Pacific relations.

In Australia’s race for influence in the region, Western Australia will play a pivotal role as Australia’s gateway to the Indian Ocean. The importance of Western Australian perspectives to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was acknowledged.

In attendance were representatives from think tanks, industry, and outreach organisations such as the Australia Institute for International Affairs, Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies Indonesia, PwC, and Woodside Energy. Participants offered their insights into pressing concerns and opportunities for Australia’s engagement with its regional neighbours in areas such as critical minerals and climate change cooperation.

The room agreed that multilateralism and the rules based international order are vital to Australia’s security and prosperity, and deeper engagement between Australia and the Indo-Pacific will be beneficial towards promoting such interests.

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