Thank you to Ian Clunies-Ross from the Australian Office of Financial Management for the introduction.
Welcome to our close friends and partners in Japan to the Australian Government Fixed Income Forum.
I acknowledge colleagues from the Australian Treasury, in particular Dr Steven Kennedy, Secretary of Treasury, and Anna Hughes, CEO of the Australian Office of Financial Management, as well as many other visitors from Australia, including from the Reserve Bank of Australia, state governments and the private sector.
By way of introduction to a financial seminar between experts what usefully could I tell you?
I want to make three contextual points as Australia’s Ambassador to Japan.
First, both Australia and Japan face geo-political and geo-economic risk and uncertainty.
Neither country can be complacent about the balance of power, the rules and institutions of the future (whether in economic or in security terms) nor in their ability to galvanise collective action to shape standards and rules that favour openness, stability and transparency.
I am not saying we should be pessimistic – on the contrary, Japan’s successful leadership of the G7 shows how purposeful international leadership can deliver.
But I am saying that Australia and Japan have to act to protect their interests and their domestic and international advantages.
My second point is that no two governments in Asia are more aligned than Australia and Japan in their responses to current uncertainty and risk.
We share common strategic assessments, shared objectives, and a high degree of mutual trust.
If we are to succeed then we need to work together – bilaterally, trilaterally with the United States and in frameworks like the Quad.
The third point that follows is we are invested – and perhaps should become more invested - in each other’s success.
That is, we have an important mutual stake in:
- Our respective economic success.
- Our energy transition as we move to net zero.
- Our ability to deter aggression and conflict by major defence capability uplifts and changes in strategic doctrine.
- How we protect our security interests without undermining our economic flexibility and dynamism.
We need therefore to understand each other’s domestic politics and domestic economy more, and seek to reinforce each other, because Australia and Japan will depend on each other to navigate the turbulence ahead.
That makes this discussion today one not just about investment options to seek a financial return, but also about deepening economic linkages to achieve strategic dividends.
With that lofty goal in mind, I wish you a productive day of shared analysis and exchange.