Global Voices WTO Delegates with Former Trade Minister Craig Emerson.
Global Voices WTO Delegates with Former Trade Minister Craig Emerson.
5 September 2013

A University of Queensland student will experience international policymaking first-hand at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Indonesia in December.

Bachelor of Laws/Economics student Ben O’Sullivan will join three other young Australians as a member of the Global Voices World Trade Organization (WTO) Australian Youth Delegation.

Mr O’Sullivan said the conference was the highest decision-making body of the WTO and was a platform for negotiations on multilateral trade agreements.

“It is always exciting to observe how the law you learn in a classroom is put into practice, so attending this forum will complement my studies in international law,” he said.

The Global Voices program enabled Mr O’Sullivan to visit Canberra where he met key Australian policy makers including Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson, former Trade Minister Dr Craig Emerson and former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans.

“As someone with a keen interest in politics, I enjoyed seeing the offices of all the key players and the various Parliament House landmarks that regularly appear on the news, including the ALP caucus room,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“The most memorable moment was sitting down with Dr Martin Parkinson and Gillian Bird (Acting Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

“The two spoke freely about the difficult issues that were raised with them and provided great insight into Australia’s role in the international trading system.

“I also gained an appreciation of the talent and the hard work of the relatively anonymous policymakers that advocate our interests on the world stage.

“For instance, DFAT staff are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about using the WTO system to achieve credible results for Australia.”

Mr O’Sullivan’s participation in the delegation will include researching a paper on the expansion of the WTO’s regulation of energy trade, to be published by Global Voices.

Law School Deputy Head Professor Nick Gaskell congratulated Mr O’Sullivan on becoming the School’s first Global Voices Research Fellow.

“The quality of applications was very high and Ben is an excellent candidate with an impressive research proposal,” Professor Gaskell said.

“The Law School is proud to sponsor a program that demonstrates the UQ Advantage in providing our students with opportunities and support which enrich their learning experience and enable them to realise their aspirations to become the leaders of the future.”

Media: Melissa Reynolds, UQ School of Law (07) 3365 2523,

Established in 2011, Global Voices is a non-profit organisation that provides opportunities for young Australians to engage with international policy at home and abroad. It does this through regular events and research and development opportunities at home, along with the coordination of youth delegations to diplomatic forums abroad.