Mr Hawke ... "the international politics of Asia are being transformed"
Mr Hawke ... "the international politics of Asia are being transformed"
26 November 2014

Australia is just beginning to gain a deep understanding of China, according to former Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Significant Australia-China diplomatic and trade relations had been forged over recent decades, but there was no reason to think the work was done, Mr Hawke told the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences–UQ Asia Pacific Forum at The University of Queensland last week.

“Australia in a sense is just beginning the task of understanding and learning how to deal with this new partner,” he said.

“We are only beginning to understand China’s wealth and power, its ambitions, and to reach a sensible judgment about what sort of country China is.”

China’s meteoric rise to become the world’s biggest economy and the fact it was likely to become the richest nation would affect the distribution of power and the regional political order.

“The international politics of Asia are being transformed before our very eyes . . . the implications for us and our relations with China are momentous,” Mr Hawke said.

The inaugural CASS–UQ Asia Pacific Forum brought together leaders in business, government and education to discuss ways to strengthen the China-Australia relationship.

The forum discussed topics including economic growth, innovation in energy and environment, and building a culture of co-operation.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj read the forum a message from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, encouraging participants to build on the G20 deliberations in Brisbane and continue strengthening the Australia-China relationship.

Professor Høj said UQ had outstanding science-based collaborations with China, and wanted to build on this by strengthening its focus on social sciences collaborations.

“Truly enduring value will be derived from science and technology innovations if we have a deeper understanding of how people organise themselves, relate to each other and understand each other,” Professor Hoj said.

UQ would also look to forge more multinational teams involving China, bringing together diverse expertise, infrastructure, and cultural experiences to “arrive at outcomes that are much greater than the simple sum of our component parts”.

The CASS-UQ Asia Pacific Forum will be held annually. CASS will host the next forum in Beijing in 2015.  

Media: Dr Jessica Gallagher, Deputy Director (UQ Global Engagement),, +61 7 334 67869.