Australia and Singapore. Not so far apart, but they often feel quite different.

The relationship between Australia and Singapore was forged in the jungles of World War II. Over 1700 Australians died defending Singapore. In fact, Australia was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Singapore back in 1965.The friendship has flourished ever since, growing with our mutual prosperity. We will benefit from greater integration and collaboration between our complementary economies. These two countries share a common strategic outlook. Opposed to violent extremism, they seek a future for our region governed by respect for international law marked by stable relations among the major powers. We aspire for a society defined by tolerance and diversity. Singapore reminds us of strength and consistency of the issues that matters, not the size.

In a recent speech in the Financial Review from Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, bringing Singapore and Australia closer together is a matter of business and partnership.

Singapore’s story is an extraordinary one.Mr Lee Kwan Yew, the father of the Prime Minister, founded a nation whose only assets were its resources, location, and people.Mr Lee Kwan Yew almost singlehandedly created the Singapore we know today, with its high standard of living, harmonious society and global influence.

Australia and Singapore launched the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership last year on the fiftieth anniversary of their diplomatic partnership. This is ten-year plan to expand the frontiers of our bilateral cooperation across economic, strategic and people to people dimensions.

Malcom Turnbull is joyous to announce this plan, the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Together Singapore and Australia will fuel economic integration and improve mobility for business people. Together, governmental opportunities will be accessible and it will be more accessible for Singapore to invest in Australia.

The countries embark new partnership in innovation. Singapore will aid in cooperation with world-renowned research institutions, such as Australia’s CSIRO and Singapore’s A*STAR [Agency for Science, Technology and Research].  Australia has no shortage of ideas and now we all share Singapore’s expertise to drive more commercial benefit from our innovation. Empowering the possibilities of the new economy is vital for both our futures.

Australia and Singapore are opening a new chapter in our defence relationship. Australia has agreed to expand access for Singapore’s armed forces to utilize training grounds in Australia. North Queensland will be co-developed and shared between Australia and Singapore. This is a great opportunity to make a long-term difference to local economies and jobs.

Asia is a big place. Just between Australia and Singapore the dynamism is electric and ever-changing. We constantly face new opportunities and challenges. Because Australians and Singaporeans work together so well, and because our economies are so complementary, we can achieve much together in our vibrant region.

Australia and Singapore may be countries with different histories and different cultural traditions.  But as governments and peoples, we rely on each other. Minister Trumbull has set a wonderful stage for cooperation and success in the Asian hemisphere.


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