Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:00

AUSTRALIA - Prime Minister Prepares Nation for ‘Asian Century’

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Ms. Gillard has committed to 25 far-reaching goals over the next 13 years designed to tighten links with Asia and ensure that Australians are able to exploit the region’s “staggering” growth.

The measures, outlined in a report by a government-appointed taskforce, include offering thousands of scholarships to Asian students, new diplomatic posts across the region and requiring that a third of all company directors and senior civil servants have a “deep knowledge” of Asia. In addition, every schoolchild will be able to learn one of four “priority” languages: Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Indonesian.
Ms. Gillard said the “unstoppable” rise of Asia and its massive new urban middle class was “a transformation as profound as any that have defined Australia throughout our history.”
Under the long-awaited plan all schools will be partnered with schools in Asia and television stations will be encouraged to present more Asian news and programs. “Children in kindergarten now will graduate from high school with a sound working knowledge of Asia,” Ms. Gillard said.
Australia has greatly benefited from the past decade of growth across Asia, which has triggered a mining boom and helped to shield the nation from the impact of the global financial crisis.  
Ms. Gillard said Australia should not seek to lower wages or working conditions to try to compete with the Asian workforce but instead should boost the country’s skills and promote tourism, education and agriculture to the growing middle class, particularly in China.
Critics largely welcomed the push for closer links with Asia but said it came too late. “The Asian century is already well underway—shouldn’t we have been planning for that quite a while ago?” Adrian Vickers, Asian Studies director at the University of Sydney, told ABC Radio.
“I think we’ve got a lot of catching up to do... The rapid advances in technology, in social change, in political change in Asia are things that we are struggling to keep up with as a nation.”
-www.telegraph.co.uk, 29 October 2012

Arno's Commentary

If the past is an indicator for the future, Australia has done rather well, accommodating change constantly. This is also true with communist China, which implemented change causing the nation to become a major force in the global economy. Other communist nations such as Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam that have failed to implement change have been left behind.
We deal with this important issue in our book, Democracy Invades Islam (Item 1072), particularly in chapter 10, “The Great Change of Progressive Globalism.”
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