Across the world, education, training and research are what I call the transformative triumvirate. They have the power to transform the lives of individuals and to positively change societies and economies.

Our education, training and research institutions, with their reputation of achievement in teaching, inquiry and endeavour, have a particular role to play in our region. Their considered thought and their networks have the ability to help us inform our interactions and how we shape our environment – domestically and internationally.

The increase in the world’s connectivity has paved the way for an explosion in illegal trade in exotic pets. Billions of people across the world are now connected through various forms of social media. People can share pictures of themselves with a weird-looking lizard, or an adorable sugar-glider, and the desire for these pets can go viral.

With around two-thirds of our total agricultural production exported around the world, Australia’s foreign policy is an essential factor in the continuing and fast-growing success of our agricultural sector. This is one of the reasons the government is currently developing a Foreign Policy White Paper, which will provide a roadmap for advancing Australia’s agricultural interests overseas and define how we engage with the world in the years ahead.

Australia Awards scholarships continue to change the lives of Indonesia’s future leaders, which has long-term benefits for Australia’s bilateral relationship with that country. 

As a small, open economy, Australia – and the lives of its people – are very much affected by international developments. Australia’s economic fortunes are inextricably linked to its ability to optimise the benefits of trade and international investment.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is best known as the home of Australia’s only nuclear research reactor, OPAL. What is less known is that ANSTO uses its expertise in nuclear science and technology to directly support Australia’s foreign policy objectives.

Today, the Foreign Minister launched Australia’s inaugural International Cyber Engagement Strategy. It sets out Australia’s ambitious cyber affairs agenda for the next three years. As Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, I will lead Australia’s international cyber engagement. I will ensure our efforts are comprehensive and coordinated, and founded on partnership with the private sector.