In the 1960s young Papua New Guineans training for positions as senior public servants at the Administrative College talked about the future of an independent country. The informal discussion group, known as the ‘Bully Beef Club’, comprised an exceptional group of Papua New Guinea’s future independence leaders, including the first Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare.

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. 

“I miss being able to control my emotions around my family – sometimes I can’t stop laughing and sometimes I can’t stop crying.” This man’s contribution is greeted with nods and an understanding chuckle around the circle.

It is mid June 2017, and I am sitting with a group of men and women who have recently had brain injuries and strokes, along with two local physiotherapists, who are facilitating our first ever group therapy session at the Dong Nai General Hospital.

Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is strong and continues to grow. A key focus for DFAT this year will be concluding a deal to increase trade and investment opportunities between our two countries. We are also fostering research collaboration to find solutions to shared problems.

“The minute I stepped off the plane in Paro, an airport in the middle of a steep mountain range with prayer flags lining the single runway, I felt that sense of coming home.”

State Visits are usually very formal affairs, with lots of gilt and glitter.  But, with a relationship as close as Australia and New Zealand’s, you’d be forgiven for asking whether any of that is really necessary. We’re such great mates; wouldn’t it be possible to just get together for a barbecue? Why do we bother with all of the formalities? 

While fresh and enticing seafood may spring to mind when thinking about the Pacific, what many people may not realise is the extensive efforts that are being undertaken to help ensure the sustainability of fish stocks.