VC’s Update - A trip to the South Pacific

25 Aug 2023

Hello everyone,

I am wearing purple today in support of the University's commitment that our campus and our community be one of the most inclusive places on the planet. I am looking forward to this afternoon's ANU Ally Network's Courtyard Party, and hope to see many of you there.

It's great to be back in Canberra after my trip to the South Pacific. I really enjoyed meeting some of our Pacific-based alumni in Fiji and Papua New Guinea and renewing our connections with the University of the South Pacific, Fiji National University and the University of PNG.

A highlight was speaking on a panel with the Prime Minister in Papua New Guinea that was part of the PNG Update that ANU does each year with UPNG. 1200 people showed up for the event, one of the biggest of any type in PNG - and to think this was less than a 100 person event just a few years ago. It demonstrates how working consistently with partners over a decade can pay a huge dividend. I signed a new Memorandum of Agreement between UPNG and ANU to extend our activities well beyond economics, and we can look forward to many opportunities across Law, HASS and STEM in the years ahead. Congratulations to our colleagues in CAP for this exceptional program.

Last night I joined the farewell dinner of the inaugural William Ah Ket Leadership Program to celebrate with the participants. Established by the ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership (CAAL) with the support of the Australian Government's National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, the program aims to equip emerging Chinese-Australian leaders with the skills and knowledge to become more effective leaders and to play an active role in advancing Australia's bilateral relationship with China. It was an outstanding group of young leaders who got to interact with an equally outstanding set of academic and community leaders. This is just one of CAAL's activities to help ensure Asian-Australians get equal opportunities at leadership positions in our society. The data indicates we still have a fair bit of work to do. I got to sit next to Adam Liaw and discuss my croissant making endeavours.

I also want to share these factsheets which have just been launched by our team at the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Research. They are part of a study to understand the potential impacts the upcoming Voice Referendum may have for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and how we, the Australian community, can lessen this impact. These factsheets are designed as a resource to reduce the burden and are part of a trusted 'hub' of information and resources. You can find this hub, along with the factsheets here - Information, resources, and supports relating to the Voice to Parliament Referendum. I encourage you to have a look and share them with your networks.

Next Tuesday evening I hope many of you - and students, I'm looking at you - will take the chance to listen to Michele Bullock, current Deputy Governor (and next Governor) of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), as she presents the upcoming Sir Leslie Melville public lecture. It's her last speech before she takes the top job and Michele will discuss the RBA's work on climate change and the transition to net zero emissions, recognising the range of implications for the economy, the financial system and society at large. One of the great things of working and studying at ANU is to be able to participate in important events such as this one. Get your tickets before they sell out.

Finally, I encourage all eligible staff to think about applying for the Jawun Program. These six-week secondments offer staff the opportunity to further their professional and personal growth and expand their connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The application round for 2024 secondment placements is now open until Friday 15 September.

My plum trees are blossoming, but with a hard frost this morning, it can only be a few more weeks until we get into full blown spring. For me, it means we are going to burn off our rubbish pile this weekend.