Address to Hasanuddin University

Speech
07 Jun 2022
Makassar
Prime Minister
Check against delivery

It is a great honour to be here with you at Hasanuddin University.

After I was elected leader of the Australian Labor Party in 2019, the first international visit I made was to Indonesia. I am very pleased to return here as Australia’s Prime Minister.

It’s so good to be back.

Every time I return to Indonesia I am reminded of your warmth. 

I arrived in somewhat different circumstances this time, but even if my personal situation has changed, your warmth has not.

Thank you all for making me and my delegation feel so very welcome. 

I’ve been out cycling with your President. I was both honoured and touched that the President suggested a bike ride through the Bogor Palace gardens. 

It was such an enjoyable way to see the magnificent grounds.

I’ve also had the great pleasure of meeting many in your business community. 

They play such an essential role in the continuing vitality of our friendship.

I plan to return to Indonesia as Prime Minister often, because of the importance of this diverse and beautiful country. 

As a neighbour. As a friend. As a matter of priority.

As we speak of the friendship between our two nations, it is particularly fitting to be in Makassar. 

Centuries ago, the sea route between here and northern Australia was alive with a flourishing trade. 

Each December, the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land would look to the sea, waiting for the horizon to fill with the sails of Makassan vessels.

The Yolngu immortalised those boats in their art, and you can find them painted on sandstone and bark, their sails forever full with the wind that brought them across the sea.

The long relationship between the Makassan seafarers and First Nations people of Australia was built around trade.

But what was most striking was that it was built on mutual respect. A relationship of equals.

It laid down the foundation stone for the people-to-people contact that is at the very heart of Australia’s relationship with the people of Indonesia.

The Makassan fishers were the first Muslims to visit Australia—writing the first chapter in the story of all that Muslim people have contributed to our nation.

Embracing multiculturalism

Today, there are now over 600,000 Muslims in Australia, and they are a vital and integral part of the rich mosaic of Australian society.

They have helped build our nation and are a valued and respected part of the Australian family.

I am delighted that my new Ministry includes two Muslim Australians.

Industry Minister Ed Husic, who is a member of this delegation, whose parents came from Bosnia in the 1960s and who is the first Muslim to serve in the Australian Cabinet.

And Dr Anne Aly from Western Australia was born in Egypt, grew up in Australia, then returned to Egypt as a teenager to attend university before coming home to Australia again.

Both of them held the Koran as they were sworn in as Ministers last week. 

They were elected to Parliament from diverse and vibrant constituencies.

A very significant point to make here is that they were both elected in constituencies where Muslims are far from a majority.

I take all of this as heartening confirmation that we are maturing as a nation.  

This is the enduring value of multiculturalism and the great spectrum of Australia’s religious and cultural diversity.

As I said in my first speech to Parliament: 

“Multiculturalism provides Australia with a unique opportunity to be a microcosm of the world—to show that cultural diversity and respect can lead to a more peaceful, equitable and fulfilling life for all.” 

Our embrace of multiculturalism speaks to our deepening sense of ourselves as a nation, which itself goes hand in hand with how we see and project our place in the world.

We are part of the most dynamic region in the world.

I see great opportunity to working closely with our neighbours.

It was another Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, who once said that the change that he sought was Australia finding security in Asia, not from Asia. 

That holds true for the Government I lead—on the question of regional security and the challenge of global climate change. 

Climate Change and Energy

I am ambitious for what Australia can achieve as we confront the challenge of climate change, and I am also ambitious what we can achieve in partnership with our friends and neighbours. 

Late last year, I put forward my blueprint for tackling climate change. 

It is a comprehensive response to climate change with economic growth and jobs at its heart.

One of the first steps we will take is to rewire our energy grid so we can integrate more renewables into our power system. It will ensure renewables are 82 per cent of our National Energy Market by 2030.

Our plan will reduce Australia’s emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and ensure we are on track for Net Zero by 2050.

It will attract $52 billion of private investment and will generate 604,000 jobs by 2030.

In doing so, we will provide the certainty and clarity that businesses and investors need.

My Government sees enormous potential in green hydrogen and will look for opportunities to back green hydrogen projects. 

For example, in our island state of Tasmania, we will help kick start a project using solar panels to produce green hydrogen on a commercial scale, and eventually create a green hydrogen export market.

This is the sort of vision we can seize. And we can seize it right now.

Sun Cable is another great example of Australia continuing to step up as a reliable, clean energy provider for the region. 

When completed, it will be a 4500-kilometre pipeline transporting some of Australia’s abundant solar energy from the Northern Territory to Singapore.

Climate change is, of course, a global problem. And that requires a global solution.

I want better access to affordable, reliable and secure clean energy right across our region, as we move toward a net zero world together.
 
That is why, my Government will expand our cooperation with Indonesia on climate change, including through our commitment to establish a new Climate and Infrastructure Partnership.

We will work together with Jakarta to build a resilient, clean energy sector and unlock green trade and investment opportunities—because both of our countries recognise that climate change is not only a problem to be solved, but presents opportunities for us to embrace.

Closer ties on education

As we face the challenges of the present and anticipate the future, what must underpin all of our efforts is education.

Education is the biggest and most powerful weapon we have against disadvantage.

Education is the strongest foundation on which we can build the mutual respect that characterises the relationship between our nations. 

That is the spirit that is embodied by Hasanuddin University.

This great seat of learning is one with strong ties to Australia, with long record of cooperation with Australian universities including Monash, Griffith, Melbourne, La Trobe and Sydney. 

I am especially pleased that the person in charge of guiding that spirit is your Rector, Professor Jamaluddin Jompa.

Professor Jompa’s research experience with coral reef biology and his work with coastal communities have both taken on even greater significance as the world faces the challenges of climate change.

As does his role as adviser to your nation’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

So it is a source of particular pride that Professor Jompa obtained his doctoral degree from James Cook University in Queensland.

Australia has long been a supporter of your institution, whether it was through early infrastructure support or the provision of scholarships.

The depth of engagement between our first class universities and this institution is evident in the remarkable 152 Australian alumni on your teaching staff.

So it is heartening that Australia’s part in the story of this great university gets to continue, in a way, through the story of your Rector.

It’s worth reiterating what his old university has said about him. And I quote:

“Professor Jompa shows exemplary leadership across Indonesia’s scientific community, engaging with policy makers and those who implement programs, by brokering knowledge between science and strategy. 

“His leadership and care is ensuring that the upcoming generations of Indonesian scientists have the opportunities, the platform, and the capabilities to drive Indonesia’s economic, social, and environmental future.”

The university makes a note of Professor Jompa’s instinct to bring people together, an instinct that manifests itself in his passion for Australian-Indonesian relations.

I have spoken a lot over the past couple of years about the importance of bringing people together, and of rejecting powers that seek to divide people.

That is the spirit that can drive all of us and help us to shape a better future.

That desire to come together and find common ground, lighting the path ahead of us both with the knowledge we already have, and the burning curiosity to add to it.

Building our nations and making them stronger by strengthening our education systems.

And making the most of our education institutions’ capacity to foster people-to-people links—those very personal connections that lie at the heart of every international relationship.

We see it in the 18,000 Indonesian students who choose to study in Australia each year—a choice I believe ultimately contributes to both of our nations.

We will enhance it by supporting the vital work carried out the Australian Consortium for “In-Country” Indonesia studies, which will provide the support to make it possible for more Australians to study in Indonesia.

Every one of these steps can bring us closer together in the most positive and lasting way. 

In a time when we’ve become used to short-term political thinking to deal with an ever-shrinking news cycle, this is long-term vision.

And in that spirit, yesterday I announced 10 new scholarships for Indonesians to undertake Masters or PhD studies in Australia in areas that promote Indonesia’s G20 priorities.

Specifically, these students will research global health architecture, sustainable energy, and digital transformation—Indonesia’s G20 priorities. 

The research they will undertake will contribute to Indonesia’s economy and educational sector, and continue to create bonds between our nations.

Conclusion

I believe that unless we shape the future, the future will shape us.

I know we can face the future with confidence—every one of its challenges, every one of its opportunities. 

Everything we need to turn us into shapers of the future is right here, as long as we are ready and willing to learn.

Like the wind that filled the sails of those Makassan boats all those years ago, education can fill us and drive us forward towards the bright horizon and the bigger world of opportunities that’s waiting for us.

Let’s embark on the journey together.