NA Chairman's visit to Australia at this time is really significant: Australian official

WVR - According to Australian Chargé d’Affaires Mark Tattersall, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue's visit to Australia will also provide an opportunity for both sides to look forward to new areas of cooperation.
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue's visit to Australia at this time is really significant
Australian Chargé d’Affaires Mark Tattersall highly appreciated the significance of the National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue's visit to Australia. (Photo: Viet Nguyen)

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and the Vietnamese NA's delegation arrived in Canberra on November 29 evening (local time), starting an official visit to Australia from November 30 - December 3 at the invitation of Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives Milton Dick, and President of the Australian Senate Sue Lines.

On this occasion, Australian Chargé d’Affaires Mark Tattersall gave an interview to WVR.

Could you touch on the significance of the National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s upcoming visit to Australia?

It is really significant that a figure of the statute of NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue is visiting Australia at this time.

We are approaching the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2023 and it is great to see a delegation of this size and significance going to Australia ahead of those celebrations. This will also provide an opportunity for both sides to look back on what we have achieved over the past 50 years and look forward to new areas of cooperation.

It is significant that NA Chairman Hue is visiting the country as a guest of the Australian Parliament, who has been invited by his counterparts, the President of our Senate Sue Lines and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Milton Dick. Significantly, he's the first foreign dignitary to be invited by our parliamentarian since the election of the new Australian Government 6 months ago.

In addition to that, he will be meeting with a range of senior leaders in Australia, including his counterparts as head of the parliament, but also the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the trade minister, the foreign minister, the education minister, the opposition leader of the governor-general, as well as attending in education-related program in Melbourne.

So this is definitely a highly significant visit that will ensure that we have a really good basis for our bilateral relations to strengthen through 2023 and beyond.

So you have talked a lot about the parliamentary cooperation and the Parliamentary invitation from the Australian National Assembly. So what achievements have been made in parliamentary cooperation between the two countries in recent years?

So we have a long history of cooperation between the parliaments in Vietnam and Australia. NA Chairman Hue will be reviewing with his counterpart on progress under the memorandum of understanding on parliamentary cooperation signed in 2013, as well as thinking new initiatives that we might take forward in future years.

I'm pleased that he'll be able to see really substantial progress in cooperation over recent years. We have been working with the National Assembly, including the Economic Committee on many issues, from reforms to money laundering laws in Vietnam. We are working with the external Relations Committee to train them up in areas to do with energy and sustainable development.

In addition, through the establishment of the Vietnam-Australia Center at Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, we are going to look at further training and capacity building for the National Assembly, including in the critical area of the clean energy transition over future years.

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue's visit to Australia at this time is really significant
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (second, R) is greeted by Australian officials. (Photo: VNA)

What about the people-to-people diplomacy, which has played an important, enduring role in Vietnam-Australia relations? Could you give some example on such cooperation?

Yeah, you are absolutely right. I mean, the people-to-people link between Australia and Vietnam is profoundly important. Of course, there is a very substantial Vietnamese’s diaspora community in Australia, one of the most successful of our migrant communities.

Vietnamese is the fourth most spoken language in Australia if you can believe it. Vietnam, as a result, feels familiar to many Australians and it does contribute to the great friendship between our countries.

Also, there is the extraordinary story of the education relationship between Australia and Vietnam. Australia gave its first development scholarship to a Vietnamese student in 1974, just a few months after we first recognized each other as nations.

We now have an alumni network of over 80,000 Vietnamese who have studied in Australian universities and returned to Vietnam. We have another 24,000 students currently studying in Australia and enjoying a world-class education and contributing to the vibrancy of our country.

Again, I think it is significant that NA Chairman Hue himself is a former alumnus of an Australian university, having studied at Swinburne in the early 2000s. Therefore, those people-to-people linkages are a critical part of the relationship between Australia and Vietnam.

In your opinion, the visit of the President of the National Assembly will focus on which areas of cooperation?

Well, I think there will be a few things that NA Chairman Hue focuses on during his visit for further cooperation.

One area is education. I mentioned the strength of the linkages that have been forged through education to substantial numbers of Vietnamese, alumni of Australian universities.

In addition to that, we have huge interests from Australian universities to invest in Vietnam itself. As you may know, the first ever foreign University in Vietnam was RMIT. Other Australian institutions and universities are looking at ways they can work and invest in Vietnam. That is an exciting area for cooperation.

NA Chairman Hue will also be traveling with a large business delegation and we will look at ways in which he can expand the trade and investment relationship between our countries. We are lucky that we have complementary economies. We do not compete, in many areas. We do things that complement one another.

In 2021, we finalized an enhanced economic engagement strategy that is designed to double two-way trade and make us top 10 trading partners. We have made really substantial progress in that area with two-way trade increasing by over 22% just last year and in agriculture, increasing by over 90%. Therefore, I think we will see further growth in that area going forward.

The final point that I would like to make is cooperation on climate change and energy transition. Both Vietnam and Australia have made substantial commitments to net zero emissions at COP 26 in Glasgow. Both countries face quite similar challenges in meeting those commitments.

Australia is committed to working alongside Vietnam to share its experience, technical capacity to assist Vietnam with energy transition and dealing with the impacts of climate change.

Thank you!

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