• Chairman’s Report February 2013

    Published 12th February

    Being 225 years since the founding of Australia by Admiral Phillip at Sydney Cove, 2013 has started as a very  important year for the Britain-Australia Society. The importance of the continuing relationship between our countries was highlighted in a recent speech made by the British Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon William Hague, in Australia. The Foreign Secretary has made three such visits, illustrating the growing importance of the bonds between us (no Foreign Secretary visit had been made in the previous 20 years).
    In his speech the Foreign Secretary pointed to the very strong bonds of history, family and values – but he stressed that the relationship is not merely historic or sentimental but active, practical, and in the interest of both countries. Foreign policy co-operation is at an unprecedented level, from international diplomatic representation to Defence treaties.
    (Link to the speech)

    Britain and Australia share the quality that they look to their near neighbours yet have a much wider interest in
    the world at large. In this context the bilateral alliance is durable and ever-more relevant today, and likely to get stronger still.

    The new High Commissioner for Australia, Mike Rann, was born in Britain and spent his early years in New Zealand. Moving to Adelaide in his early 20’s, Mr Rann became the longest serving Labor Leader in South Australia including almost a decade as Premier and 26 years as an M.P.  He is a Professor of public policy at several universities and headed one of the Federal government’s climate change agencies. He brings a unique perspective to the relationship. He recently said “Over the years the United Kingdom has been our greatest source of migration. We have been the greatest of allies in war and in times of peace. We work closely together through the Commonwealth, the UN, G20 and other international organisations. Our legal, political, defence and cultural ties are immense”.
    (article link)

    In terms of the focus of the Society for 2013 and beyond, the Board decided at our meeting in January to concentrate our aims on providing an environment and opportunity for developing talented youth in the areas of government, industry, arts, research and social conscience. We plan to launch a Youth Leadership Forum to further these aims. We will continue to use our strengths and contacts to open the doors to unusual and interesting events that all of our membership can enjoy.

    You will see in this newsletter a number of exciting events. More are in the pipeline and will be firmed up as we go into the year. In this year the Board has listened to our membership and has worked hard to create balance, including more events in special venues and striving to keep the cost at a level that makes events available to the widest possible cross-section of the membership.We have also tried to make the timing more suited to members who have to travel in to London.

    A major project for the Society in this year and next is the establishment of memorials to Arthur Phillip in Westminster Abbey and Bath, 2014 being the bicentennial of the Admiral’s death. The project in Bath was  initiated by the West Country branch to create a lasting and high-profile memorial to Admiral Arthur Phillip in the land of his birth. This will take the form of a specially-commissioned armillary sphere in the centre of Bath incorporating stories of Phillip’s life.

    In Westminster Abbey a significant memorial stone will be laid in a prime location in the nave, recognising his contribution to British naval history and to the settlement of Australia.
    Planning for these projects is well underway and has great support from the community, including the Dean of Westminster Abbey and the Bath Council.

    The Britain Australia Education Trust under the Chairmanship of Sir Christopher Benson has taken on the task of managing this project and raising the funding required to complete the memorials and to fund an associated on going educational bursary.

    As the first Australian to be appointed Chairman of the Society I am very pleased to be working with my fellow Directors, members and our corporate sponsors to develop the Society and its aims.
    Peter Benson OAM

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    • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
    • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
    • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
    • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
    • Britain-Australia Society Sponsors
    The Britain-Australia Society Sponsors

    The organisations shown have all committed to supporting this year’s events. Many thanks to them.

    Commonwealth Bank Australia, CPA AustraliaEtihadCA ANZ,
    Godiva ChocolatierTait Memorial Trust and Vestey Foods Group.