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AIIA Queensland President's Report for 2013-14

Published 12 Aug 2014

AIIA Qld President Geoffrey Ewing has delivered his President’s Report for 2013-14.

Patronage and Fernberg Lecture

The Governor of Queensland and the Queensland Branch Patron, Hon Penelope Wensley AC hosted the fifth annual AIIA Fernberg Lecture at Government House on 8th October 2013.

The Lecture was delivered by HE Bruce Miller the Australian Ambassador to Japan on the relationship between Queensland and Japan. The Lecture was attended by some 110 invited guests.

The Fernberg Lecture for 2014 was again hosted again by HE the Governor of Queensland Hon Penelope Wensley AC. The lecture was delivered on 11 July 2014 by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr Peter Varghese AO to some 120 guests.

Our sincere thanks go to Ms Wensley for her patronage in her time as Governor from which office she retired on 29th July 2014.

Annual Lecture

The Annual Lecture was delivered in 2013 by Professor Michael Wesley on 12th November 2013 on the topic “Restless Souls: Asia’s Giants and the Challenge of Empowerment”. About 100 guests attended.

The Annual Lecture for 2014 will be delivered on 30th September 2014 by Dr Alexey Muraviev of Curtin University on the Geo political situation in Ukraine and the impact on Australia.

Speaker’s Programme

The Branch was pleased to present a total of some 22 regular seminars, lectures and discussions in 20013-2014. The topics covered Asian, African, Pacific, Middle Eastern, European and American areas of interest but included also broader topics such as terrorism, refugee policy, public diplomacy, international trade, international volunteering and women and peace and security and humanitarian issues. Our speakers included an excellent cross-section of politicians, ambassadors, academics and other experts. Our Interns organised seminars on Terrorism and the Law at Harris Terrace and South Asian Regionalism at Bond University.

Excellent relations were maintained with the University of Queensland, Bond University and Griffith University and pertinent speakers were provided by them.

Partnerships and Special Events

I attended as a panellist along with Secretary David Costello and Councillor Robert Milbourne the Eidos 9th Public Policy Congress on the Gold Coast in November 2013 where we addressed the topic of ‘Australia’s Foreign Policy and Aid Priorities in the Asia-Pacific’

Discussions have been held with the CEO of Brisbane Marketing Economic Development Board and the Executive Chairman of Asia Pacific Screen Awards on potential collaboration between AIIA and those bodies in the interests of furthering public diplomacy.

AIIA also sponsored the Australia China Youth Association Cocktail Party and investment seminar hosted by the University of Queensland.

AIIA National Presidents Forum and National Executive

I participated in the National Presidents Forum and AGM of the National Body which was held in Canberra on 7th and 8h November 2013. The Forum was followed by the AIIA 80th Anniversary Seminar on Australian Foreign Policy Priorities held at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra and attended by a number of distinguished international and local speakers.

Regular telephone meetings have been held by the Executive and National Sub-Committees on which Queensland is represented by Councillors. Comittees include, Bequests and Giving, Website, Programming and Communication.

The Australian Journal of International Affairs continues to be a great benefit of membership.

Several AIIA Policy Commentaries were published during the year and are available to members free of charge.


Financial membership stands at 235, a 21% increase over the membership of 194 at 30th June 2013.

Youth Initiatives

The Council has implemented a Youth Engagement Strategy through the able assistance of up to 16 Interns during the year and has increased the involvement of young people in AIIA. The newsletter is one example of the excellent work done by the interns


Malcolm Badgery has again audited the accounts on a pro bono basis and our gratitude is extended to him. He has also agreed to be nominated as auditor for the 2014/2015 financial year.


The contributions to the effective operation of the Branch from all members of Council has been excellent and I would like to acknowledge the work of all.

Vice-President Caitlin Byrne has led our speaker program and the number and quality of our speakers is testament to her effectiveness.

Larry Crump has stepped down from Council after a number of years of great contribution.

Secretary David Costello has done a great job in improving the management of our member database and systems the benefits of which the Branch will reap in coming years. David has also capably overseen on behalf of the Branch the new national website which is a benefit to all.

Emma Forbes, Kurt Winter, Lisa Bradford and Holly Tattersall have all filled the Treasurer’s chair during the year and each has had to move on due to advancement in either employment or study opportunities. Our thanks and congratulations go to each of them.

Andrew Phillips and Ashleigh Croucher have organised and participated in a number of events to our great advantage. Bob Greenelsh has most efficiently run our bar at seminars and worked tirelessly for Council in other ways.

Milly Arsic has done an excellent job in editing a new and revamped newsletter but her employment has meant she cannot continue on Council. Our thanks to her for a great contribution.

Rod Thomson was seconded to Council during the year and his experience as a councillor and Treasurer of AIIA WA has been invaluable. Rod has indicated he will nominate for the position of Treasurer.

Paul Ransom has continued to assist with the promotion and management our intern program to our considerable advantage where his energy and contributions are valued.

Robert Milbourne has assisted the promotion of our Branch with AIIA events hosted by his legal firm on a number of occasions.

My thanks to our National President, John McCarthy AO for his advice and support over the last year and for his leadership at the national level where the organisation is making a significant contribution to debate on international affairs in the country. My thanks also to Melissa Conley-Tyler our National Executive Director who is to be commended for her management of the national organisation.

My thanks also to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which through its Queensland Office has regularly supported our events.

Finally, my thanks to all members and guests who have attended our functions and contributed to the ongoing success of our organisation.

Geoffrey Ewing President AIIA Queensland Branch 12th August 2014