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Generally, Western democratic practices include adversarial and confrontational forms of open debate and accountability while Asian societies, still largely traditional, seek consensus and try to avoid open confrontation.

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Nonetheless, as this paper demonstrates, the linkages which Australia has already established with the countries of Asia are already broad and of considerable importance to the partners concerned.Much of this is the product of some two decades of spectacular economic growth in many Asian countries.This in turn opened possibilities for Australians to make contacts in more areas than before.Yet, by the time the United Kingdom joined the (now) European Union in 1973, Australia's ties with the Asian countries were broadening significantly.The ending of the White Australia Policy from the mid 1960s, and the end of the Vietnam War, saw an increase in the Asian component of Australia's migration program (see the companion paper, Current Issues Brief No. At the same time the beginning of the phenomenal growth of the newly industrialised countries of Asia (led by China, South Korea and Taiwan and followed more recently by most of the ASEAN countries) triggered a new set of relationships.Until the end of the 1930s, when an embryonic diplomatic service was established, Australia's relationship with Asian countries, many not independent of western tutelage at that time, were largely determined by its imperial link with the British Empire.

The period since the end of the Second World War has seen a profound shift in Australia's relations with Asian nations from those driven by defence considerations to those determined by economic development.

Introduction The Context of Australia's Involvement in Asia Michael Ong Population and Immigration Adrienne Millbank Australia's Foreign Relations with Asia Dr Frank Frost Education Dr Kim Jackson Australia's Trade with Asia Tas Luttrell Involvement of Australian States and Territories in Asia Derek Woolner Investment Links Dr Phil Hanratty Asian Tourism in Context John Kain Information Technology and Telecommunications Matthew James Defence Gary Brown Endnotes Appendix A - Immigration Appendix B - Overseas Development Assistance Appendix C - Overseas Students Appendix D - Trade Appendix E - Information Technology The debate in Australia on Asian immigration and issues of race, which has followed the Maiden Speech of the Independent Member for Oxley, has prompted some strong responses from sections of the media throughout Asia.

This has in turn produced comments, particularly from business groups, that the debate in Australia and its media coverage may damage Australia's long term interests in the region.

They reflect the different nature of political systems and styles, despite in some cases, similarity in form.

Although it should be noted that relationships between some Asian countries themselves are by no means harmonious there are differences in outlook between Asian and Australian societies.

In this context, Australian and other Western countries' comment on human rights abuses, lack of democracy and related issues in for example China, Indonesia and Burma, have been dismissed by their governments.