Jule Bishop Thailan speech

The 50th anniversary of the formation of the Association of South East Asian Nations is upon us. It’s an organisation that started with five countries but now has 10 and is the world’s No. 4 trading block, which Australia, during one of its many wide-eyed-OMG-what-a-great-business-opportunity-shit-all-these people-are-right-on-our-doorstep-Asia-is-the-future Groundhog Day moments (every government since Gough Whitlam’s has had them) once, very sensibly, wanted to join. In the wash-up, the south-east Asians -- there are new about 700 million of them, give or take -- decided to say "no whiteys allowed".

In the interim, the ASEAN block has become, in toto, Australia’s No. 2 two-way trade partner after China -- ahead of the US, Japan and South Korea. Asia was and remains Australia’s future -- notwithstanding the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, an awful waste of taxpayer funds, pandering to the Anglo-Aussie rump.