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Dec 01, 2022 / 12:39

National Assembly Chairman’s visit to Australia: Enhance strategic partnership

Vietnam and Australia will work on an Action Plan that is expected to elevate their partnership as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Vietnam and Australia will discuss how to implement the objectives of the 2018 Strategic Partnership to enhance practical cooperation between the two legislatures.  

Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (C), President of the Australian Senate Sue Lines (L), and Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives Milton Dick sign an agreement on cooperation between the parliaments. Photos: VNA

Professor Carl Thayer commented when asked about the significance of the official visit to Australia by Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue for the relations between the two countries in general and between Vietnam’s National Assembly and the Australian Parliament in particular.

On his visit on November 30-December 3, Chairman Hue met Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Richard Marles, and Governor-General of Australia David Hurley. He will meet with Parliament’s Presiding Officers, senior Federal Government ministers, and the Opposition Leader. In Melbourne, Hue will promote the impressive education linkages between our countries and strengthen business engagement.

Chairman Hue’s visit resumes high-level person-to-person contact between the key leaders of the two legislatures, said the Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra.

His visit takes place on the eve of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations in February next year (1973-2023). Notable, the visit is likely to set the stage for a visit to Vietnam by Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly raise bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Prof. Thayer told The Hanoi Times.

Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Canberra on Nov 30.   

Legislation cooperation

Regarding the potential areas of cooperation between the Australian Parliament and Vietnam’s National Assembly in the future, Prof. Thayer said the new Action Plan should give priority to exchanges by deputies and members of parliament who serve on their respective legislative committees as the current Action Plan to implement the Strategic Partnership will end in 2023.

According to the professor, Vietnam's law-making body has eight committees and one council. The Australian Parliament has two chambers, a House and a Senate. Each chamber has its committees, and they also form joint committees. There are over 56 committees at present.

He said potential areas of cooperation include a review of the implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements already agreed upon under the Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (and such issues as agricultural goods, agricultural visa program, and customs clearance).

Other issues will be discussions of technical areas of the Indo-Pacific Economic Partnership for Prosperity, such as anti-corruption; digital transformation; energy transition and decarbonization; education and training (health care); and climate change response.

Cooperation between the two legislatures dates to May 1990. But there have been only four reciprocal exchanges between the Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly and the Speaker of the House of the Australian Parliament over the past 32 years, Prof. Thayer briefed.

Both sides have established Parliamentary friendship groups. And there have been regular exchanges between deputies and Members of Parliament and their staff.

The March 2018 Australia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership called for deepening bilateral political cooperation through frequent high-level exchanges, inter alia, between the National Assembly of Vietnam and the Parliament of Australia, the professor said.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented face-to-face exchanges until now. In June 2021, he added that the Chair of the National Assembly and the Speaker of the House spoke online about practical cooperation in Covid vaccine support and public health.