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Current issues

 

Current issues

The bilateral relations have been historically strong also in merit to the shared common values of the Western democracies and the presence of a well-integrated and valued Italian community in Australia, which, today, amounts to more than 900,000 people.

The exchange of visits in recent years shows a clear imbalance in favour of the Italians.

Australia’s visits include that of the Foreign Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, in 2010 and in both May and December 2011. In June 2011, on the nearing of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Unification of Italy, the Governor-General, Ms Bryce, met in Rome, the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.

 

Italy’s last visit to Australia from a Foreign Minister was that of Dini, in 2001. In the same year Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mantica, also visited. In June 2012 there was a visit of a parliamentary delegation, composed of the Hon. Barbieri (PDL), Hon. Fedi (PD) and the Hon. d'Amico (League).The last visit from Italy was in November 2012, when the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. de Mistura, visited as the Head of the ANCE-Confindustria mission for the sectors of infrastructure and energy.

The Presidency of the G20 in 2014 is a great opportunity for the members of the Italian government to visit Australia. As a Summit of the Leaders is foreseen, as well as various meetings for the Ministers of Finance, Trade and Labor, so is the planned participation of President Enrico Letta (in Brisbane in the month of November).

It should be stressed that the further strengthening of bilateral political relations can be facilitated by the important presence of the ever widening Italian community, who has well integrated and acquired a strong influence in the political, economic and cultural sectors in Australia. In particular, the members of parliament, both at federal and state levels, whom are proud of their Italian origin and happy to work for the development of relations with Ital, are an important political asset, to profit from for the purpose of maintaining a special relationship at the bilateral level .

It should be pointed out that unlike the first generation, which consists largely of elderly people, the succeeding generations while remaining linked to their Italian roots, are happily integrated into the local communities.

A relatively recent event that must be followed carefully is the large number (18,000 according to the latest data) of young people which have arrived in Australia with the working holiday visa.


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