To mark the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, I am pleased to announce that the Government has decided to fund the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) to establish an office in Washington DC.
ASPI has recently marked its 20th Anniversary, having been founded by the Howard Government in 2001. Over this time ASPI has developed a highly successful business model, providing independent contestability in policy advice on defence and strategic policy issues, deepening public understanding of these issues and helping to shape the next generation of strategic policy thinkers.
ASPI is well respected in Washington for the calibre of its research, particularly on Indo-Pacific security matters, cyber security and on the US-Australia alliance.
The key aim of the ASPI Washington DC Office will be to provide a distinctive Australian voice in the US strategic policy debate; lift the profile of strategic regions and issues of vital interest to Australia; and to ensure that where vital policy debates are taking place Australian perspectives can inform these discussions.
I hope that ASPI Washington will become the go-to place in Washington for think tank perspectives on Australian defence and security policy ASPI Washington will also act as a conduit for bipartisan Australian political engagement in the Washington think tank world.
To support the foundation of the office the Government has provided a grant to ASPI of $5 million, which is to fund the initial two years of operations.
Australia has excellent government and people-to-people relations with the United States. No two countries are closer. Our more than one hundred years of defence cooperation is testament to our shared values, support for democracy and the rule of law and a closely aligned strategic outlook.
ASPI can further strengthen our relationship by becoming a more active participant in the lively Washington DC think tank debate about defence and national security.
It remains an essential part of the ASPI business model that the organisation is independent in its research, judgements and public engagement.
I congratulate ASPI in its achievements to date and look forward to working with the Institute into the future.