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July 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members and Friends,

We have been busy! On 3 July, the day after Australia won the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, we held a very special event, “The Politics of Cricket”, with the Hon. John Howard and the Rt. Hon. Sir John Major, moderated by BBC sports commentator Eleanor Oldroyd and generously sponsored and hosted by Coutts and their CEO and B-AS Member Peter Flavel. The title of this event was intended as just a play on words – two great politicians, both self-confessed cricket tragics, talking about cricket in the context of the Australia/UK relationship. But our timing was perfect with Prime Ministers Sunak and Albanese weighing into the controversial Bairstow stumping making the title very apt indeed!

Australia now heads into the 4th Test 2-1 up and flying on the wings of the brilliant Australian Women’s cricket team having retained the Ashes with a thrilling last ball victory. England Captain Heather Knight declared (pun intended) that this Ashes series has been the “best series ever in women’s cricket history”. The men’s series is heading that way too!

Following on from our magnificent "Politics of Cricket" event, we have two special books written by our illustrious panelists to give away to one lucky B-AS Member this month - "More Than A Game" and "From the Pavilion". Please scroll down for entry details.

During this Ashes series I was privileged to attend receptions at Australia House for both the men’s and women’s teams, hosted by the Australian High Commissioner, HE the Hon. Stephen Smith and Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Elisabeth Bowes.

Sport, and particularly cricket, has always been a very strong part of the British-Australia relationship - the deep connection and friendship between our two nations is always evident both on and off the pitch - despite some healthy rivalry! Please scroll down for some photos from these events. And don’t forget that the Wallabies are soon to arrive on this side of the globe for the Rugby World Cup kicking off in France in September.

The sun once again shone on our fabulous Summer Party on 21 June, held in the beautiful gardens of the Royal Over-Seas League. We had a fabulous attendance and enjoyed having a number of students from the Australian National University join us before embarking on their Australian War Graves study tour in Europe. Photos from the evening can be viewed here. Thank you to the Office of the Agent General for NSW for the delicious wines served during the evening.

I do know that a number of you missed out on tickets for "The Politics of Cricket" and/or the Summer Party and I always regret having to turn people away. However we do have some tremendous events coming up after the summer and we will do our best to accommodate everyone that wants to come along.

On Wednesday 13 September, in conjunction with the office of the NSW Agent General and the Institution of Engineers Australia (UK), we are hosting a major event in the beautiful Great Hall of Institution of Civil Engineers in London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the iconic symbols of Australia, the Sydney Opera House. Readers will be aware that the Sydney Opera House is one of the great feats of modern engineering and we are thrilled that Arup, the engineering firm responsible for this brilliant achievement, is sponsoring the event. You can apply for tickets here.

On Wednesday 27 September we have our hugely popular annual President's Reception in the Exhibition Hall of Australia House. Our President, Lord Hague of Richmond, will be in conversation with Australian High Commissioner HE the Hon. Stephen Smith on “Contemporary Foreign Affairs” - followed by a wonderful reception. High Commissioner Smith and Lord Hague were Foreign Ministers at the same time in 2010. Immediately before being appointed Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency was the author of the Strategic Review of Australia’s Defence Force. Expect a very informative and entertaining discussion. Watch this space for tickets.

And on 7 December, we will again hold our hugely popular Christmas Carols at St Mary-le-Bow church. It will be another "sell out" event so keep an eye on your inbox for more details.

As always, B-AS Members have preferential rates for our events and we always have many more places for our Members. I encourage you always to book as soon as our booking links go live to avoid disappointment. We will always give plenty of notice! And to become a Member of the B-AS and support the work we do please click here.

With the ratification of the Australia/UK Free Trade Agreement, there is a lot going on to ensure that businesses and individuals alike understand and take advantage of all that it represents. In that context, the High Commissioner hosted a reception at Australia House on 8 June to celebrate the FTA and chaired a panel discussion on the opportunities it presents. The Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Elisabeth Bowes, chief negotiator for Australia of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement and her counterpart, Ms Vivien Life, spoke of the negotiations. Then on 5 July, SA Agent General the Hon. David Ridgway hosted a South Australia Club event at Lord’s, including a panel discussion on the openings presented by the FTA for investment in South Australia. On 12 July, the Australia-UK Chamber of Commerce hosted an event to promote the FTA’s new mobility provisions assisting and encouraging individuals seeking to move more freely between the two countries. All of the State Agents-General are actively promoting FTA-led opportunities for investing in their States. There will be a lot more to come on this.

And on the subject of the States, early in June, WA Agent General John Langoulant hosted a moving service and reception at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy to celebrate Western Australia Day.

On this note, please join me in saying a fond farewell to Stephen Cartwright OAM who is stepping down from his role as NSW Agent General and returning to Australia to be with his family. Stephen very successfully re-established the NSW Agent General’s office after an absence of 30 years and he has been a great supporter of and contributor to the Britain-Australia Society in his short time here. We wish him every success in his next endeavours.

In the meantime, wherever you may be over July and August, I wish you a very happy British summer!

Best wishes,

Damian J. Walsh


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