Former federal government minister the Honourable Philip Ruddock has been appointed chair of the Advisory Board of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Mr Ruddock was Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (March 1996-October 2003) Attorney-General (October 2003-December 2007) Chief Government Whip in the House of Representatives (September 2013-February 2015) and Special Envoy to the Prime Minister for Citizenship and Community Engagement (May 2015-February 2016). He was appointed Australia’s first Special Envoy for Human Rights in February 2016.
When he decided to not recontest the 2016 federal election he was the Father of the Parliament and Father of the House of Representatives, having served 43 years in federal parliament.
Mr Ruddock has a wealth of China expertise and long-standing links with the country. Most recently he chaired the Australia China Parliamentary Friendship Group (2013-2016). As Minister for Immigration he had been responsible for oversighting the rebuilding of Australia’s linkages with China after 1996. Under his leadership, Australian arrangements for Chinese skilled migration visas, student visas, tourism visas and business visas were re-established and expanded. He also instigated cooperation between the Australian and Chinese governments against people smuggling and illegal immigration.
As Attorney-General he established a legal professional development program to strengthen ties between the Australian and Chinese legal professions and to open up access to the Chinese market for Australian lawyers.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UTS, Professor Glenn Wightwick said the university was pleased that ACRI, which it had established in 2014 with former Foreign Minister Bob Carr as Director and Economics Professor from the University of Queensland James Laurenceson as Deputy, had been able to use research to genuinely contribute to the national discussion in relation to one of Australia’s most important international relationships – China.
ACRI has produced a substantial research output, presented a rich program of public events, developed relationships with think tanks and universities in Australia, China, New Zealand and Singapore, generated a flow of opinion pieces and fact sheets for its members and, with Chinese partners, conducted journalist study tours of China.
“It is the only think tank in Australia devoted to the study and illumination of the Australia-China relationship which is crucial to Australia’s economic future,” said Professor Wightwick.
ACRI Director Professor Carr said it would be a pleasure to work with Mr Ruddock who he has known since they were active in their respective parties’ youth organisations in the 1970s.
ACRI was established with a philanthropic donation from Founder and Chairman of the Yuhu Group, Mr Xiangmo Huang. UTS now fully funds ACRI, as it does other university research centres. After ACRI's initial foundation period, a university management committee headed by UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) Professor William Purcell was established to oversee its operations, consistent with other research centres at the university.
For more on ACRI's research, news and events visit: australiachinarelations.org and @acri_uts on Twitter.