3 June 2023
RICHARD MARLES, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you Eng, Tok Mat, Andrew and Ben. It’s great to be here. We’ve had a really lovely breakfast. And I think more characterised the breakfast was the ease of the relationships between all of us, the genuine friendship, which really is a reflection of the friendship between our five countries. And while our five countries have moved on from the reasons why the FDPA was established in 1971, the length of time that the FDPA has been around speaks to a history that we all have of working closely together and being friends. And actually in the world today, that is a very valuable history. We are five countries who are deeply committed to a rules-based order and promoting peace within our region. And so the value of working together as a group of five now seems as important as it has at any point since 1971.
I think there was a real desire coming out at the meeting this morning to look at ways in which we can engage in in greater cooperation with our exercises. The exercises that we do with our defence forces are incredibly valuable for each of our defence forces in terms of how we learn to work with each other, to operate with each other. And we worked out ways in which we can explore doing that more. And I think from point of view at the ministerial level, there was also a desire, well, firstly, a real appreciation for being able to meet here. And to try and get into the habit of doing this on an annual basis. But in fact to think about ways in which we can do that more. Because we really do feel that there is an opportunity for us to work more closely as we go forward.
So from an Australian point of view, we deeply value the FPDA as we do the relationships that we have with each of the countries of the FPDA. And this is a grouping that we will be investing more in in the future.