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Political Dialogue Programme Australia and New Zealand: New Challenges for Political Parties and Liberal Democracies in Changing Times

by Eva Wagner

Dr Klaus Schueler, Federal Managing Director of CDU Germany, and Frank Priess, Deputy Head, Division for European and International Cooperation at KAS Germany, successfully conclude their visit to Canberra, Sydney, Wellington and Christchurch.

The delegation kicked-off its visit in Canberra and Sydney/Australia, where the delegates were inter alia able to exchange views with Finance Minister Mathias Corman, Education Minister Dan Tehan, Assistant Minister for Home Affairs Linda Reynolds and other political decision makers from the Liberal Party. On the agenda were also round table discussions with think tanks, the ANU Centre for European Studies and the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The topics included primarily the German-Australian bilateral relationship, electoral laws in Germany and Australia (mixed proportional versus compulsive preferences) as well as election campaign strategies. Domestic and international challenges (such as rising populism, China, Russia, etc) faced equally by both countries, were also debated.

In Christchurch and Wellington/New Zealand, the delegation could inter alia exchange views with the opposition leader, Simon Bridges, and other board and party members of the National Party. Dr Schueler’s invitation to speak in front of the National Party Caucus highlighted the excellent relationship between the two parties.

The exchange of thoughts with representatives from the academia on foregin and security policy issues in the region, taking in particular into account the role of China in the region, was also vivid.

In sum: There is a political will and a de facto need for closer cooperation between like minded parties and countries in order to be able to jointly tackle global challenges.