Explore more impactful tie-ups with Australia

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison shakes hands with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore, on June 7, 2019.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison shakes hands with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana in Singapore, on June 7, 2019.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

It is exciting to read that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Singapore and Australia is yielding fruit, and will deepen into areas such as cyber security and the digital economy (Singapore and Australia to explore new areas of collaboration, June 8).

I have fond memories of living and working in Melbourne, Australia, for 51/2 years, during which there were already people and cultural exchanges.

There was also mutual recognition of professional and educational qualifications, and the Singapore Armed Forces had already been allowed to use Australian military training facilities, such as Shoalwater Bay in Queensland for the gruelling Exercise Wallaby.

The most important attributes of the CSP are, arguably, the intangibles, such as a shared mindset.

Beyond the already robust trade, investment flow and defence ties between Singapore and Australia, we could perhaps explore deeper and more impactful collaboration in other areas, too.

In sports, we could explore importing the Australian Football League into cosmopolitan Singapore, where we already have opportunities to try out different kinds of sports from all over the world.

The work and holiday visa scheme could be calibrated to enhance opportunities for our youth to live and work in Australia and vice versa.

This would imbue in our youth cultural sensitivity, robust habits of the mind and desirable personal traits.

We could also further exchange policy notes on innovation and ideation.

Australia's equity crowdfunding framework and "ideas boom" initiative, and Singapore's regulatory sandbox regime to encourage fintech experimentation are but a few good examples.

As Commonwealth cousins, there is much that we can learn from each other.

These are exciting times indeed to be a Singaporean in Australia, and vice versa.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2019, with the headline 'Explore more impactful tie-ups with Australia'. Print Edition | Subscribe