Global perspectives

Bill Armstrong, Executive Director of the Overseas Service Bureau, spoke on the topic ‘Community Development – Global Issues’. This was one of a number of issues forums designed to enable delegates to network and discuss key issues. He said that international links help us to broaden our understanding of community development and how we can work together to build community to community links.

“It has taken us 200 years to discover that we are in Asia not North America or Europe,” Bill Armstrong said. “It has also taken us this long to realise there were people in this country long before we came here. We have to learn what these two important factors mean. The Pauline Hanson phenomenon indicates that some still do not want to believe where we are.”

However, he warned that the economic rationalist view of not seeing people in Asia but simply markets is fraught with danger.

“We will be chewed up and spat out quickly if this is all we can see,” he said. “If we try to exploit for our own economic gains we will lose. It is vital that the Australian community is fully aware of what it means to live in the Asia Pacific region and understand our neighbours.”