China Matters Founding Director and Deputy Chair, Ms Linda Jakobson, led a delegation of Australian politicians and business executives on a second China Matters PRC Study Tour from 23-26 September 2019.

A key objective of China Matters is to help Australian elected officials and business executives better understand the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the complexities of the Australia-China relationship. This study tour is one of many activities China Matters undertakes to fulfil this goal.

Parliamentarians on the second study tour, held from 23-26 September 2019, included The Hon Richard Marles MP, Mr Ted O’Brien MP and The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP. True to China Matters’ mandate of bringing together business representatives and policy makers, they were joined by Mr Kevin McCann AM (China Matters Chair), Mr Brian Pontifex (Chief Advisor, Government Relations, Rio Tinto) and Ms Fiona Simson (President, National Farmers’ Federation)

China Matters covered the travel expenses of the participating parliamentarians.

Over the course of the three days, the study tour participants met with PRC government officials, businesspeople, experts, economists, academics, and university students through informal meetings.

The meetings aimed to give the participants an understanding of the thoughts and aspirations of middle-class PRC citizens, how they view their society, the challenges ahead, and the PRC’s international role.

China Matters is well aware that individuals we engage with may have roles or affiliations within the structure of the Communist Party of China (CPC) – that is the nature of the PRC’s political system. It is important that we engage with and try to understand the views of a wide array of individuals in the PRC to get a sense of how they see their own country, the world and Australia. Without engagement at all levels we cannot hope to understand the actions and policies of the PRC, which is essential to the formulation of sound policy.

Former Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM, and PRC Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Cheng Jingye, endorsed the China Matters Study Tour project on its inception in September 2018. Australia’s Ambassador to the PRC, HE Mr Graham Fletcher, also endorses this project.