In the Zone 2015


In 2015 In the Zone convened two high-profile events in Perth and Singapore. The University hosted the Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, and the Hon Julie Bishop MP, the Australian Foreign Minister, to headline the Perth Leadership Forum on 1 May.

The Perth conference brought together a group of outstanding speakers and thinkers. The University, in conjunction with In the Zone’s principal partner the Perth USAsia Centre, launched the second edition of its Smart Power publication; and the next instalment of the In the Zone Special Report, produced with the Australian newspaper, was released.

A panel of leading thinkers and commentators, including Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of the Australian, Professor the Hon Stephen Smith, Director of the Perth USAsia Centre, Krishna Sen, Professor of Indonesian Studies and Dean of Arts at UWA, and Gordon Flake, CEO of the Perth USAsia Centre, discussed the changing nature of social, political and economic relationships in Indonesia and the rest of the zone.


View the 2015 Event Summary

The Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia, said in his welcoming address that the state’s ongoing economic and social relationships with key Asian countries would continue to strengthen, and Western Australia would ‘bounce back just as quickly as it has done every other time’ from current issues such as iron-ore pricing and supply.

We are exquisitely placed and geography will be our destiny
– The Hon Julie Bishop MP

The Hon Julie Bishop MP, in her keynote address, said that dramatic demographic changes in the Indo-Pacific zone over the next three decades will have a significant transformative effect on the region. She said that to capitalise on change, Australia must be open to ideas, trade and investment and technological advances and that, after a challenging week for Australia, it must continue to support and promote peace, prosperity and freedom in the region and around the world.


View the 2015 Special Report in the Australian

His Excellency Professor Doctor Yudhoyono was unable to attend the day’s forum, however the former president of Indonesia provided a cordial message that was presented at the event. Dr Michael Chaney AO, Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, read the statement on behalf of HE Professor Dr Yudhoyono.

Dr Chaney, Andrew Harding, Chief Executive Iron Ore, Rio Tinto, and Deidre Willmott, CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA joined moderator Winthrop Professor Raymond da Silva Rosa for the final session of the forum. They discussed Knowledge Society’s State of Mind project, disruptive innovation, declining levels of engagement by young people in STEM pursuits (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the increasing need to understand and utilise big data.

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Headline speakers


Premier of Western Australia

The Hon Colin Barnett MLA became Western Australia’s twenty-ninth Premier in 2008. Since 2013, he has also been Minister for Science, in recognition of the central role that scientific innovation will take in the future of the state’s development. Mr Barnett holds an Honours and Masters Degree in Economics from The University of Western Australia.


Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon Julie Bishop MP is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia’s Federal Coalition Government. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998.


Chancellor of the University of Western Australia

Dr Michael Chaney AO is Chairman of the National Australia Bank Limited, Woodside Petroleum Limited and Gresham Partners Holdings Limited. He is a member of the JPMorgan International Council and a Director of the Centre for Independent Studies. He was Managing Director of Wesfarmers until 2005.


Senior Commentator, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Aiko Doden is NHK World’s Senior Commentator for the weekly series Asian Voices, a program that investigates key international issues with Asia’s top academics, economists and politicians. She is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, UK; the Japan Association of International Relations and a Fellow at Salzburg Global Seminar. Aiko Doden holds a MA in International Relations, Columbia University.


Founder and CEO, Knowledge Society

Elena Douglas was founding CEO of, Australia’s global community headquartered in New York. She created the Advance 100 Global Australians Summit. She launched the Religion and Globalisation Initiative with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. She is a Research Fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre.


Chief Executive Officer, Perth USAsia Centre

L. Gordon Flake serves on the Board of USCAP. He is co-Vice Chair of the Board of the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and on the Advisory Council of the Korea Economic Institute of America. He was Associate Director of the Program on Conflict Resolution at the Atlantic Council of the USA. He completed his MA at the David M. Kennedy Center for International and Area Studies.


Chief Executive, Iron Ore, Rio Tinto

Andrew Harding has been Chief Executive, Iron Ore at Rio Tinto since February 2013. Prior to this, Harding was Chief Executive, Copper, and was responsible for a range of mines and projects including the development of the world-class Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia.


Editor-at-Large, the Australian

Paul Kelly is Editor-at-Large of the Australian newspaper. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Australian (1991–1996). Kelly is the author of six successful books, including The Dismissal (1982), The End of Certainty (1992) and Triumph and Demise (2014).


Columnist, the Australian

Bernard Salt is a Partner with KPMG and a columnist with the Australian and Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspapers. He is the author of three best-selling books, The Big Shift (2001), The Big Picture (2006) and Man Drought (2008). He is a regular contributor to ABC and commercial radio programs.


CEO, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia

Deidre Willmott is Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia. Prior to this, she was Executive Chairman of Cannings Purple Strategic and Communications Director of External Relations for the Fortescue Metals Group.

Venture Asia

In the Zone’s ambition is to engage Asian countries directly, and to encourage its delegates to collaborate proactively with the Zone’s decision-makers and business leaders – to Venture Asia.

Each year, the University will lead a delegation to an Asian city for its Venture Asia initiative. As a global trading centre for capital, commodities and technology, Singapore was the natural launchpad for Venture Asia. In 2016, In the Zone will head to Jakarta for the next leg of its Asian tour.

Professor Paul Johnson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, said at the conclusion of the 2015 Perth forum that the decision to hold In the Zone in Indonesia’s capital next year reflected a need to continue to strengthen Australia’s relationships with Indo-Pacific countries in general, and Indonesia in particular. In the Zone will continue to be hosted in Perth as well.

Venture Asia: Singapore

On 13 April, In the Zone convened a group of senior business and government leaders at the Google Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore to discuss Perth and Singapore’s strategic and cultural bond and how best to capitalise on our cities’ close proximity, good business relationship, entwined histories and promising futures.

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183 In The Zone 2015

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"I am confident that in the coming decades the city of Perth will grow in importance as a centre of business, educational and technological excellence in the region. This State will also continue to develop as the epicentre of a global resource and mineral supply economy delivering the growth that has seen an economic power shift to the Asian and Indian Ocean regions." Michael Chaney
Chancellor, The University of Western Australia