20 June 2017 Peter Wilson   | News | Year 10  
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On the 30th of May, United States Senator John McCain gave a lecture at the State Library. Two boys from Year 10, Leon Burfield and William Ma, went along with Mr Wilson to listen to Senator McCain’s lecture. The security at the state library was tight with many prominent politician figures such as former Prime Ministers John Howard and Bob Hawke attending the lecture.

Senator McCain was introduced by the NSW Premier, the Honourable Gladys Berejiklian where she praised the trade and investment relationship between the United States and Australia. Senator McCain gave a half-hour lecture with topics spanning from the increase in Chinese influence in the region and Australia’s alliance with the United States. The main points on his speech are to guarantee the Australian people that America will not embrace isolationism and that it will continue the security relationship between the two states. In his speech he touched upon the growing threat of the North Korean Missile program. China’s growing influence in the Asia Pacific region is keynote in his lecture where he criticized China for using its influence in trade and investment “as a tool to coerce its neighbours.”

After his lecture, senator McCain had a conversation with the James Brown from The United States Studies Centre where Senator McCain answered his questions which ranged from Australia’s link to the United States to the United States increasing defence budget and its role in global security. After the exchange between the two the audience was allowed to ask Senator McCain questions, there was only enough time for around five questions. I believe that the TTP was brought up in these questions and Senator McCain showed his opposition to President Trump’s decision to leave the treaty and hopes that one day in the future America will re-join the TTP. Climate change was also brought up as President Trump is renowned to be a climate change sceptic, Senator McCain responded by saying that he believes in man-made climate change. Unfortunately our group of 52 students were not able to ask a question to Senator McCain but we were given a mention from Mr Brown which was pretty cool.

After the questions the event was wrapped up with a thank-you speech from a University student where Senator McCain was given the Aussie gift of a slouched hat and thus concluding the event.

For me the highlight of the event was John McCain’s call for similarly-minded nations in the Asia Pacific region to band together against the growing influence of China, this is relevant to those living in Australia as we are part of the Asia Pacific region, especially with the rising tensions in the region as China builds manmade Islands in the South China Sea. During his talk about this topic he also addressed whether Australia should use its rights of passage in international waters to conduct military patrols in the region with American Warships.

Overall it was inspiring to listen to firsthand, a war hero, and a prominent figure in American politics’ views on issues taking place in the world today and to see in the flesh one of the men and women who shape the world that we are living in.

The entire transcript of the McCain Lecture can be found here.