Australian Office

Interview with Representative Jenny Bloomfield

28 January 2022 

Full transcript


(In Taiwanese)

Hello everyone. I am very happy to be here in Taiwan.

Australia and Taiwan share a close and important relationship, and we are continuing to strengthen our cooperation.

I thank you all for your contribution and support.


1. COVID remains a challenge around the world, what is the COVID situation now in Australia? 

COVID continues to devastate the world.  In Australia, with over 95 per cent of the population aged 16 and over fully vaccinated and over 5 million boosters administered, we have moved to a new phase of living with the virus. Omicron case numbers continue to increase in Australia and globally, with greater infectivity, but apparently less severity (in terms of hospitalisations, ICU and ventilated patients).  Sadly, over 2,500 people have now died in Australia since the start of the pandemic. 


2. How have Taiwan and Australia cooperated through the pandemic? 

We have helped each other, including through the provision of protective materials and by sharing expertise. Taiwan’s management of the pandemic remains world-leading. During Taiwan’s outbreak last year, we were honoured to be able to personally thank personnel working tirelessly on the front line to keep us safe. We are grateful to the Taiwanese government and people who have worked so hard enabling normal life to continue. At the same time, we know that COVID is a long-term challenge.  We need to remain vigilant, we need to work together to be able to overcome it.


3. This year is Australia-Taiwan Friendship Year, what are some current initiatives in the relationship? 

We are proud to be celebrating the Australian Office’s 40th anniversary and the Australia-Taiwan Friendship Year. Australia and Taiwan share a long-standing, close and mutually beneficial trade, economic and people-to-people relationship, and COVID has only strengthened our partnership.  We are not only Taiwan’s largest energy and resources provider, but we are also a close partner of Taiwan in the energy transition, in areas such as green hydrogen, offshore wind and other renewables, working to address the challenge of climate change while ensuring consistent and reliable energy supply.  Australia is also a major food and agricultural supplier, and I thank Taiwanese for supporting Australia’s premium products. 

In areas such as energy and resources, agriculture, education, health and biotech, financial services, arts, cultural and Indigenous exchanges, our partnership is stronger than ever. Even more important are the close people-to-people links that we share, and we look forward to deepening our friendship. 


4. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of its establishment, the Australian Office has launched the ‘40 Years, 40 Stories’ campaign.  Could you tell us about this project? 

Our ‘40 Years, 40 Stories’ campaign shows off the warmth, breadth and longevity of our ties through the personal stories of individuals who are contributing to our close relationship. You can find these stories on the Australian Office website, Facebook and Twitter. 


5. Australia is a long-standing highly popular study and Working Holiday Maker destination for young Taiwanese. Can you please update us on current study and work opportunities? 

We are delighted to be able to welcome fully vaccinated international students back to Australia.  Australia’s globally renowned universities and research institutions attract students and talent from around the world. Prior to COVID, Australia was proud to be Taiwanese students’ second most popular overseas study destination, with some 18,000 enrolments annually. Over 250,000 young Taiwanese have taken part in our highly popular ‘Working Holiday Maker’ Scheme, and over 1,000 Australian students have studied in Taiwan under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan, gaining skills and building life-long friendships and understanding. We look forward to further strengthening these links. 


6. What opportunities are there for cooperation to help Taiwan achieve its bilingual policy goals? 

Australia and Taiwan are close education partners, including in English language education and Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Australia is a natural partner to help Taiwan achieve its bilingual policy goals. Australia’s world-leading English education providers have a long record of successful English language teaching, catering to people from a wide variety of backgrounds.  We are taking forward significant opportunities to deepen cooperation, including through online English language teaching, bilingual teacher training, dual certificate and dual degree programs, student and staff exchanges, and other programs. We look forward to building further on this cooperation. 


7. You have been in Taiwan over a year now, and have met with government representatives and private and community organisations. What is your view of Taiwan so far, and what has made a particular impression?  

Taiwan’s world-leading COVID management has been particularly admirable. I have been impressed by the consistent efforts of the Taiwanese authorities  and people – wearing masks, social distancing, and so forth.  COVID has also shown clearly Taiwan’s key role in global supply chains – Taiwan’s economic performance, particularly that of its semi-conductor sector, has been impressive. 

I have also been impressed by Taiwan’s cultural and linguistic diversity, and rich Indigenous heritage. I have been delighted to have the opportunity to learn some basic Taiwanese, Hakka, and Indigenous languages, and I hope to have an opportunity for further study in the future. 

Finally, Australia and Taiwan share open, diverse societies and a commitment to human rights, freedom of expression, gender equality and strong and transparent government. Taiwan’s achievements in these areas are to be commended. 


8. Australia and Taiwan share rich and diverse Indigenous cultures, could you tell us about cooperation in this area? 

Like Taiwan, Australia’s Indigenous cultures are a vital part of our national identity, and I am pleased to be strengthening our links.  I was honoured recently to welcome eight Indigenous Taiwanese artists and two curators participating in the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art’s “Asia Pacific Triennial” – the largest number of Indigenous Taiwanese artists exhibiting abroad.  We are pleased to be strengthening cooperation to promote Indigenous economic opportunity, trade and investment links, and arts and cultural exchanges. 


9. What are your new year’s resolutions for the relationship? 

In celebrating the Australia-Taiwan Friendship Year, we will work to deepen cooperation and strengthen links in a wide-range of areas of shared interest. We will continue to work together to overcome the challenges and uncertainty of COVID, build on our people-to-people links and promote greater understanding and familiarity with each other.  I also hope to visit more places in Taiwan, to experience local cultures and enjoy Taiwan’s delicious food and amazing landscapes. 


Wishing you all a happy new year of the Tiger!