“There’s almost no such thing as a bad idea when it comes to improving the Australia-Indonesia relationship; we should be trying everything.”

The AIBC Young Professionals had a brief chat with the Hon Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Treasurer of Australia and Federal member for McMahon. Read their exchange below.

Photo: chrisbowen.net

What advice do you have for aspiring young professionals looking for a career path similar to yours?

Work hard, get involved in a political party, whichever political party it is of your choice, study hard. I’ve undertaken post-graduate study while in parliament. With hindsight, I might have done that a little bit earlier if I had my time over again, but nevertheless it’s worth doing. And obviously just get involved as much as you can in politics –  if you want a career in politics get involved early.

Would you like to make any comments about the future of the Australia Indonesia relationship?

Well it’s one of the key challenges/opportunities/questions facing Australia. It will determine our success in many senses between now and 2050. Do we get this relationship right? Do we embrace this growing economy which is going to be, by some measures, the world’s fourth largest by 2050, or do we miss the opportunity? There’s almost no such thing as a bad idea when it comes to improving the Australia-Indonesia relationship, we should be trying everything.

How are your Indonesian studies going?

Well I’m entering third year in my degree and my lecturer has warned me that third year is a big step up from second year, and I have my work cut out for me next year. But, I’ve just come back from Indonesia where I managed to not disgrace the nation with my Indonesian speaking. And like any language, people don’t expect you to be perfect, they appreciate the effort that [you’ve] taken. So I’ve studied now for two years, I can now hold down a conversation and I can find my way around Jakarta reading the street signs, so we’re making progress.

Originally published as “A moment with Hon Chris Bowen MP, Shadow Treasurer, Australian Federal Parliament.” Discover more about the AIBC YPs on Facebook and LinkedIn.