Australia threw a BBQ for Singapore to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) join in a barbecue session as part of an Australian High Commission programme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ties in Singapore. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/ Getty.

Australia has put on a good old-fashioned BBQ for the people of Singapore to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong sizzled some snags and steaks at one of the 23 events across the island, hosted by the Australia High Commission.

While this Australian way of doing business may seem like an unusual approach to foreigners, it just adds to the list of different ways Australians operate. Read the full list here.

Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and a koala. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/ Getty.

In fact, just last April Julie Bishop “temporarily gifted” Singapore four koalas to recognise the political goodwill between the two countries. And it wasn’t cheap. According to Fairfax the friendly gesture cost $133,100 in quarantine procedures, Singapore Zoo’s staff training, medical tests, check-ups and paperwork.

Gift exchange is a common diplomatic custom practised by many countries around the world, presented as a token of respect, and to promote goodwill and strengthen diplomatic relations.

The gifts and event follows Australia’s agreement with Singapore on Closer Economic Relations (CER) aimed at providing “seamless” exchanges on counter-terrorism, defence, investment, education and immigration.

It is Australia’s second CER. It has had an agreement in place with New Zealand for 32 years.

Now read: 20 things about Australian working culture that can surprise foreigners.

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