Boosting business ties, counter-terrorism cooperation and education links will be on the agenda at a summit of Australian and South East Asian leaders.
Malcolm Turnbull's efforts to better get to know the neighbours later this week won't be short of an awkward conversation or two.
The prime minister is hosting leaders from the 10-country Association of South East Asian Nations at a special summit in Sydney which kicks off from Friday.
The program has a busy agenda focused on business ties, counter-terrorism cooperation, smart cities and education links.
Trade liberalisation and strategic issues such tensions in the South China Sea and enforcing sanctions on North Korea are also likely to be discussed.
There will also be all the usual diplomatic trappings - elaborate banquets and family photos, sans silly shirts.
But there could be some fireworks on the sidelines at bilateral meetings.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled for 33 years, is unlikely to take kindly to a human rights lecture.
He's already threatened to beat up any protesting Cambodian ex-pats who burn his effigy at the summit.
Ahead of a July election, Cambodia is on a spiral of authoritarianism following last year's ban on the main opposition party, the arrest of the opposition leader and forced the closure of an English-language newspaper.
Former foreign minister Gareth Evans, an architect of a peace plan for Cambodia in the early 1990s, last week criticised Australia's limp response.
"It's time for Cambodia's political leaders to be named, shamed, investigated and sanctioned by the international community," he said.
Mr Turnbull's talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak may also prove prickly.
Last week it was revealed Mr Turnbull's son Alex had turned whistleblower while working for Goldman Sachs in Singapore.
The Wall Street bank's work with a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB, has been under the spotlight, and the US government alleges that billions of dollars earmarked for investments were diverted for the personal use of Malaysian elites including Mr Najib, a claim he denies.
Mr Turnbull is also facing pressure to take Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to task over ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people in the troubled Rakhine state.
More than 700,000 Rohingya people have poured across the border into Bangladesh refugee camps since last August following a military crackdown.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's has decided to skip the summit, in a move some analysts believe is designed to avoid international scrutiny over his "war on drugs" which has resulted in the extra-judicial killings of more than 12,000 people.
It's expected to be smoother sailing when Mr Turnbull encounters leaders from Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
Australia and Vietnam will sign a strategic partnership deal.
Mr Turnbull will dine with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday night and the Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday.
There had been hopes Canberra and Jakarta could finally seal the deal on a long overdue free trade pact at this summit, however, the two leaders will instead hail the progress of negotiations.
Security in Sydney is expected to be beefed up with extra police powers to remove vehicles and intercept drones.