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14 June 2024: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

14 Jun 2024
By Dr Adam Bartley

This week in Australian foreign affairs: China’s Premier Li to visit Australia; new investment for Women’s Asian Cup; additional humanitarian assistance for Gaza; Australia re-elected to the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and more.

On 11 June, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Qiang, will visit Australia as a Guest of Government from Saturday 15 June to Tuesday 18 June 2024. Albanese and Li will “hold the Annual Leaders’ Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, where they will exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues.” Li will also travel to Adelaide and Perth where “the leaders will engage with Australian and Chinese business leaders at the seventh Australia-China CEO Roundtable.” In an opinion for the Australian on 12 June, Albanese signalled the meeting as “another step forward in the patient, calibrated and deliberate efforts of our Government to rebuild dialogue with China and stabilise the relationship between our nations.” Moving past the focus on trade, the article called attention to the government’s call-out of “unacceptable risks to Australian naval personnel on duty in international waters, as well as making clear Australia’s resolute position on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and our unwavering support for the territorial integrity of our neighbours.”

In a joint media release with Minister for Finance and Minister for Women Katy Gallagher, and Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Sport Anika Wells on 13 June, Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced a major new investment in the Women’s Asian Cup. The $15 million investment will contribute to “the shared cost of hosting the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on home soil in 2026.” The competition will be hosted in Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia and is expected to generate more than $200 million for the local economy. “The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is the oldest women’s international football competition in the world.”

On 12 June, Wong joined Minister for International Development and The Pacific Pat Conroy and Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth Anne Aly to announce additional humanitarian assistance for Gaza. Aly announced an additional $10 million in humanitarian assistance “at an international conference convened by Egypt, Jordan and the United Nations on the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The funding will be directed to the World Food Programme to provide life-saving food assistance to civilians in Gaza facing the risk of famine. Since 7 October, Australia has committed $72.5 million in humanitarian assistance to address essential needs in Gaza and respond to the protracted refugee crisis in the region.”

Australia welcomed a recent UN Security Council resolution in support of a comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza, Wong’s office announced on 11 June. The resolution welcomes the new ceasefire proposal announced on May 31, which Israel has accepted. Calls have been made for Hamas to also accept the ceasefire, urging “both parties to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.” “The three-phase proposal presented by President Biden offers the best pathway out of this conflict,” the statement reads, stating further that the resolution again reiterates “international commitment to a two-state solution where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.”

On 8 June, Wong joined Gallagher to announce the re-election of Australia to the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. “The committee is made up of 23 independent human right experts from around the world” and monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “The Convention is a powerful tool to combat gender discrimination and drive genuine progress towards gender equality across the globe,” the statement remarked. “It enshrines women’s rights to equal and meaningful access to political and public life, education, health and employment.” Australia’s representative is Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AO.

In South Australia on 12 June, Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Special Minister of State Don Farrell joined Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt to support the diversification of wine exports. The statement also remarked on the opening of wine markets in China, noting that sales had reached close to $80 million in the month since the duties on wine were removed.

On 9 June, Conroy joined Wells to announce the government’s ongoing partnership with PacificAUs Sports and Netball Australia to develop high performance netball throughout the Pacific. “The new four-year partnership will enhance pathways to elite competition for Pacific netballers through athlete immersion programs and high performance workshops and support the development of local coaches and match officials. Pacific teams will have the opportunity to compete in tournaments in Australia,” the statement reads, “including the annual Pacific Netball Series in Brisbane, which this year will see Fiji, Samoa and Tonga competing against some of the world’s best.” The partnership will also offer “unique opportunities to deepen people-to-people connections, with Australian teams to spend time in the Pacific playing matches, supporting local player development, and engaging with local communities.”

Dr Adam Bartley is the managing editor for AIIA’s Australian Outlook and weekly columnist for The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and resident fellow at the Elliot School for International Affairs, the George Washington University. Adam also has positions as post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation RMIT University  and as program manager of the AI Trilateral Experts Group. He can be found on Twitter here.

This article is published under a Creative Commons License and may be republished with attribution.