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30 July: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

30 Jul 2021
By Isabella Keith
Parliament House At Dusk, Canberra ACT Source: Thennicke

This week in Australian foreign affairs: Morrison acknowledges Samoa’s new Government, Payne attends the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Ley welcomes the World Heritage Committee’s rejection of the proposed UNESCO “In Danger” listing for the Great Barrier Reef, and more.

On 23 July, Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged the decision of Samoa’s Court of Appeal, which recognised the validity of Fa’atuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party’s swearing in on 24 May and declared the party Samoa’s new Government. Morrison congratulated incoming Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and noted that he “looks forward to working closely with her government to strengthen our longstanding partnership.” He further commended “the institutions of the Samoan Government and the Samoan people for their patience and for allowing the democratic, constitutional and legal processes to take their proper course.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne virtually attended the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting chaired by Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe. In a media release issued on 28 July, Payne noted that the meeting “focused on how our region is working together in responding to COVID-19 and strengthening our shared economic recovery.” The Ministers also “agreed to progress a Joint Statement on Blue Pacific Leadership in Pre-Pandemic and Pre-Disaster Planning”, put forward by Tuvalu.

On 23 July, Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley welcomed the World Heritage Committee’s rejection of the proposed UNESCO In Danger listing for the Great Barrier Reef. Ley noted “the support of an overwhelming majority of nations at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee which has tonight backed Australia’s concerns over the UNESCO assessment process for the Great Barrier Reef.” The decision follows Ley spending one week in face-to-face meetings in Europe to “detail Australia’s position to Committee members”.

The Department of Defence issued a media release on 23 July on the progress of Exercise Talisman Sabre, noting that forces from the seven participatory nations will conduct amphibious training. Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom will all take part. Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood, stated that “this is the culminating activity we’ve been working towards throughout the year. It’s the final test of our ability to operate as a joint force in a contested environment across land, sea, air, space, and cyber.”

On 27 July, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke announced that pharmacists will be included in the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. Hawke noted that, “the Morrison Government will support pharmacies across Australia, including through skilled migration, as supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses increases over the coming weeks.”

Isabella Keith is an undergraduate student at the Australian National University studying Law and Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She is currently an intern at the AIIA National Office.

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