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4 December: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

04 Dec 2020
By Isabella Keith
Parliament House At Dusk, Canberra ACT Source: Thennicke

This week in Australian foreign affairs: Morrison’s response to a falsified Twitter photo; Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert’s return, the EU-Australia Leaders’ Meeting; and more.

On 30 November, Prime Minister Scott Morrison held a press conference where he referred to a post of “a falsified image of an Australian soldier threatening a young child with a knife,” made on an official Chinese Government Twitter account and posted by the Deputy Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, as “truly repugnant” and “deeply offensive to every Australian.” Morrison stated that Australia is “seeking an apology” from the Chinese Government for the post, and that Twitter has been contacted with a request to take down the falsified image.

Morrison announced on 26 November that Dr Kylie Moore-Gilbert will be returning to Australia from Iran. Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne noted that Moore-Gilbert’s release “was achieved through diplomatic engagement with the Iranian Government” and the outcome “demonstrates the value of professional and determined work … to resolve complex and sensitive consular cases.”

On 26 November, Morrison attended a virtual meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The leaders “reaffirmed the shared values that underpin the bilateral relationship as enshrined in the EU-Australia Framework Agreement.”

Payne announced on 29 November the appointment of the Honourable William Hodgman, former Tasmanian Premier, as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Singapore, and Bernard Lynch as Australia’s next Ambassador to Jordan.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds launched on 27 November a new framework called “Lead the Way: Defence Transformation Strategy.” The aim of the framework is “to evolve Defence’s strategic purpose, performance and accountability.”

On 2 December, Reynolds and Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton issued a joint statement on a new operation being led by the Australian Signals Directorate to “strike back against offshore cybercriminals who are conducting COVID-19 related malicious activities.”

Reynolds announced on 1 December that “last week, Australia and the United States signed a new collaborative agreement to develop and test hypersonic cruise missile prototypes.” The agreement will take place under the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment to cooperatively flight test full-size prototype hypersonic cruise missiles.

Isabella Keith is an intern at AIIA National Office.

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