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5 July 2024: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

05 Jul 2024
By Dr Adam Bartley

This week in Australian foreign affairs: Australian Government announces new partnership with Amazon Web Services; Marles to attend NATO Summit in Washington D.C.; Wong announces appointment of new Ambassadors, High Commissioner, Consul-General and Special Representative, and more.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles to announce a new government partnership with Amazon Web Services to bolster national defence and security. The Australian Government “will invest at least $2 billion over the next decade to bolster Australia’s cyber capabilities” and deliver a Top Secret Cloud for the Australian Government. This partnership is considered another important step in implementing the 2024 National Defence Strategy, and “is part of the $15‑20 billion to 2033-34 to enhance Defence’s cyber capabilities and the $8.5-11 billion to 2033-34 to bolster Defence’s enterprise data and ICT announced in the 2024 Integrated Investment Program.”

On 2 July, Marles announced he will attend elements of the 2024 NATO Summit in Washington D.C., United States, from 9 – 11 July. Marles’ attendance at the 75th NATO Summit “underscores Australia’s commitment to advocate for our region’s strategic priorities and the upholding of the global rules-based order,” the statement reads, “while advancing Australia’s security, economic and trade agenda.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong announced on 3 July the appointment of new Ambassadors, High Commissioner, Consul-General ,and Special Representative. The posts are located in Cambodia, Honolulu, Morocco, Nepal and Vanuatu. Mr Derek Yip will be Australia’s next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia; Mr Greg Wilcock will be Australia’s next Consul-General in Honolulu; Mr Damien Donavan is Australia’s next Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco; Ms Leann Johnston is Australia’s next Ambassador to Nepal; and Mr Max Willis will be Australia’s next High Commissioner to the Republic of Vanuatu.

Additionally, Ms Amanda McGregor has been nominated as Australia’s next Special Representative on Afghanistan. McGregor will be based in Qatar, and “will work with like-minded countries to call out the Taliban on its abuse of human rights and support the people of Afghanistan.” The Australia Government “has committed $71 million to assist the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan with humanitarian and basic needs assistance in 2023-2024. This support has been delivered by trusted partners and has a focus on helping women and girls.” The nation “continues to face substantial humanitarian and economic challenges, compounded by natural disasters, such as the October 2023 earthquakes and flooding in recent months.”

On 1 July, the Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neill joined the Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Education, Jason Clare, and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles to announce a fee hike for international students as part of July 1 migration reforms. “As of 1 July 2024, the fee for international student visas will increase from $710 to $1,600.” The changes come as reforms to migration take place, including: “the second increase under this Government after it was frozen for a decade at $53,900; Shortening the duration of Temporary Graduate Visas and reducing the age eligibility; [and] ending ‘visa hopping’ by closing the loopholes that allow students and other temporary visa holders to continuously extend their stay in Australia, in some cases indefinitely”

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.

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