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8 October: The Week in Australian Foreign Affairs

08 Oct 2021
By Isabella Keith
Parliament House At Dusk, Canberra ACT Source: Thennicke

This week in Australian foreign affairs: India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement negotiations formally resume, the 30th anniversary of the Madrid Protocol, new diplomatic appointments, and more.

Minister for Trade Dan Tehan issued a joint media release with his Indian counterpart on 1 October announcing the formal resumption of negotiations on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. The Ministers made this announcement following the 17th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting, where they also discussed ‘resolution of tax-related issues faced by Indian software firms in Australia, ensuring increased two-way trade and the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO scheduled to be held at the end of this year.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, noted the 30th anniversary of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, otherwise known as the Madrid Protocol. The Australian Government joined leaders from other Antarctic Treaty nations to mark the anniversary. The Ministers noted that the Treaty is ‘a historic pact to protect the Antarctic wilderness’ which ‘Australia played a leading role in initiating’.

On 6 October, Payne announced several new diplomatic appointments: Miles Armitage as Australia’s next Ambassador to Turkey, Daniel Emery as Australia’s next Ambassador to Serbia; Julia Niblett as Australia’s next Ambassador to Ethiopia; and Robin McKenzie as Australia’s next High Commissioner to Tuvalu.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews issued a media release on 6 October announcing that the Australian Government will cease regional processing in Papua New Guinea of ‘people who have attempted to travel to Australia illegally by boat.’ The regional processing contracts in Papua New Guinea will cease on 31 December 2021 ‘and will not be renewed.’ Moreover, from 1 January 2022, the Papua New Guinean Government ‘will assume full management of regional processing services in [Papua New Guinea] and full responsibility for those who remain.’ Andrews also noted that prior to 31 December 2021, ‘Australia will support anyone subject to regional processing arrangements in [Papua New Guinea] who wishes to voluntarily transfer to Nauru.’

On 6 October, the Department of Defence acknowledged the Golden Jubilee of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) with its participation in Exercise BERSAMA GOLD 21. Alongside the other FPDA nations, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the Australian Defence Force participated in activities across Singapore, Malaysia, and parts of the South China Sea. Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, noted that ‘the FPDA is a trusted mainstay of regional security architecture. When our five nations come together we strengthen cooperation, deepen our interoperability and sustain professional links.’

Isabella Keith is a weekly columnist for Australian Outlook. She is also an undergraduate student at the Australian National University studying Law and Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Isabella’s research interests include international law and comparative constitutional law.

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