Region: Greater Middle East
- Foreign Relations and Internal Affairs, a snapshot
Scott Morrison will move rapidly to mark the Pacific as his top strategic priority, making an early trip to the Solomon Islands next week to counter growing Chinese influence over Australia’s regional neighbours.
The visit comes as Beijing ramps up regional tensions with its attempts to lure the Solomons and other small island-states to sever ties with Taiwan, and US warnings that Chinese interference in the Pacific is leading to “the possibility of conflict”.
The Australian can reveal the President will use his first overseas trip since the election to visit new Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in Honiara on Sunday, before travelling to London for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and returning home via Singapore.
Mr Morrison, who has promised a fresh focus on Australia’s Pacific “step-up”, moved yesterday to elevate the importance of the region by appointing his factional ally and numbers man Alex Hawke to lead a frontbench ministry focused on the region.
He has emphasised his government’s strengthened commitment to the Indo-Pacific in conversations with regional counterparts since his election victory, including Japanese leader Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai. [Excerpt from "Morrison's Mission to Rebuff China," from The Australian]
Australia seeks to build relations with Japan, including financial and militaristic collaboration and trade. Australia also views Japan as a strong ally in containing China, and seeks to move Australia's market towards Japan as opposed to the People's Republic of China.
Australia will be openning a Taiwanese embassy in Wodonga, and hopes to meet shortly with the Taiwanese President to discuss relations
Australia will not be sending physical troops to Sri Lanka, but will be sending $43.8 million. This money will be coming out of Australian aid to Palestinean territories, which it has stopped funding in January. This money will go towards rebuilding, but will ultimately be in the hands of the Federal Government to use as they wish.
The Australis Republic (Internal Affairs):
Democratic Socialist MP Anthony Albanese from Sydney will be taking on the leadership position left behind by former leader Bill Shorten. Albanese is a strong democratic socialist, and hopes to make the DSP a more progressive party. He was unchallenged in the run for Opposition leader, and will hold the position until the next election. He proposes, among many things, stronger welfare, more money to unions, more funding on abortion and sex-change surgeries, Stronger alliance with China, stronger climate change policy, and to make Australia the most LGBTI friendly nation in the world.
Albury-Wodonga has considered the foundation of a federal territory similar to the United State's District of Colombia for Australia's capital. This comes after confusion with Albury-Wodonga being a border town. The territory will be decided on next week, and if it will go ahead will be debated over the course of this week.