Thursday, 3 June 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Sturt for his question. Indeed, at the end of next week I will be at the G7-plus summit in the United Kingdom. I'm very pleased that Australia has received that invitation from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It follows the invitations in the preceding two years. This has proved to be a very important forum for Australia to gather together with like-minded liberal democracies around the world, similarly advanced economies, to address the many challenges that liberal democracies around the world face, be it in the economic arena, the security arena, the health arena or the environmental arena. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to discuss all of these issues further with the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the President of France and, in particular, the Prime Minister of Japan. On the way to the G7-plus summit, I'll be taking the opportunity to meet with one of Australia's most important ASEAN partners, Singapore, and Prime Minister Lee.
Australia's engagement with these multilateral organisations, and particularly those smaller multilateral groups, whether it be in ASEAN or the G7-plus—or the government's success in promoting the campaign of the former finance minister here Mathias Cormann to the secretary-generalship of the OECD—has demonstrated Australia's agency in these forums, which helps keep Australians safe, helps keep Australia's economy heading in the right direction and ensures that our defence forces are well supported and integrated with the many other important partners that we have operating in this region to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific but also to favour a world order that favours freedom. That has been our purpose in engaging with so many of the countries of the world and the G7 agenda. Whether it's on the pandemic, the issues regarding free trade—which I'll be discussing with the UK Prime Minister—or the many other issues that relate to climate change and global action more broadly in multilateral fora, particularly in the World Trade Organization, these engagements are incredibly important to Australia's future.
It is with some pride that I can say, particularly in relation to defence and the actions that we're taking on defence, that while Australia looks often to allies like the United States and other partners, we never leave our defence to other countries. We never leave it to them. We look to them, but we never leave it to them. Australia is a respected partner in these fora because of the engagement that we participate in but also the capability, the investment, the self-sufficiency we seek to establish, which gives us this presence at those international fora. So I look forward to those meetings and for Australia to continue playing its part in a world order that favours freedom. On that note, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.