Mr Morrison put it bluntly: "I'd rather be living in the arrangements we have in Australia than anywhere else in the world."
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l: It was widely thought Scott Morrison's first meeting with US President Joe Biden would be a bilateral encounter, as is usual on the sidelines of a leaders' summit.
But instead, unexpectedly and unusually, the Prime Minister’s anticipated one on one with the US leader became a three-man affair.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson turned up too.
Mr Morrison said it was a "unique opportunity" and a "mutual" decision.
Nevertheless, it marked Mr Morrison’s first encounter with the new US President and an opportunity to reset the alliance and relationship in a post-Trump world.
"Australia has no greater friends than the United States and the United Kingdom, and we've been working together on our respective security issues for a very long time,” Mr Morrison said after the encounter that lasted for 40 minutes.
On top of the agenda was concern about Indo-Pacific security threats.
In a statement, the White House said the trio agreed that the context in the Indo-Pacific was changing and there was a strong rationale for deepening strategic cooperation between the three nations.
G7 leaders as a whole agree united action is needed. At the summit in Cornwall they have agreed to a spending plan for a massive boost in infrastructure investment in developing countries to counter China's growing global influence.
But that will take time. Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, which has seen billions of dollars poured into poor nations, has been underway for eight years already. There is a lot of catching up to do.
And the world's largest economies are struggling to find consensus on exactly how they should handle China in other areas.
A leaked communique though, shows the G7 leaders could unite behind a call for a second independent probe into the origins of COVID-19, a move that would deeply anger Beijing.
Despite the trade backlash Australia suffered after calling for the first probe, Mr Morrison agreed it was needed.
"The first inquiry, the first investigation, we called for, which Helen Clark amongst others were part of conducting, that recommended that there be even further work done, and that further work should be done," Mr Morrison told reporters in Cornwall.
"What I'm simply saying is that the process that we called for is not yet done. And it is recommending further work."
But while united with Australia on countering China, Mr Biden does not agree with Canberra's approach to climate change and is demanding a firm commitment to the 2050 target for zero net emissions.
Mr Johnson has pressured the Australian leader on that front too; However, Mr Morrison said the topic was not raised during the three-way talks.
Australia's COVID-19 bubble to continue
There was a moment on day one of the G7 summit, where it seemed the worst of the pandemic may really be behind us.
“Everybody in the water,” Biden joked to his fellow leaders at the G7 family photo on the oceanfront in Carbis Bay, England.
But Mr Morrison remains steadfast on Australia's decision to extend border restrictions.
"We'll continue to take an Australian path on this which protects the lives and livelihoods and learn from the experiences of other countries," he said, adding Australians should only be able to travel "when the medical advice suggests that we should".
"We are already seeing here in the UK that that high level of vaccination is preventing those hospitalisations, which is its purpose and that's welcome, but we're also seeing very high numbers of cases and at this stage of the pandemic, it is not clear where it goes next," he said on Saturday morning.
Mr Morrison put it bluntly: "I'd rather be living in the arrangements we have in Australia than anywhere else in the world."
Japan, Australia to work together on reducing greenhouse emissions
Japan and Australia consider a technology-led response is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring economic growth and job creation.
Both countries have committed to collaborating on ways to support economic growth and resilience of the Indo-Pacific region, particularly amongst ASEAN members by supporting regional partners in their clean energy transitions.
There will be a joint focus on lower emissions LNG production, transport and use; clean fuel ammonia, clean hydrogen and derivatives produced from renewable energy or from fossil fuels with substantial carbon capture, use and storage; carbon capture utilisation and storage; carbon recycling; and low emissions steel and iron ore.
In support of this shared objective, Japan and Australia will provide financial support to advance initiatives that will contribute to the development of low and zero emissions technologies.
The governments will look to leverage funding from other sources, including subnational governments and the private sector.
Joint statement with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel
The Prime Minister of Australia and Chancellor of Germany discussed their mutual commitment to ambitious action on climate change in line with the Paris Agreement, and to deeper collaboration and partnership towards achieving net zero emissions and keeping the 1.5°C temperature goal within reach.
Recognising low emissions technologies are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring economic growth and job creation, the Leaders announced the two countries have agreed an Australia-Germany Hydrogen Accord, which has formally been signed by Ministers on 11 June. The Accord is an enduring commitment to enhance collaboration in technology innovation, research, development and deployment to build a global hydrogen industry.
NSW to spend $356 million on plastics and waste
Plastics like single-use lightweight bags, cotton-buds, straws and stirrers will be phased out, and green bins for food and organic waste will be rolled out across the state, under the NSW Government’s plastics plan and waste strategy.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said more than $356 million will be invested over five years to implement the nation leading plans to protect the environment and promote recycling.
“We want NSW to be a leader when it comes to reducing waste, maximising recycling and protecting our environment, but we want to do it in a way that drives job creation and innovation," Ms Berejiklian said.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said we must reduce the plastics ending up in the environment because we are on track to see more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
Small businesses will be supported to transition to new products before the phase-outs come into effect. Exemptions will also be available for those who rely on single-use plastics for disability or health needs.
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The G7 is trying to find a coherent response to the growing assertiveness of President Xi Jinping
The US official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States would also push the other G7 leaders for “concrete action on forced labour” in China in their final communique from a three-day summit in southwest England.
“This is not just about confronting or taking on China,” the official said. “But until now we haven’t offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business.”
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme that Xi launched in 2013, involving development and investment initiatives that would stretch from Asia to Europe and beyond.
More than 100 countries have signed agreements with China to cooperate in BRI projects like railways, ports, highways and other infrastructure.
The re-emergence of China as a leading global power is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War.
China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms, it has become the world’s second-largest economy and is a global leader in a range of new technologies.
Leaders of the G7 — the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Japan — want to use their gathering in the seaside resort of Carbis Bay to show the world that the richest democracies can offer an alternative to China’s growing clout.
“So tomorrow we’ll be announcing ‘build back better for the world,’ an ambitious new global infrastructure initiative with our G7 partners that won’t just be an alternative to the BRI,” the official said.
Australia to give 20 million covid vaccine doses to third world countries: Morrison
Australia will commit at least 20 million vaccine doses to a global G7 push to boost access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and pandemic preparedness in developing countries.
“I am pleased to be able to join my counterparts in the G7 and beyond to commit more vaccines for people in developing countries in our region,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
These 20 million doses will build on Australia’s existing financial and technical support for the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and on almost 300,000 vaccine doses already provided to the Pacific and Timor-Leste.
"We are delivering a $523 million, three-year Vaccine Access and Health Security initiative, which provides end-to-end support for vaccine roll-outs in the Pacific and Southeast Asia," he said.
They will be a mix of vaccines already contracted by the Australian Government, including AstraZenca, Pfizer and Moderna.
The Government has entered into 5 separate agreements to secure more than 195 million doses.
Killer avoids life sentence
An attempt to jail a man for life for the unprovoked murder of a Melbourne woman has failed.
Codey Herrmann was sentenced in October 2019 to 36 years jail with 30 years non-parole by the Supreme Court of Victoria for the rape and murder of Aiia Maasarwe.
Prosecutors had appealed arguing 30 years was not enough, but the Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed the case.
Ms Maasarwe, 21, a Palestinian-Israeli international student, was attacked while walking home from a comedy show on January 16, 2019.
Herrmann knocked her unconscious, dragged her into the bushes, assaulted her, and set her body on fire.
A bench of five judges said on Friday that Herrmann’s crimes were “deeply shocking” and “seemingly inexplicable”.
Herrmann had never been convicted of a crime before and his actions that day caused “extreme private grief and enormous public distress”, their reasons for judgment said.
But they said the sentencing judge Elizabeth Hollingworth had used great care and skill when making her decision not to sentence him to prison for life.
She had balanced Herrmann’s severe personality disorder and childhood of profound deprivation against the shocking facts of the crime, they said.
Australia to fund part of new national strategy to combat child sexual abuse
The Federal Government is providing $146 million for the first phase of a new National Strategy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, including nearly $40 million in new funding to the Australian Federal Police.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined Assistant Minister to the PM and Cabinet Ben Morton and Member for Swan Steve Irons in Perth to speak about the forthcoming National Strategy and highlight new AFP funding.
“My government’s number one focus is on keeping Australians safe and the AFP is at the frontline of those efforts,” the Prime Minister said.
“The Royal Commission, which recommended development of the National Strategy, revealed the shocking extent of child sexual abuse in this country.
Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said Australia and the AFP had been at the forefront of tackling child sexual abuse.
Charges relating to child sexual abuse across the country have increased from 372 in 2018-19, to 2753 in 2020-21.
“We know this is evidence of our law enforcement efforts working – but any sexual crime against a child is one too many, and we must make sure we bring these numbers down in the long term,” she said.
The Federal Government is working with states and territories as well as non-government stakeholders to finalise the National Strategy for release in September 2021.
NSW Sexual Assault Spike
Dedicated police and frontline support services are ready and willing to take your call: that’s the message from the NSW Government as new statistics released show a recent spike in sexual assault reports.
Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman acknowledged the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) brief that reported a 61 per cent increase in sexual assault incidents reported to NSW Police in March 2021, compared with the monthly average over the previous year.
• If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, contact Triple Zero (000).
Labor leader announces frontbench team
NSW Labor’s new Leader Chris Minns announced his frontbench team on Friday.
“I have given our new team a challenge – let’s show the people of NSW what is possible in this state.
Education and early childhood learning will be elevated as a priority in the Shadow Cabinet with the portfolio held by Deputy Leader Prue Car.
Thirteen of 27 members of Labor’s front bench are women. Jodie Harrison will serve as Shadow Minister for Women and for the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The new Shadow Cabinet elevates several young MPs – Daniel Mookhey as Shadow Treasurer, Jo Haylen as Shadow Transport and Paul Scully as Shadow Planning.
The team will include five MPs elevated to the frontbench for the first time: Anoulack Chanthivong, Steve Kamper, Rose Jackson, Courtney Houssos and Tim Crakanthorp. Michael Daley and Tania Mihailuk will also return to the Shadow Cabinet.
Australia partners with Singapore on maritime hydrogen projects as leaders meet
Australia and Singapore will establish a $30 million partnership to accelerate the deployment of low emissions fuels and technologies like clean hydrogen to reduce emissions in maritime and port operations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was driving practical international partnerships to get new energy technologies to commercial parity with existing approaches.
“We’re working with partners around the world to make clean energy more affordable and reliable,” he said.
“We are positioning Australia to succeed by investing now in new technologies that will support jobs and industries into the future.
The Australia-Singapore partnership is part of the Government’s $565.8 million commitment to build new international technology partnerships that make low emissions technologies cheaper and drive investment in Australia-based projects to create up to 2,500 jobs.
Each country will commit up to $10 million over five years to fund industry-led pilot and demonstration projects, with at least $10 million of additional investment expected to be leveraged from industry.
The initiative will trial the use of clean hydrogen, clean ammonia and other hydrogen derivatives in shipping and port operations and explore the potential for hydrogen demand from the maritime sector.
Building demand for future low emissions energy exports will help Australia’s emerging hydrogen industry scale up, attract investment and create jobs.
Joint Leaders Statement
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Singapore for the sixth Australia-Singapore Annual Leaders’ Meeting.
The prime ministers reaffirmed the Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and welcomed the new Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement and welcomed the new Treaty on Military Training and Training Area Development.
The Prime Ministers also welcomed the ongoing discussions between border, health, transport, and other officials to identify detailed operational requirements for COVID-19-safe travel, including discussions on health and vaccination certificates.
US President Joe Biden meets with Aust, British PMs at G7 summit
President Biden, Prime Minster Johnson and Prime Minister Morrison met in the margins of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay on 12 June 2021.
They discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the Indo-Pacific region. They agreed that the strategic context in the Indo-Pacific was changing and that there was a strong rationale for deepening cooperation between the three governments.
They welcomed the forthcoming visits and exercises in the Indo-Pacific by the Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.