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Protecting Australia’s National Interests

Protecting Australia’s National Interests

27 August 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

The Australian Government has announced it will introduce new legislation next week to help protect Australia’s national interests.

Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, welcomed the announcement which he said would ensure Australia’s approach to foreign policy is consistently applied across all states, territories, councils and universities.

Under the proposed reforms, the Foreign Minister will have the power to review any existing or prospective arrangements between state and territory government entities and all foreign governments.

Arrangements that adversely affect Australia’s foreign relations or are inconsistent with our foreign policy could be prevented from proceeding or terminated.

A unit will be established to assist the Foreign Minister to review existing and new arrangements and what their implications are for Australia’s foreign policy and foreign relations.

“These reforms make sense,” Mr Gee said.

“Australia needs to speak with one voice on the global stage - a voice that is consistent with our values and aligned with our foreign policy objectives. That is precisely what the Australian people expect and that’s what these new laws will deliver.

“The Australian Government has the foreign policy expertise and understanding needed to properly assess the risks and opportunities associated with any agreement with a foreign government.

“We can’t have states, territories and other organisations running off and entering into agreements that are not in our national interest and that may cut across the foreign policy of the Australian government.    

“These laws will ensure continued public confidence in arrangements entered into with foreign government entities, and will apply to state and territory governments, and state and territory entities including departments, agencies, local governments and universities established under state and territory law.

“Australia is facing an increasingly challenging and contested global environment, and now more than ever we need to stand up for our national interests and defend our sovereignty.”

Media Contact: Gabi Phipps 0400 917 405, Gabrielle.Phipps@dfat.gov.au