314 words - September 19, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Julie Bishop MP will serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs and will be a strong voice for Australia during a time when Australia is a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), said Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Ms. Bishop will also take on the role of Minister for International Development and will oversee a "refocusing" of the Australian aid program. Senator Brett Mason will be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Abbott's conservative government which has sworn in on September 18 will also assume the Chair of the G20 on December 1 for a year. "The incoming Coalition Government will restore strong, stable and accountable government to build a more prosperous Australia," Mr. Abbott said about his government's global policy.
On Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abbott explained that Ms. Bishop will lead efforts to strengthen relations with Australia's key partners and drive Australia's contribution to global and regional forums. "It is vital that Australia's foreign policy is positioned to take advantage of the global shift in economic power to Asia," Ms. Bishop said in her first declaration in a her new capacity. Expediting the conclusion of free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Japan and China is a first order priority of the Abbott government, Ms. Bishop explained: "enhancing Australia's economic diplomacy is integral to enabling Australia to compete for access to emerging and developing markets, particularly in Asia."
From those first statements, DiploNews assessed the new government's foreign policy shall not vary from former Prime Ministers Julia Gillard's and Kevin Rudd's. In May, the Gillard government released Australia's 2013 Defense White Paper which highlighted the importance of its main ally United States' rebalance to the Asia-Pacific Region and explained that China's development shall be taken as an opportunity instead of a threat.
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