: normal !msorm;">Sept. 7, 2020: Two Australian foreign correspondents leave China after each is questioned by police from China’s Ministry of State Security.
: normal !msorm;">Aug. 27, 2020: The federal government announces it will introduce a new law, under foreign policy powers, so it can veto arrangements states, territories, councils and universities make with foreign governments.
: normal !msorm;">Aug. 15, 2020: Morrison marks the 75 anniversary of victory in the Pacific, calling it the greatest national effort in Australia’s history.
: normal !msorm;">Aug. 5, 2020: Australia and Papua New Guinea announce a new Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership.
: normal !msorm;">July 28, 2020: 30th Australia-United States Ministerial meeting held in Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper host Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds.
: normal !msorm;">July 17, 2020: Morrison briefs Trump on Australia’s new defense posture, outlined in the 2020 strategic update.
: normal !msorm;">July 9, 2020: Virtual summit takes place between Morrison and Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.
: normal !msorm;">July 7, 2020: Foreign Affairs Department warns Australians they risk being “arbitrarily detained” if they visit China.
: normal !msorm;">July 1, 2020: The 2020 Defense Strategic Update says the strategic environment has deteriorated rapidly, calling for adjustments to defense policy, capability and force structure.
: normal !msorm;">July 1, 2020: Foreign Minister Marise Payne expresses deep concern at Beijing’s imposition of a National Security Law on Hong Kong. She says Australia is troubled by the law’s implications for Hong Kong’s judicial independence, and on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
: normal !msorm;">June 19, 2020: Morrison says a “sophisticated state-based actor” (interpreted as a reference to China) has stepped up cyber attacks on Australia.
: normal !msorm;">June 5, 2020: The federal government announces changes to foreign investment laws to protect national security.
: normal !msorm;">June 4, 2020: Virtual summit between India lifts the relationship to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership, deepening ties in business, defense, and cyber security, as they increasingly find common cause in strained relations with China.
: normal !msorm;">June 3, 2020: Treasurer Josh Frydenburg says Australia is entering its first recession in 29 years.
: normal !msorm;">May 18, 2020: World Health Organization resolves to review “lessons learned” from COVID-19.
: normal !msorm;">May 5, 2020: The first military aircraft to be designed and built in Australia in more than 50 years—the unmanned Loyal Wingman—is rolled out as part of a partnership between the Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing Australia.
: normal !msorm;">April 22, 2020: Australian frigate HMAS Parramatta joins three US warships in the South China Sea near an area Chinese vessels are suspected of exploring for oil.
: normal !msorm;">April 19, 2020: Foreign Minister Marise Payne calls for independent inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak, how it developed and spread.
: normal !msorm;">April 8, 2020: Federal Parliament passes legislation to spend A$130 billion to support wages and business during the pandemic shutdown.
: normal !msorm;">March 28, 2020: From midnight, all travellers flying into Australia are taken to hotels for 14 days of quarantine.
: normal !msorm;">March 26, 2020: Morrison takes part in a teleconference summit of G20 leaders to discuss the COVID-19 crisis. Morrison emphasises the importance of supporting the South Pacific islands and Timor-Leste as Australia’s “Pacific family.”
: normal !msorm;">March 23, 2020: Morrison holds a “virtual summit” with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
: normal !msorm;">March 22, 2020: Australian government announces a further A$66 billion economic stimulus package. With other initiatives in the previous 10 days, plus action by the Reserve Bank, the pandemic stimulus spend will total A$189 billion dollars, equivalent to 10% of GDP.
: normal !msorm;">March 20, 2020: To slow the spread of coronavirus, Australia closes its borders to “all-non citizens and non-residents.”
: normal !msorm;">March 12, 2020: The Australian government announces an A$17.6 billion (about $13 million) stimulus package to try to stave off an economic recession caused by COVID-19.
: normal !msorm;">Feb 28, 2020: The annual Australia-New Zealand leaders’ meeting takes place in Sydney. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said Australia’s policy of deporting New Zealanders convicted of crimes, even if they’re long-term Australian residents, is “unfair” and is “testing” the friendship of the two nations.
: normal !msorm;">Feb. 27, 2020: Predicting that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus, the national security committee of federal cabinet activates Australia’s emergency response plan.
: normal !msorm;">Feb. 10, 2020: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo addresses joint sitting of the Australian Parliament.
: normal !msorm;">Jan. 23, 2020: Fighting bushfires near Cooma, New South Wales, three members of a US aerial firefighting crew, are killed when their C-130 air tanker crashes.
: normal !msorm;">Jan. 4, 2020: Australian Defense Force Reserve is called out to assist fire-hit communities across Australia.
: normal !msorm;">Dec. 13, 2019: Rachel Noble is appointed Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate, the first woman to head a major intelligence agency in Australia.
: normal !msorm;">Dec. 10, 2019: South Korea and Australia meet in Sydney for “two plus two talks” on regional security.
: normal !msorm;">Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019: Bougainville referendum delivers a 98% vote for independence from Papua New Guinea.
: normal !msorm;">Nov. 2-4, 2019: At the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit in Thailand, India withdraws from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement. The other 15 RCEP states—ASEAN, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea—announced the conclusion of all 20 chapters of the deal, and aim to sign the treaty in 2020.
: normal !msorm;">Oct. 21, 2019: Australia’s House of Representatives passes legislation for bilateral free trade agreements with Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Peru.
: normal !msorm;">Oct. 20, 2019: Morrison attends the inauguration of President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.
: normal !msorm;">Oct. 9, 2019: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visits Canberra to discuss development of Australian mines to diversify rare earths production away from China.
: normal !msorm;">Sept. 20, 2019: Morrison visits President Trump at the White House. Morrison is the second world leader to be given a state dinner by Trump.
: normal !msorm;">Sept. 19, 2019: Prime Minister Scott Morrison flies to the US to visit Washington, New York, Chicago, and Ohio.
: normal !msorm;">Sept. 16, 2019: Visiting Canberra, Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, signs a Vuvale (Family) partnership agreement with Australia.
: PM Morrison visits Timor Leste to mark the 20th anniversary of the vote that led to independence from Indonesia.
: Yang Hengjun, an Australian writer and democracy activist, detained by the Chinese authorities in January, is formally charged with spying.
: PM Morrison makes the first bilateral visit to Vietnam by an Australian prime minister in 25 years.
: Australia announces it will join the maritime security mission for the Strait of Hormuz.
: Pacific Islands Forum meets in Tuvalu.
: Secretary Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper meet Australian FM Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in Sydney for 29th Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations “to deepen economic, security, and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.”
: On the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Thailand, the ninth meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue involving Australian FM Payne, Japan’s Foreign Minister Kono Taro, and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
: Australia passes legislation demarcating maritime boundaries with Timor-Leste, formalizing revenue shares in the joint-development of the Greater Sunrise natural oil field.
: PM Morrison visits the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, off Queensland.
: US and Australia begin Exercise Talisman Sabre, in Queensland; Japanese forces also take part.
: US, Japan, and Australia announce jointly financed $1 billion LNG project in Papua New Guinea.
: Anthony Albanese is elected leader of the Australian Labor Party and becomes federal opposition leader.
: Navies from the US, Japan, South Korea, and Australia launch the inaugural Pacific Vanguard exercise off Guam “to conduct cooperative maritime training.” Over 3,000 sailors take part in drills including “combined maneuvers, live fire exercises, defense counter-air operations, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea.”
: In Australia’s federal election, the Liberal-National coalition government led by Scott Morison, is re-elected.
: USS William P. Lawrence participates in naval exercise La Perouse with five other vessels from France, Japan, and Australia in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise includes “sailing in formation, live-fire drills, communications, search and rescue, damage control and personnel transfers.”
: Air forces of the United States, South Korea, and Australia undertake two weeks of “scaled-back” joint air drills around the Korean Peninsula, replacing the previous large-scale Max Thunder drill.
: Navy, army, and air force personnel from Australia and India participate in the third AUSINDEX joint maritime exercise in the Bay of Bengal. The three phases of the exercise focus on anti-submarine warfare and improving overall bilateral cooperation and interoperability.
: The 2019 Balikitan exercises take place in Luzon and Palawan. Over 7,000 troops from the US, Philippines, and Australia participate in humanitarian and civic assistance projects as well as land, sea, air, and counterterrorism operations.
: US Ambassador to Australia Arthur Calvahouse presents his credentials to the governor general in Canberra.
: Indonesia and Australia sign a bilateral free trade agreement.
: US, Japanese, and Australian troops participate in Cope North, the largest multilateral Pacific Air Forces exercise, designed to strengthen air operations with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief training.
: “Sophisticated” foreign attack hacks the computer system of Australia’s Parliament House. The passwords of all MPs and senators and all staff have to be reset.
: PM Morrison makes the first bilateral visit by an Australian prime minister to Vanuatu and Fiji.
: Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force David Hurley is nominated to be Australia’s next governor general, succeeding Sir Peter Cosgrove, also a former defense chief.
: Indian President Ram Nath Kovind visits Australia.
: APEC Economic Leaders Meeting is held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Vice President Mike Pence announces that the US will partner with Australia and PNG to build a new naval base on PNG’s Manus Island.
: Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and PM Scott Morrison meet in Darwin. They commit to an Indo-Pacific infrastructure fund and conclude a military reciprocal access agreement.
: Australia votes to allow same-sex couples to marry. In a postal survey, 12,727,920 (79.5 percent) of eligible Australians respond, with 61.6 percent voting Yes, while 38.4 percent vote No.
: Foreign Minister Marise Payne visits Beijing, signaling a thaw in the icy diplomatic relationship of the previous 12 months.
: On national interest grounds, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rejects an A$13 billion bid by a Hong Kong group to buy Australia’s main gas pipeline network.
: Republican lawyer Arthur B Culvahouse is nominated to be US ambassador to Australia.
: An independent wins the House of Representatives by-election caused by the resignation from Parliament of deposed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Liberal-National coalition loses its one-seat majority in the House and becomes a minority government.
: Australia’s Parliament passes legislation for the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), making Australia the fourth nation to ratify the trade treaty.
: Ex-PM Turnbull resigns seat in the House of Representatives, leaving Parliament.
: PM Morrison flies to Indonesia to conclude a free-trade agreement with President Joko Widodo.
: Spill motion in the Liberal Party room ends the leadership of PM Malcolm Turnbull. Scott Morrison is elected the new leader and prime minister.
: Australia bans Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE from taking part in the rollout of 5G mobile infrastructure, because of national security concerns.
: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets Japanese counterpart Kono Taro and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore for the eighth Trilateral Strategic Dialogue.
: Annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) held in California.
: Former Australian spy and his lawyer are charged with breaching intelligence laws for revealing that Australia bugged ministerial offices of the Timor-Leste government during border negotiations over maritime oil and gas rights.
: Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell announced as next Chief of the Australian Defence Force.
: Australia-ASEAN summit is held in Sydney.
: In a phone call to Turnbull, Trump confirms that Australia will be exempt from new US tariffs on steel and aluminum.
: Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement is signed, in Chile, by the 11 remaining nations, following the withdrawal of the US.
: Timor-Leste and Australia sign a new maritime boundary treaty.
: New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern arrives in Sydney for dinner at the Sydney home of PM Turnbull and then a day of talks.
: President Trump and PM Turnbull meet at the White House to celebrate “100 years of mateship” between the US and Australia.
: Barnaby Joyce resigns as deputy prime minister, leader of the National Party and Cabinet minister, after revelations of an extramarital affair with his press secretary.
: Harry Harris is nominated as the US ambassador to Australia.
: PM Turnbull releases a defense export strategy with the aim of making Australia one of the world’s top 10 defense exporters within a decade.
: PM Turnbull visits Japan for talks with Abe Shinzo.
: Labor Sen. Sam Dastyari resigns from Parliament over claims that he was acting on behalf of Chinese interests.
: Federal Parliament legislates for same-sex marriage in Australia.
: PM Turnbull announces legislation to ban foreign political donations and to fight foreign espionage and interference in Australian affairs.
: Nick Warner is appointed as director general of the Office of National Assessments and director-general of national intelligence.
: PM Turnbull launches Australia’s foreign affairs white paper.
: On the sidelines of the APEC meeting, trade ministers from 11 nations announce agreement on the revived Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau refuses to ratify the deal. Australia and Peru sign a bilateral free trade agreement.
: PM Turnbull leaves for Vietnam for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, a bilateral visit to Hong Kong, and the Philippines for the East Asia Summit.
: PM Turnbull meets New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
: US-Australia Space Tracking Treaty is signed in Washington, extending the 1960 bilateral agreement on space exploration and NASA use of Australian facilities.
: The defense and foreign ministers of South Korea and Australia meet in Seoul for their third annual meeting.
: Opposition leader Bill Shorten flies out for talks in South Korea and Japan.
: Australia announces that 54 refugees will leave its South Pacific detention centers for the US, the first group under the deal President Trump reluctantly agreed to honor.
: Australia and Timor-Leste agree on “central elements” of a maritime boundary in the Timor Sea.
: FM Bishop says Australia is prepared to expand its supporting role in the fight against Islamic State by sending troops to train and advise counterparts in the Philippines.
: Australia and Solomon Islands sign a security treaty for rapid Australian assistance to deal with future natural disasters or civil unrest.
: In Manila, the seventh ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Security Dialogue, involving Australia’s FM Bishop, US Secretary Tillerson, and Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono is held.
: Three US Marines are killed in an aircraft crash, off the Queensland coast near Rockhampton, during a military exercise.
: Australian Federal Police conduct anti-terrorist raids across Sydney over an “advanced” plot to crash a commercial aircraft using a bomb/poison gas device.
: PM Turnbull appoints his chief of staff, Greg Moriarty, as the new secretary of the Defence Department.
: Turnbull announces the creation of a new security ministry, the Department of Home Affairs, to control the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The review of Australia’s intelligence services is released.
: Turnbull announces new laws to allow the Australian Defence Force to deploy forces and even take charge during terrorist attacks on Australian soil.
: Turnbull leaves for the G20 Summit in Hamburg, then to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, and London to meet British officials and the queen.
: After 14 years, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands ends. The RAMSI effort to stabilize Solomon Islands, involving Australia, New Zealand and 13 other Pacific countries, cost Australia $2.8 billion.
: Biennial US-Australia joint military exercise Talisman Sabre is held. More than 30,000 US and Australian personnel conduct their biggest ever joint exercises off the coast of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
: Australia’s military halts air operations over Syria as a precaution after the US shoots down a Syrian fighter jet.
: To prevent a class action going to court, Australia’s government agrees to pay $70 million in compensation to 1,905 asylum seekers detained on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island between 2012 and 2016, plus legal costs estimated at $20 million
: In Sydney, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop host Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial consultations.
: US Sen. John McCain visits Canberra and meets Turnbull.
: Australia’s annual budget presented to Parliament.
: In New York, Trump and Turnbull speak aboard the USS Intrepid, in a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
: Turnbull visits Afghanistan.
: China and Australia agree to enhanced cooperation on cyber security.
: Turnbull visits Iraq.
: Vice President Mike Pence in Sydney for talks with the Australian government.
: In Darwin, the start of the sixth annual training rotation, involving 1,250 US Marines.
: Turnbull in New Delhi for talks with Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.
: Turnbull in Papua New Guinea.
: Mohammad Ashraf Ghani becomes the first president of Afghanistan to visit Australia.
: PM Turnbull in Jakarta to attend the first leaders’ summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
: RAAF’s first two F-35A fighter jets touch down on Australian soil.
: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo arrives in Sydney for talks with PM Turnbull.
: Turnbull announces that next March he will host the first Australia-ASEAN summit.
: Following the telephone clash between Trump and Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop heads for Washington for talks with Vice President Pence to reaffirm the alliance.
: A squadron of US Air Force F-22 Raptors arrives in the Northern Territory for the largest and longest rotation of fifth-generation aircraft to Australia.
: In a phone conversation with President Donald Trump, Turnbull pushes the new administration to implement President Obama’s agreement that the US accept asylum seekers Australia is keeping on Nauru and Manus Island. Trump calls it a “dumb deal” and cuts short the phone conversation with Turnbull.
: Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo visits Sydney and meets Turnbull on approaches to the new Trump administration.
: Timor Leste scraps a seabed oil and gas treaty with Australia, as part of Dili’s campaign to redraw the maritime boundary with Australia.
: Head of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, Gen. Gatot Nurmanto, announces military activities with Australia are suspended because of offensive material on Indonesia in educational material used at a Perth military base where Indonesian Special Forces train. The announcement is rolled back within a week.
: Australia and France sign a A$56 billion agreement to build the world’s largest diesel-electric submarines in Adelaide.
: Commander of US Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, announces that F-22 Raptor fighters will operate out of northern Australia from 2017.
: PM Turnbull gives Parliament a counterterrorism statement.
: Australia announces a refugee swap deal with the US. The US agrees to accept some of the boat people refused entry by Australia, being detained on the Pacific island of Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. In return, Australia is to accept South American refugees from a Costa Rica processing center.
: PM Turnbull announces a review of Australia’s intelligence agencies.
: Australia and Indonesia hold their annual foreign and defense ministers meeting in Jakarta, focusing on counterterrorism and the potential return of foreign terrorist fighters.
: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addresses the Australian Parliament.
: Australia and the US announce a deal to end the negotiating deadlock over who will pay for facilities for US Marines training in Darwin.
: PM Turnbull delivers national security statement on Counter-Terrorism to Parliament.
: The Turnbull government bans two Chinese corporations from buying NSW electricity assets, on national security grounds.
: The Guardian publishes 2,000 leaked files on Australia’s asylum seeker detention regime on Nauru, detailing assaults, sexual assaults, and self-harm.
: PM Turnbull overrules Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and announces the government will not nominate the former PM Kevin Rudd for the job of UN secretary general.
: PM Turnbull’s international affairs adviser, Frances Adamson, the former ambassador for China, is appointed secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
: US Vice President Joe Biden has talks in Sydney with PM Turnbull.
: The governor general swears in PM Turnbull and his new Cabinet.
: Australia’s federal election returns the Turnbull Liberal-National Party Coalition government with a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
: Papua New Guinea and its autonomous island province, Bougainville, agree to hold a referendum on June 15, 2019 to determine if the island should become independent.
: President Obama and PM Turnbull have a phone discussion covering military gains against Islamic state, Australia’s decision on its future submarine, and collaboration to deal with the global glut of steel.
: In North Queensland, Federal police arrest five Melbourne men attempting to take a small boat to Indonesia to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
: Double dissolution of both Houses of the Australian Parliament, with the general election to be held on July 2.
: A new Defense agreement includes provision for Singapore to send 14,000 military personnel to train in Australia each year, up from 6000 a year.
: France beats Germany and Japan to win a A$50 billion submarine building contract for the Australian Navy, with the majority of the boats to be built in Adelaide.
: Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rules that Australia’s detention of 850 asylum seekers on PNG’s Manus Island is illegal.
: Australian government’s cyber security strategy released.
: Japanese submarine sails into Sydney harbor for the first time since 1942.
: Malcolm Turnbull arrives in China for his first visit as prime minister.
: Fifth annual deployment of US Marines to Darwin commences.
: Television crew from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is arrested in Malaysia for attempting to interview Prime Minister Najib Razak about a corruption scandal.
: Australia Papua New Guinea ministerial forum in Canberra.
: Australian Defence White Paper is released.
: In Beijing, annual talks between the foreign ministers of Australia and China.
: In Tokyo, foreign ministers of Australia and Japan sign a Strategy for Co-operation in the Pacific, covering defense, diplomatic, and aid cooperation, stressing shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
: Trade ministers sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement in Auckland, setting up a two-year period for ratification.
: PM Turnbull vists Washington and meets President Obama at the White House.
: Australian and Indonesian foreign and defense ministers meet in Sydney and sign a new understanding on combatting terrorism and renew a defense cooperation agreement.
: PM Turnbull and Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo meet in Tokyo.
: In the contest to build Australia’s new submarine, the Japanese, French, and German contenders lodge their tender documents.
: PM Turnbull asks Australian law enforcement agencies to test their responses to a mass casualty attack in the wake of the killings in Paris, pledging to “redouble our efforts in support of domestic and regional-counter-terrorism efforts.”
: Foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia meet for talks in Sydney.
: Australian Navy begins live-fire military drills with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. HMAS Stuart and HMAS Arunta visit Zhangjiang, Guangdong Province for the exercise.
: Annual AUSMIN talks held in Boston.
: Northern Territory government announces the sale of the Port of Darwin, to be run under a 99-year lease by a Chinese company, Landbridge.
: Twelve nations complete terms of Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
: PM Turnbull announces his new Cabinet, appointing Australia’s first female defense minister, Sen. Marise Payne.
: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is deposed by the Liberal Party caucus. Malcolm Turnbull becomes PM.
: Second meeting of Australian and South Korean foreign and defence ministers, is held in Sydney, they agree to a blueprint for defense and security cooperation.
: Pacific Islands Forum is held in Papua New Guinea.
: Australia announces it will take 12,000 refugees from Syria. The government also announces that Royal Australian Air Force planes will attack Islamic State targets in Syria as well as Iraq.
: PM Abbott announces Australia will commit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
: Australian Labor Party’s 47th national conference to decide the policy platform.
: Australia’s largest combined defense exercise with the US starts – this time with Japan participating. The biennial training activity, Talisman Sabre, involves up to 30,000 US and Australian defense staff. The exercise is held near Rockhampton, in Queensland, and at Fog Bay, southwest of Darwin.
: Australia’s new Border Force – merging the frontline functions of Customs and Immigration – begins operation, with responsibility for immigration security at Australia’s air and sea ports and Australian waters.
: Australia and Singapore announce a comprehensive strategic partnership to increase defense and economic cooperation, as PM Abbott visits Singapore to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
: Australia and China sign a free trade agreement with PM Abbott hailing it as “history making” for both countries.
: Diplomat Greg Moriarty, previously Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, is appointed Australia’s first counterterrorism coordinator.
: Indonesian firing squad executes two convicted Australian drug smugglers. PM Abbott calls punishment “cruel and unnecessary.” Australia recalls its ambassador from Jakarta.
: 100th anniversary of Gallipoli landing in Turkey during WWI commemorated at ANZAC Cove, attended by Australian and New Zealand prime ministers.
: FM Bishop becomes the first Australian foreign minister to visit Iran in 12 years, announcing an agreement for intelligence sharing between Australia and Iran.
: PM Abbott announces that Australia will become a founding member of China’s new development institution, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
: Welcome home parades held for the 34,500 Australians who served in Afghanistan, with marches in Canberra, the six state capitals, plus Darwin and Townsville.
: Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrives to visit Australia and sign an Enhanced Comprehensive Partnership.
: PM Abbott’s national security statement announces the creation of a new counter terrorism coordinator.
: In the formal competition for the $50 billion project to build the next generation Australian submarine, Japan, Germany, and France are shortlisted to bid for the contract.
: US Court of Military Commission Review strikes down the terrorism conviction of an Australian, David Hicks, who served with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and who was held by the US at Guantanamo Bay from January, 2002, until May, 2007.
: First meeting of Australia-Japan Cyber Policy Dialogue is held in Canberra to discuss the development of international cyber norms and the application of international law to state behavior in cyberspace.
: PM Abbott beats a motion in the Liberal Party Parliamentary Caucus to depose him as leader. Liberal MPs and Senators vote 61-39 to reject the spill motion.
Jan. 4, 2015; PM Abbott visits Baghdad to express support for Iraq’s government in the fight against Islamic State.
: PM Abbott reshuffles his Cabinet, dropping the Defence Minister David Johnston and appointing Kevin Andrews as Defence Minister.
: A hostage siege in a coffee shop in central Sydney ends with three people dead. One of those killed is the gunman, Man Haron Monis, who had a record of prosecutions and criminal convictions. Monis was known for his radical Islamist views and for sending hate mail to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Australian Parliament.
: China’s President Xi Jinping addresses the Australian Parliament.
: G20 Summit is held in Brisbane. A sidelines trilateral is held between the US, Australia, and Japan.
: Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visits Fiji for talks with newly elected Bainimarama government. She lifts remaining sanctions on Fiji’s regime and proclaims a “new era” in relations.
: Pacific Islands Forum announces that following its election, Fiji’s suspension from the Forum has been lifted.
: In Phnom Penh, Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signs an agreement for Australia to send asylum seekers for resettlement in Cambodia.
: PM Abbott attends inauguration of President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.
: New Zealand PM John Key has talks in Canberra with PM Abbott.
: In a national security statement, PM Abbott tells Parliament that “darkening times” mean Australia will have to recast the balance between freedom and security. The government introduces new antiterrorism laws, including a clause affirming that security agencies are prohibited from the use of torture.
: RAAF aircraft leave Australia to fly to Dubai to take part in the US-led campaign against Islamic State militants.
: In the New Zealand election, the National Party government of John Key is returned for a third term.
: Fiji holds its first election since the military coup eight years ago. The Fiji First Party of Frank Bainimarama wins the vote and he becomes elected prime minister.
: Australia announces it will deploy 600 military personnel for combat in Iraq.
: Alert level for possible terrorist attack in Australia raised from medium to high.
: PM Abbott arrives in India to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement that will allow Australia to sell uranium to India.
: Responding to Russia’s campaign to destabilize Ukraine, Australia expands sanctions on Russia.
: Australia and Indonesia repair their relationship with the signing in Bali of a Joint Understanding on a Code of Conduct covering intelligence.
: Annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) are held in Sydney, involving Australia’s foreign and defense ministers and the US secretaries of defense and state.
: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is shot down over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board – 38 of the victims were Australians. Australia leads the effort to get a UN Security Council resolution condemning the attack and joins with the Netherlands and Malaysia in the body recovery work.
: Japan and Australia sign a free trade agreement and an agreement on defense technology as Prime Minister Abe addresses Australia’s Parliament.
: PM Abbott meets President Obama at the White House.
: PM Abbott meets President Yudhoyono on the Indonesian island of Batam to discuss the diplomatic breach over Australian intelligence activity directed at Indonesia.
: Australia buys 58 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of $12 billion. The decision builds on the 2009 decision to purchase 14 F-35s, meaning Australia will have 72 of the aircraft to form three operational squadrons and one training squadron.
: US Marines from California arrive in Darwin to begin the fourth Marine rotation to Northern Australia.
: PM Abbott arrives in Seoul for the signature of the Australia-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.
: In Tokyo, PM Abbot and PM Abe settle the final details of a free trade agreement, completing a seven-year negotiation.
: PM Abbott departs to visit Japan, South Korea, and China.
: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in Perth to meet PM Abbott to discuss the Indian Ocean search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
: Australian government wins a court case to block the release of secret archives on Australian knowledge of Indonesian war crimes in East Timor after the 1975 occupation, arguing the release would increase current diplomatic strains between Canberra and Jakarta.
: Australia wins a case against Japan in the International Court of Justice, with the court ruling that Japanese whaling is unlawful.
: Australia lifts travel bans on members of Fiji’s military regime.
: US Marines begin arriving in Darwin for their third annual rotation.
: Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappears on a passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The focus of the search shifts to the southern part of the Indian Ocean, west of Australia, and Australia takes the lead in the search effort.
: FM Bishop flies Fiji to improve relations with Fiji’s military regime ahead of elections scheduled for September.
: Customs and Defence issue terms of reference for an inquiry examining how Australian vessels strayed into Indonesian waters between December 2013 and January 2014. Indonesia signals it will send a frigate into the region to monitor Australia’s border protection activities and calls on Australia to cease the incursions and respect Indonesia’s territory.
: The Australian Defence Force mission in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, concludes after a decade of operating in the province.
: General Motors announces that it will stop manufacturing Holden cars in Australia by 2017.
: Australia concludes negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Republic of Korea, its third-largest goods export market and fourth-largest trading partner.
: Treasurer Joe Hockey uses national interest powers to bar the A$3.4 billion sale of the grain handler, GrainCorps, to a US company.
: President Yudhoyono announces the suspension of Indonesian intelligence cooperation with Australia, including on people smuggling. He sends a letter to PM Abbott demanding an explanation for Australia’s tapping of his mobile phone.
: Documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal Australia aimed to bug the phones of Indonesia’s president, his wife, and ministers. Indonesia withdraws its ambassador from Canberra to “review” relations with Australia.
: Australia’s 44th Parliament convenes.
: PM Abbott announces his government will maintain the previous government’s ban on the Chinese communications firm, Huawei, having any role in the construction of the National Broadband Network.
: Bill Shorten is elected leader of the Labor Party and becomes Opposition leader.
: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, and US Secretary of State John Kerry meet in Bali for the fifth Trilateral ministerial meeting.
: PM Abbott makes his first overseas visit as leader to Jakarta to meet Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
: John Berry presents his credentials to Governor General Quentin Bryce, becoming the 25th US ambassador to Australia.
: Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Cabinet are sworn in.
: Australia’s federal election is held.
: In Australia’s federal election, a Liberal-National Coalition government is elected, ousting the Labor from power after six years in office.
: Australia begins its one-month tenure as president of the UN Security Council.
: A force of 1,000 US Marines starts a two-week training exercise at the Bradshaw Field Training Area as a follow on to this year’s Exercise Talisman Saber.
: PM Rudd announces the federal election will be held on Sept. 7, one week earlier than the Sept. 14 date set by his predecessor, Julia Gillard.
: Second annual Australia-Indonesia Defense Ministers Meeting is held in Perth.
: Australia signs an agreement with Papua New Guinea designed to stem the flow of boat people sailing to Australia seeking refugee status.
: PM Rudd visits Papua New Guinea to announce new aid projects and to negotiate the terms of a deal for PNG to process and resettle asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat from Indonesia.
: Exercise Talisman Saber begins at the Shoal Water Bay Training Area and the adjacent maritime areas in the Coral Sea. Approximately 20,000 US personnel participate.
: PM Rudd visits Jakarta to meet President Yudhoyono and discuss the issue of asylum seekers sailing to Australia from Indonesia.
: FM Carr and DM Smith visit Seoul for the first Australia-Korea Foreign and Defense Ministers’ (“2+2”) Meeting.
: The Australian Defence Force concludes its support to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Since 2003, 7,270 Australian personnel from all three services have deployed to Solomon Islands for RAMSI.
: Kevin Rudd is sworn in as prime minister.
: DM Stephen Smith says he will continue as minister but announces he will not contest the federal election in September.
: DM Smith makes a statement to Parliament on Australia’s “Full Knowledge and Concurrence” on the US Joint Facilities on Australian soil.
: PM Gillard is deposed by the Labor Party caucus. The MPs and senators vote to return Kevin Rudd to the leadership (57 votes for Rudd, 45 for Gillard). Gillard said she would leave Parliament at the coming election. Treasurer Wayne Swan and five other ministers resign, saying they will not serve in Rudd’s Cabinet.
: India’s Minister of Defense A. K. Antony arrives in Australia – the first official visit to Australia by an Indian defense minister.
: Defense Ministers of the US, Australia, and Japan hold trilateral talks in Singapore on the margins of the Shangri-La Dialogue.
: Australian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts a documentary claiming that Chinese hackers stole the blueprints for the new Canberra headquarters for the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.
: DM Smith visits Washington and meets Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
: An exchange of diplomatic notes brings the Australia-United States Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty into force.
: PM Gillard visits Papua New Guinea.
: Australia’s Defence White Paper released.
: DM Smith attends inaugural South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting in Tonga.
: A company of US Marines lands in Darwin for training with Australia and other countries in the region, the second rotation of US Marines through the Northern Territory.
: PM Gillard makes her second visit as leader to China. The trip is marked by the announcement that the Australian dollar is to be the third currency to be directly exchangeable with the yuan, thus bypassing the US dollar in the transaction.
: DM Smith announces that at least 1,000 of Australia’s 1,650 troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by the end of 2013.
: FM Carr welcomes the Security of Information Agreement between Australia and Japan coming into force, saying the framework for the exchange of classified information will build on Australia’s comprehensive security, strategic and economic partnership with Japan.
: FM Carr visits Washington and meets Vice President Joseph Biden.
: Myanmar’s President Thein Sein arrives for an official visit to Australia, the first by a Myanmar leader in 39 years.
: DM Smith visits Afghanistan and meets President Hamid Karzai and DM Bismullah Khan.
: Independent Australian Sen. Nick Xenophon is detained at the Kuala Lumpur airport and deported from Malaysia as a “security risk” based on previous criticism of Malaysia’s political system. Other parliamentarians traveling with Xenophon abandon the visit to Malaysia.
: Prime Ministers John Key and Julia Gillard meet in Queenstown, NZ, for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ meeting.
: Defense Minister (DM) Stephen Smith makes a statement to Parliament on Australia’s timetable for withdrawal and military transition in Afghanistan.
: PM Gillard launches an eight-month campaign by announcing that Australia’s federal election will be held Sept. 14. This is a break with tradition as prime ministers previously named the Election Day only as they put the machinery of government into caretaker mode, prior to a four to five week campaign.
: PM Gillard releases the National Security Strategy.
: Foreign Minister (FM) Bob Carr and Japan’s new FM Kishida Fumio hold talks in Sydney on regional security, development aid, and differences over whaling.
: Australia announces further sanctions on Iran, affecting the financial, trade, energy, and transport sectors.
: Australia takes up its two-year term on the UN Security Council.
: Three People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ships arrive in Sydney as part of a four-day port visit. The ships Yi Yang, Chang Zhou, and Qian Dao Hu are returning to China from counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
: Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) ceases its security operations in Timor-Leste and starts withdrawal, ending an operation that began in 2006.
: PM Gillard attends the 7th East Asia Summit in Laos.
: Australian defense and foreign ministers meet in Perth with the US secretaries of defense and state for the annual AUSMIN consultations.
: PM Gillard co-chairs the 5th Bali Democracy Forum, hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
: PM Gillard attends the 9th Asia Europe Summit in Laos.
: PM Gillard delivers a statement to Parliament on the military exit from Afghanistan by 2014.
: PM Gillard issues a White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century.
: PM Gillard visits India and announces Australia and India will begin negotiations on a safeguard agreement to allow uranium sales to India. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praises Labor’s change of policy which allowed potential uranium sales “as recognition of India’s energy needs as well as our record and credentials.”
: PM Gillard visits Afghanistan to see Australian troops and to meet President Hamid Karzai.
: Tenth anniversary of the terrorist bombing that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, is marked in Bali by a ceremony involving PM Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, former PM John Howard, and Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa.
: Foreign and defense ministers of Australia and Japan hold their fourth 2+2 meeting, calling for increased trilateral cooperation with the US.
: Prime Minister (PM) Gillard attends the APEC Leaders Meeting in Vladivostok but has to leave early to return to Adelaide because of the death of her father.
: Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher from the Special Operations Task Group die when a US helicopter crashes in Helmand Province.
: Three Australian soldiers are killed and two others wounded following an insider attack by an Afghan Army sergeant in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan.
: DM Smith visits Vietnam to discuss Australia’s growing defense relationship with Vietnam, together with regional security issues.
: Pacific Islands Forum is held in the Cook Islands.
: Australia is to spend A$1.5 billion to acquire the Growler electronic warfare system for its 24 Super Hornet aircraft, making Australia the only country other than the United States to operating Growler, which jams aircraft and land-based radars and communications.
: Australia announces implementation of sanctions on Iran, including trade in oil, petroleum, gas, financial services and precious metals, following the failure of the Iranian Government to engage constructively with the international community on its nuclear program.
: An inquiry headed by the previous chief of the ADF, Angus Houston, recommends the Labor government restore the “Pacific solution” to stem the wave of asylum seekers arriving in Australian waters by boat. The report calls for the re-opening of offshore processing centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea and for further work on a people-swap deal with Malaysia. PM Gillard accepts all 22 recommendations and introduces legislation in Parliament the next day.
: Foreign ministers of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji meet in Sydney and agree to upgrade diplomatic relations by the exchange of ambassadors. Australia and New Zealand are to ease travel restrictions on civilians working for Fiji’s military regime.
: DM Smith completes a visit to Honolulu for talks with senior United States military officials at United States Pacific Command and to observe Australia’s participation in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 Exercise.
: Director General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service Nick Warner gives a speech on the 60-year history and current roles of the overseas spy service, the first ever public presentation by Australia’s spy master.
: The new four-year Defence Capability Plan is released, with a total cost estimate of A$153 billion.
: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono arrives in Darwin for talks with PM Gillard.
: In Afghanistan, SAS Sergeant Blaine Flower Diddams is killed during an engagement with insurgents.
: Australia says it will take a leading role in negotiating a global Arms Trade Treaty – imposing new controls on illicit cross-border dealings in weapons including automatic rifles, hand guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and ammunition.
: Australia lifts its travel and financial sanctions on Burma, to encourage further democratic reform. As Burma’s second largest bilateral aid donor, Australian aid to Myanmar will more than double to A$100 million a year by 2015. FM Carr makes the announcements after talks with Burma’s Government and Aung San Suu Kyi.
: DM Smith visits China for the inaugural Australia-China Defense Ministers’ Dialogue.
: Australia will assume the leadership of Combined Team-Uruzgan in Afghanistan in late 2012, taking over from the US commander.
: Australia and Malaysia sign a free trade agreement.
: At the NATO-ISAF Summit in Chicago, PM Gillard and Afghanistan’s President Karzai sign a partnership agreement on Australian support beyond the troop withdrawal in 2014.
: An Australia-Japan Information Security Agreement is signed.
: Australia and the US sign joint statements to increase intelligence sharing to combat transnational crime, including terrorism, and to make travel between Australia and the United States easier.
: Final report of the Defence Force Posture Review is released. A new Defence White Paper is to be delivered in the first half of 2013, instead of 2014. Government announces it will provide A$214 million for further detailed studies and analysis to shape the decision on the design of Australia’s next submarine.
: FM Carr goes to Fiji as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group for talks on the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Fiji.
: FM Carr and DM Smith participate in ISAF Ministerial discussions in Brussels.
: In a speech on Afghanistan, PM Gillard identifies mid-2013 as a milestone, when international forces will move to a supporting role across all of Afghanistan and the drawdown of Australian forces will be underway.
: DM Smith visits Afghanistan.
: First rotation of 200 United States Marines arrives in Darwin.
: The foreign and defense ministers of Australia and Indonesia meet for their inaugural “2+2” dialogue in Canberra.
: Former Premier of New South Wales Bob Carr is sworn in as a senator and as Australia’s new foreign minister.
: Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard wins a Labor caucus leadership vote, defeating Kevin Rudd 71 votes to 31.
: Kevin Rudd announces he is resigning as foreign minister because he no longer has the confidence of the prime minister, setting the scene for a Labor leadership challenge.
: First Vietnam-Australia Strategic Dialogue takes place in Canberra.
: Australia and New Zealand launch a new Defence Relationship Framework.
: In Papua New Guinea, a colonel and 30 troops stage a mutiny in Port Moresby in support of the leadership claims of ousted Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare. Within three days, the colonel is under arrest while the troops are granted amnesty.
: FM Rudd and Defense Minister (DM) Stephen Smith attend the annual Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial consultations with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
: Chief of the ADF Gen. David Hurley attends the NATO session on Afghanistan in Brussels.
: In a speech to the Asia Society in New York, Foreign Minister (FM) Kevin Rudd calls for a Pax Pacifica in Asia to replace the Pax Americana.
: Papua New Guinea Supreme Court causes a political crisis by ruling that the PNG Parliament’s election of Peter O’Neill as prime minister in August was unconstitutional. Court orders that the previous PM, Sir Michael Somare, be reinstated. Parliament refuses.
: Australian Labor Party national convention votes to allow the sale of Australian uranium to India. Previously, uranium sales were banned because India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
: China allows the Australian dollar to be directly traded for Yuan, bypassing the need for an intermediate transaction in US dollars.
: President Obama addresses a joint sitting of the Australian Parliament, then flies to Darwin, becoming the first US president to visit the Northern Territory.
: President Barack Obama arrives in Canberra for a visit.
: An attack by a rogue Afghan army soldier, firing from a guard tower, wounds three Australian soldiers and two Afghan soldiers.
Nov. 14, 2011: 14th Annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue is held in Canberra.
Nov. 14, 2011: 14th Annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue is held in Canberra.
: Defense ministers of Australia, Britain, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore convene to mark the 40th anniversary of the Five Power Defence Arrangements, designed to protect Singapore and Malaysia.
: Three Australian soldiers are killed in action when a member of the Afghan National Army opens fire with an automatic weapon during a weekly parade at a forward base in southern Afghanistan. Seven Australian soldiers are also wounded.
: Unable to get a majority in the House of Representatives, Labor abandons its “Malaysia solution” and drops legislation to allow processing of asylum seekers offshore.
: Australian House of Representatives passes law to impose carbon tax from July 2012. The tax is to be paid by the 500 biggest polluters. Opposition pledges to repeal the law.
: US defense secretary and secretary of state meet Australia’s foreign minister and defense minister for the annual Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) Talks. The meeting is in San Francisco to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS treaty.
: At the Pacific Islands Forum in New Zealand, PM Gillard announces an expansion of Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker scheme. Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have been invited to join Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu participating in the pilot scheme for Pacific workers to come to Australia for four to six months to work on farms and orchards.
: In Canberra, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meets PM Gillard.
: The High Court disallows the Federal Government’s “Malaysia Solution,” the July 25 agreement for Australia to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia.
: In Afghanistan, Pvt. Matthew Lambert, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, dies as a result of wounds from an improvised explosive device.
: Australia’s Attorney General issues a certificate under the Defence (Visiting Forces) Act to cover a US Navy officer involved in a collision in Willowbank, Queensland, on July 24, when a cyclist was killed. Queensland police on Aug. 11 had charged the officer with dangerous driving causing death. The officer will be investigated under US military law.
: Assistant Secretary of State Campbell leads the US delegation to attend the 19th annual Australian-American Leadership Dialogue in Perth.
: Secretary of the Defence Department Ian Watt is appointed secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department. Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Duncan Lewis becomes secretary of the Defence Department.
: Australia and Malaysia sign an agreement aimed to stop people-smuggling boats sailing into Australian waters. Australia is to send 800 asylum seekers of such boats to Malaysia.
: DM Smith arrives in the US to meet Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary Clinton to discuss Afghanistan, the US Global Force Posture Review, and the September AUSMIN.
: US Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro, visits Canberra.
: DM Smith announces a review of maintenance and sustainment of Australia’s six Collins-Class submarines, saying problems with the submarines are long standing, deeply entrenched and technically complex.
: DM Smith visits Honiara to discuss the future of the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) to Solomon Islands.
: In Queensland, about 14,000 US and 8,500 Australian personnel start sea, land, and air exercises. The biennial Talisman Sabre is the most complex bilateral exercise Australia conducts with the US.
: In Afghanistan, Sgt. Todd Langley, 2nd Commando Regiment, is killed during an engagement with insurgents.
: The Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba starts patrols in the Middle East as part of the international campaign for maritime security. The deployment is the 26th rotation by an Australian Navy ship to the Middle East area since 2001.
: Australian and New Zealand defense chiefs formalize a plan to use the ANZAC Ready Response Force (RFF) to exercise for joint emergency responses in the region.
: DM Smith announces Australia will undertake a force posture review to assess whether the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is correctly positioned geographically to meet Australia’s strategic and security challenges.
: Australia announces the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo naval combat helicopters at a cost of more than $3 billion. Canberra says a significant advantage would be interoperability with the US Navy, which operates about 100 of the Romeos.
: A Senior Officials Meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue is held in Washington, involving Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Australian Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary Paul Grigson, and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Koro Bessho.
: At a NATO/ISAF Meeting in Brussels, DM Smith, says that following the transition to Afghan-led responsibility for security in 2014 Australia expects to remain in Afghanistan in some form, such as Special Forces operations and security over-watch.
: In a speech on the decade since 9/11, Attorney General Robert McClelland says that since 2000 there have been four major terrorist plots in Australia that had been disrupted by authorities. To date, 38 individuals have been prosecuted as a result of counterterrorism operations and 23 have been convicted; 37 of the 38 people prosecuted are Australian citizens and 21 of the 38 were born in Australia.
: In Afghanistan, Sapper Rowan Robinson, Incident Response Regiment, dies as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an engagement with insurgents.
: DM Smith visits Brussels for the NATO/ISAF Ministers meeting on Afghanistan.
: Lt. Gen. David Hurley is announced as new CDF. Air Marshal Mark Binskin will be vice CDF, Rear Adm. Ray Griggs will be chief of Navy, Maj. Gen. David Morrison will be chief of Army, and Air Vice Marshal Geoff Brown will be chief of Air Force.
: In Afghanistan, Lance Cpl. Andrew Jones, 9th Force Support Battalion, while on guard duty, is shot dead by an Afghan National Army soldier who was also manning the guard tower; Lt. Marcus Case, 6th Aviation Regiment, dies of wounds sustained in the crash of an Australian Chinook helicopter.
: Australia agrees to fund a new scholarship for an outstanding American professor to work with scientists from Australia. The new position, the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Advanced Science and Technology, is created by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian American Fulbright Commission.
: In Afghanistan, Sgt. Brett Wood, 2nd Commando Regiment, is killed by an improvised explosive device during a patrol.
: PM Gillard issues a statement on the US operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, describing it as a “great blow against terrorism.”
: In Washington, Secretary of State Clinton meets FM Kevin Rudd.
: DM Smith and Chief of Defense Forces Angus Houston arrive in Afghanistan to visit Australian forces.
: PM Gillard begins visit to Japan, South Korea, and China, her first bilateral visit as leader to Northeast Asia.
: In Dili, DM Smith has talks on East Timor’s defense and security and meets Australian soldiers deployed in the International Stabilization Force.
: To address the problem of no amphibious ships being serviceable, Australia buys a British Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Largs Bay, which will be commissioned as HMAS Choules.
: PM Gillard, Opposition Leader Abbott, and Governor-General Quentin Bryce, attend New Zealand’s National Memorial Service in Christchurch to commemorate the 65 lives lost in the Christchurch earthquake on Feb. 22.
: PM Gillard becomes the fourth Australian leader to address the US Congress.
: PM Gillard meets Secretary of State Clinton at the State Department.
: In Washington, PM Gillard meets President Barack Obama at the White House.
: Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, visits Canberra.
: Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell visits Canberra for talks with FM Rudd and DM Smith.
: US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano begins a visit to New Zealand and Australia.
: In Afghanistan, Sapper Jamie Larcombe, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, is killed during a battle with insurgents. An Afghan interpreter is also killed.
: PM Gillard pays her first visit as leader to New Zealand and addresses Parliament in Wellington.
: DM Smith announces an inquiry into why the Australian Navy has no amphibious lift ships available because HMAS Manoora, HMAS Kanimbla and HMAS Tobruk are all out of action at the same time. Smith said the Navy’s “can do and make do” culture allowed problems with the ships to build up over a decade.
: In Washington, the first meeting of the steering committee of the Joint Commission on Science and Technology.
: New Zealand DM Wayne Mapp meets DM Smith in Wellington. They task their departments to produce a joint report by July to improve bilateral engagement, strengthen strategic bilateral exchanges and look at complementary military capabilities.
: In Afghanistan, an Australian soldier serving with Mentoring Task Force -2, Cpl. Richard Atkinson, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, is killed by an improvised explosive device.
: Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial talks announce “a comprehensive cyber partnership,” coordinating diplomatic, defense, and security efforts on cyberspace.
: Three men are found guilty of planning a terrorist attack on an Army base near Sydney allegedly in response to Australia’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and by the jailing of other Muslim men on terrorism charges. Prosecutors say the men sought a religious decree from radical sheiks in Somalia to allow them to launch the attack.
: Australia and the US bring into force a new agreement for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear material and technology. The agreement extends rules governing the bilateral transfer and use of nuclear material, and for safeguards to prevent proliferation.
: The Australian Federal Police (AFP) states that the publishing of US embassy cables containing classified information on the WikiLeaks website is not in breach of Australian law: “The AFP has completed its evaluation of the material available and has not established the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction.”
: In Perth, DM Smith meets Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Command.
: Final flights by the Royal Australian Air Force F-111s after four decades of service.
: PM Gillard and DM Smith attend the NATO Summit in Lisbon to agree to the 2014 timeline for handing over control to the Afghan national security forces.
: The 18th APEC Leaders Meeting is held in Yokohama, Japan.
: Leaders of the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US, and Vietnam) meet on the margins of the APEC meeting, to discuss “a regional trade deal and resolved to seek to conclude the ambitious agreement as swiftly as possible.”
: Foreign Minister (FM) Kevin Rudd and Defense Minister (DM) Stephen Smith, host the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Melbourne.
: PM Gillard visits Indonesia; meets President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
: PM Gillard visits Kuala Lumpur; meets Malaysian government ministers.
: The fifth EAS is held in Vietnam; invites the US and Russia to join the EAS.
: PM Gillard makes a statement on the Australian military role in Afghanistan, initiating a full Parliamentary debate.
: Australia joins the maritime exercise Eastern Endeavour 2010, part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), hosted by South Korea in Busan.
: The inaugural ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM+) in Hanoi, involving all members of the East Asia Summit (EAS), together with the US and Russia, agrees to establish expert working groups for counterterrorism, humanitarian and disaster relief, maritime security, and peacekeeping. Australia and Vietnam sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation.
: Asia Europe (ASEM) Summit is held in Brussels. Australia attends for the first time, with Prime Minister (PM) Julia Gillard making her first overseas trip as leader.
: Three Australia soldiers will face court martial over the deaths of six people in Afghanistan. The charges are made after an investigation into a compound clearing operation in Afghanistan on Feb. 12, 2009.
: Labor forms a minority government. The White House says President Obama phoned PM Gillard to offer his congratulations on her successful formation of a government.
: An Australian is killed in Afghanistan. This brings the number of Australians killed since operations began in 2001 to 21, 10 of them so far in 2010.
: Australia’s voters go to the polls but return a hung Parliament.
: Two Australian soldiers are killed when struck by an IED in Afghanistan.
: Australia is confirmed as vice chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation for 2011 and 2012.
: The Pacific Islands Forum summit held in Vanuatu.
: Fiji expels Australia’s acting ambassador in Suva, claiming Australia is interfering in Fiji’s internal affairs.
: One Australian soldier is killed and another wounded following an IED attack in Afghanistan’s Chora Valley.
: Kevin Rudd is deposed as Labor leader and prime minister by Julia Gillard.
: Three Australian commandos are killed when a helicopter crashes in northern Kandahar. Seven of their colleagues are wounded. It is the largest loss of life in a single incident in Australia’s deployment to Afghanistan.
: Two Australia soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan are killed by an improvised explosive Device (IED).
: The Pacific Island Forum Ministerial Contact Group convenes in Auckland for talks with Fiji’s military regime.
: The third 2+2 meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia is held in Tokyo, reflecting what Canberra calls a “substantial strengthening of bilateral defence and security ties.”
: FM Smith visits Shanghai to open Australian Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo.
: Australia and the US sign a new agreement on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. The treaty replaces the existing 1979 agreement, which expires in January 2011.
May 5, 2010: The RAAF accepts delivery from Boeing of two Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEWC) aircraft. The A$3.9 billion project, delayed by four years, is described as having “come a long way” on a “path has not been straightforward.”
May 5, 2010: The RAAF accepts delivery from Boeing of two Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEWC) aircraft. The A$3.9 billion project, delayed by four years, is described as having “come a long way” on a “path has not been straightforward.”
: Australia and the US agree to strengthen emergency management cooperation including during bushfires, major storms, and other severe natural disasters.
: The first coordinated maritime security patrol by the Australia and Indonesian militaries in the waters between Australia and Indonesia is completed. The patrol involves the Australian and Indonesian shared maritime boundaries to the south of West Timor.
: The US and Australia renew their Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, a treaty for cooperative military logistics support.
: The Rudd government drops its scheme for an emissions trading scheme to deal with carbon pollution, citing the political problems of getting the law through Parliament.
: PM Rudd announces the creation in Canberra of a new think tank, the Australian Centre on China in the World.
: China is accused of mounting cyber-attacks against Australia’s major iron ore producers, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals. The claim of internet espionage is made in a TV documentary by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
: Responding to the flow of boat people, Australia places a temporary ban on processing refugee applications by citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq. The government later announces that the Indian Ocean asylum-seeker detention camp at Christmas Island is housing more than its capacity – 2,040 people.
: Australian mining executive Stern Hu is sentenced in a Shanghai court to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of accepting bribes and stealing trade secrets.
: Five F/A-18F fighter jets arrive at Amberley, near Brisbane. The planes are the first of 24 Super Hornets to enter service, the RAAF’s first new fighter jets since 1985.
: Australia and Japan submit a Joint Package on Nuclear Disarmament to the UN, to be considered at the Review Conference of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May 2010.
: First round of talks are held on the creation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership.
: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addresses the Australian Parliament, saying relations “hit an all-time low” in 1999 during the crisis over East Timor’s independence vote. Now, the two have a “fair dinkum” partnership which is “solid and strong.”
: FM Smith visits New Delhi and meets India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Smith gives assurances that Australia is taking the issue of Indian student safety seriously.
: The 50th anniversary of the Australia-US agreement to provide space tracking and communications facilities to NASA.
: PM Rudd releases a Counter-Terrorism White Paper, stating “terrorism has become a persistent and permanent feature of Australia’s security environment.”
: Australian Ambassador to US Kim Beazley takes up the Washington post.
: Five Muslim men are convicted of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act in Australia and given jail sentences of 23 to 28 years. Prosecutors argued the men were planning terrorist attacks to protest Australia’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
: Shanghai’s People’s Court announces details of commercial espionage charges against Australian mining executive Stern Hu and three of his Chinese colleagues, all employees of the mining firm Rio Tinto.
: A statement on Australian policy toward Burma is presented to Parliament by Foreign Minister Smith, maintaining targeted financial sanctions.
: Australia temporarily lifts its travel ban on members of Fiji’s military regime so Fiji’s foreign minister can fly to Canberra for talks with the foreign ministers of Australia and New Zealand.
Feb. 6, 2010: Defense Minister John Faulkner meets NATO defense ministers in Istanbul
to discuss the security and stability of Afghanistan.
Feb. 6, 2010: Defense Minister John Faulkner meets NATO defense ministers in Istanbul
to discuss the security and stability of Afghanistan.
: The new Cyber Security Operations Centre in Canberra, within the Defense Signals Directorate, is officially opened.
: The Haiti earthquake means the postponement of a trip to Canberra by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for the annual AUSMIN talks scheduled for Jan. 18.
: A 21-year-old Indian student is murdered in a knife attack in Melbourne. The death follows other attacks on Indians studying in Melbourne. India’s external affairs minister says “uncivilised, brutal attacks on innocent Indians” will affect ties with Australia.
: South Korea and Australia sign a development cooperation agreement that recognizes South Korea as an important emerging donor and development partner for Australia in Asia.
: Foreign Minister (FM) Smith visits Seoul for talks on the Australia-Korea Security Cooperation Initiative.
: Australia-Japan Report on Eliminating Nuclear Threats is released.
: PM Rudd announces the creation of a National Security College in Canberra headed by former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Michael L’Estrange.
: Australia hosts a track 1.5 conference in Sydney on PM Rudd’s Asia-Pacific community proposal.
: Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Federal Parliament rejects the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme.
: PM Rudd welcomes President Obama’s announcement of a new strategy for Afghanistan as “the best way forward to provide security for the Afghan people.”
: PM Rudd meets President Barack Obama in Washington for talks on climate change and Afghanistan. Rudd says Australia will not increase troop numbers in Afghanistan but will send more police and aid workers.
: Jeffrey Bleich presents his credentials to the governor general as the 24th US ambassador to Australia.
: Australia’s Cabinet approves the first purchase of US joint-strike fighters. The initial 14 F-35s are estimated to cost of A$3.2 billion. Australia plans to buy 100 planes.
: APEC Leaders Meeting in Singapore.
: Prime Minister (PM) Kevin Rudd visits New Delhi to take the relationship with India “to the level of a strategic partnership.” India and Australia announce a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation covering counter-terrorism, defense, disarmament and nonproliferation, and maritime security.
: Sri Lanka and Australia release a Joint Ministerial Statement affirming their commitment to work together to combat people smuggling, the financing of terrorism, and related organized criminal activities.
: Defense Minister John Faulkner in Washington for talks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Afghanistan.
: Official figures show China has replaced Japan as Australia’s largest two-way trading partner. Total trade with China increased by 30 percent to A$83 billion in the financial year ending in June 2009.
: The Fifth Regional Interfaith Dialogue, co-sponsored by Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the Philippines, is held in Perth.
: East Asia Summit (EAS) held in Thailand.
: India-Australia Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue is held in New Delhi.
: G20 summit in Pittsburgh.
: Trilateral Ministerial Meeting between Indonesia, Australia, and East Timor.
: Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Ministerial Meeting in New York among FM Smith, Japanese FM Okada Katsuya, and Secretary of State Clinton.
: Former Labor leader Kim Beazley is appointed Australia’s ambassador to the United States. Former Liberal leader and Defense Minister Brendan Nelson is appointed ambassador to the European Communities (and to Belgium and Luxembourg), Australia’s representative to NATO, and Special Representative to the World Health Organization.
: President Obama’s nominates Jeff Bleich as new U.S. ambassador to Australia.
: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh has talks in Canberra with the Australian Cabinet.
: U.S. and Australia agree to invite China to take part in trilateral defense exercises.
: Fiji is suspended from the Commonwealth because of the military regime’s refusal to commit to a prompt return to democracy.
: The first Australia-New Zealand Joint Cabinet Meeting is held in Sydney, chaired by the two prime ministers.
: PM Rudd speaks to the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue in Melbourne.
: Australia ratifies the Third Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
: Australian Forces in southern Afghanistan kill Mullah Abdul Karim, “a tactical-level insurgent commander active in the Khaz Oruzgan area and known to be directly responsible for numerous attacks against Australian and Afghan forces.”
: Annual Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns.
: Australia’s foreign affairs, defense, and trade ministers in Singapore for the Joint Ministerial Committee with Singapore.
: In Thailand, the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN-Australia Post Ministerial Conference, the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Consultations, and the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue among Australia, Japan, and the U.S.
: Australia implements new UN sanctions against North Korea.
: PM Rudd accompanies FM Smith to Kuala Lumpur to mark the inaugural Australia-Malaysia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
: Mining executive and Australian citizen Stern Hu and three Chinese colleagues are arrested by China for suspected bribery and espionage.
: The 19th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum in Brisbane.
: PM Rudd addresses the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
: Australia announces Pacific Partnership for Development with Vanuatu.
: ASEAN announces that Australia will join the Asian side at the Asia-Europe summit to be held in Brussels in 2010.
: Australia’s signs the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and announces it will enact a specific Australian law against torture.
: The inaugural Australia-Thailand Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation meets in Perth.
: Australian Defense White Paper released.
: Fiji suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum.
: Australia adds an extra 450 troops to its force in Afghanistan.
: Allan Gyngell, founding executive director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, becomes director-general of the Office of National Assessments in the Prime Minister’s Department.
: Indonesia and Australia co-chair Bali meeting on regional cooperation to strengthen borders to combat people smuggling.
: FM Smith and DM Fitzgibbon in Washington for annual AUSMIN talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates.
: G20 summit in London.
: G20 summit in London.
: President Obama and PM Rudd meet at the White House.
: South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visits Canberra for the Australia – Republic of Korea Joint Statement on Enhanced Global and Security Cooperation.
: Annual talks between prime ministers of New Zealand and Australia agree on strengthened trans-Tasman cooperation.
: Trade ministers meet to sign the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).
: The UN Mission mandate in East Timor is renewed until Feb. 26, 2010.
: Australia announces Pacific Partnerships for Development with Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
: Bangladesh and Australia sign a Counter Terrorism Agreement.
: Fiji expels the Australian South Pacific Defense Advisor based at Australia’s embassy in Suva.
: PM Rudd visits Australian troops serving in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.
: Australia-Japan Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations in Tokyo.
: Indonesian President Yudhoyono and PM Rudd co-chair Bali Democracy Forum.
: The Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group visit Fiji for “talks aimed at restoring democracy and the rule of law to Fiji.”
: Australia’s first National Security Statement is published. Maj. Gen. (ret.) Duncan Lewis appointed to the new position of national security adviser to the prime minister.
: Australia signs Treaty on Cluster Munitions.
: The Asia Pacific Centre of Excellence for Civil-Military Cooperation opens near Canberra.
: Indonesia and Australia announce the creation in 2009 in Jakarta of the Australia-Indonesia Disaster Reduction Facility to support Southeast Asia disaster management. The facility will cost U.S$42 million over its first five years.
: G20 summit in Washington.
: The 9th Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum in Canberra.
: Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting in Manila.
: Australia has defense talks with NATO’s Defense and Security Committee on developments in Afghanistan.
: FM Smith chairs a meeting at the UN of member States of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
: Gillian Bird, a deputy secretary of Foreign Affairs, is appointed Australia’s first ambassador to ASEAN.
: In Vietnam, an investigation team finds the grave and ID tags of the last Australian soldier unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
: The 6th Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue is held in Canberra.
: Australia launches a three-year Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme for 2,500 workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu, to do horticultural labor in regional Australia.
: Australia participates as an observer to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Colombo.
: Secretary of State Rice visits Perth.
: Secretary of Defense Gates meets DM Fitzgibbon to sign a treaty extending the U.S. use of the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station at Exmouth in Western Australia for another 25 years. The station provides communications for U.S. and Australian submarines.
: Australia participates in Exercise RIMPAC 2008 in waters off Hawaii.
: FM Smith, Japan’s FM Koumura Masahiko, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meet in Kyoto for the third ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue.
: The Australia-India Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue is held in Canberra.
: Australia’s 550-strong battle group at Tallil in southern Iraq ceases operations.
: Australia expresses deep concern at “serious and credible threats” directed at the Australian High Commission in Suva and calls on Fiji’s military regime to meet its obligations to protect diplomatic staff.
: Australia’s ambassador to Burma makes a plea directly to Burmese ministers to allow in international help to deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.
: Australia withdraws the additional 200 troops deployed to East Timor following the attack in February on President Ramos-Horta.
: The 18th Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum held in Madang.
: The Queen announces that her new representative in Australia is to be Quentin Bryce. She is Australia’s first female governor-general.
: PM Rudd visits Beijing to meet President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, and the new generation of leadership emerging from the 17th Party Congress.
: PM Rudd attends a summit meeting of NATO Heads of Government in Bucharest to decide on ways to improve the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) strategy and mission in Afghanistan.
: PM Rudd visits the U.S. to meet President Bush and visit the UN.
: Indonesia’s DM Juwono Sudarsono meets DM Fitzgibbon for talks on the Australia-Indonesia Lombok Treaty on security cooperation.
: PM Rudd visits Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. In Port Moresby, he announces “a new era of cooperation with the island nations of the Pacific.”
: Annual AUSMIN talks in Canberra involving Australia’s Foreign Minister (FM) Stephen Smith and Defense Minister Fitzgibbon with the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte.
: Defense Minister (DM) Joel Fitzgibbon announces a review of the adequacy of planning for Australia’s Air Combat Capability.
: Prime Minister (PM) Rudd flies to East Timor for talks with PM Gusmao.
: Papua New Guinea and Australia agree to extend the moratorium on mining and drilling in the Torres Strait for an indefinite period.
: East Timor rebels seriously wound President Jose Ramos Horta and attack a convoy carrying Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. Ramos Horta is evacuated to Darwin Hospital and Australia sends extra troops to Dili.
: Indonesian and Australia bring into force the Australia-Indonesia Framework for Security Cooperation (the Lombok Treaty), a framework for security cooperation and defense, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, maritime security and emergency preparedness.
: China and Australia hold their first bilateral Ministerial Strategic Dialogue to consider global issues and strategic outlooks in the Asia-Pacific.
: For the first time, the Royal Australian Navy takes part in the biennial exercise, MILAN, hosted by India’s Joint Military Command, located on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.
: Australia announces a Special Envoy on Whale Conservation as part of the effort to urge Japan “to end the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean.”
: The first official act of the new Rudd government is to sign the instrument of ratification of the UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
: Labor Party wins office in Australia’s federal election.
: PM Howard announces Australian soldiers and police will be sent to Solomon Islands (following request by its PM) to prevent drug dealers and terrorists from exploiting current instability.
: Eleven nation “coalition of the willing” supports U.S. Proliferation Security Initiative in Madrid.
: Speaking in Tokyo, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz indicates that a strategic realignment of U.S. forces could see a greater emphasis placed on Australia in the Pacific region.
: DM Hill says that Australia will increase joint exercises with U.S. forces, allowing the U.S. to conduct their own training operations in Australia, and expand Australian ports facilities for the U.S. Navy.
: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, repeats comments of Australia’s Ambassador to Washington, Michael Thawley: “We know what is right. We do what is needed. We stick by our mates.”
: DM Hill denies report that there are plans to base U.S. military forces in Australia.
: The second round of U.S.-Australia FTA talks negotiations commence in Hawaii.
: PM John Howard visits President Bush in Crawford, Texas.
: PM Howard visits President Bush at his Crawford Ranch in Texas. Bush states that an FTA between the two countries could be completed by the end of the year for submission to the U.S. Congress in 2004.
: Australia’s Defence Minister Robert Hill announces the beginning of “Operation Catalyst,” Australia’s military contribution to assist postwar Iraq.
: U.S. Congress establishes a caucus devoted to Australia. The immediate aim of the “Friends of Australia Congressional Caucus” is to support the U.S.-Australia FTA.
: Australian Navy seizes DPRK vessel, the Pong Su for smuggling illegal drugs.
: U.S. Senate thanks Australia for its support in the war against terror.
: FM Downer visits Washington and New York, meeting with President Bush and his administration.
: PM Howard tells Australian people that he has committed up to 2,000 Defence Force personnel to a U.S. coalition to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. The commitment includes Navy frigates, a Special Forces Task Group, a squadron of F/A-18 aircraft, and C-130 Hercules aircraft.
: President Bush formally asks Australia to be part of the U.S. “coalition of the willing” in military operations against Iraq.
: President Bush advises Saddam Hussein and his sons that they have 48 hours to leave Iraq.
: PM Howard pledges support to the U.S. military campaign in Iraq “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
: First round of Australia-U.S. FTA negotiations begin in Canberra.
: Schieffer says he has noticed wave of anti-Americanism across Australia.
: Crean meets with Schieffer, who agrees not to interfere in domestic Australian politics.
: DFAT releases policy white paper which states, “Australia’s links with the United States are fundamental for our security and prosperity and that the strengthening of our alliance is a key policy aim.”
: Simon Crean, leader of the Australian Labor Party, rejects criticism from U.S. Ambassador to Australia Tom Schieffer that he had indulged in anti-American behavior, broken long-standing bipartisan support for the American alliance, and failed to develop meaningful relationships with members of the Bush administration.
: PM Howard travels to the U.S. for talks. Bush confirms that Australia is part of the U.S. “coalition of the willing” in any military action against Iraq.
: In Canberra, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick formally announces America’s intention to negotiate an FTA with Australia.
: Australia-U.S. ministerial (AUSMIN) talks held in Washington.
: President Bush calls PM Howard to express his country’s deepest sympathies for the Bail bombings, stating that the attack is a reminder that the war against terror must continue.
: Terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia kill 202 people, including 88 Australians and 7 Americans.
: In Canberra, FM Downer delivers speech on the strategic importance of a free trade agreement to Australia-U.S. relations, stating that it is “now a major policy objective for the Government.”
: FM Alexander Downer delivers speech in Dallas, “reaffirming Australia’s commitment to the dynamic and diverse relationship with the United States.”
: Australia joins U.S. in $200 billion development phase of the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.
: Australian PM John Howard meets President Bush at the White House.
: PM Howard visits U.S. and addresses joint session of Congress (the first PM to visit since 1988) and declares: “My friends, let me say to you today that America has no better friend anywhere in the world than Australia.”
: Australian government sends ASIO, federal police, and foreign affairs officials to Camp X-Ray, Guantánamo Bay to interview two Australian captives, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, suspected of al-Qaeda links.
: In a speech on the six-month anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush praises Australia in the fight against terrorism and singles out Sgt. Russell and his family for special praise and remembrance.
: Australia suffers first non-U.S military fatality in Afghanistan when SAS Sgt. Andrew Russell is killed by a land mine.
: After a request from President Bush, PM Howard officially commits 1,550 military personnel to “Operation Enduring Freedom.” The deployment includes two 707 aircraft refuelers, a 150-man SAS squadron, and an Orion Aircraft. Twenty-six other countries also contribute forces.
: U.S. commences “Operation Enduring Freedom” against Taliban forces in Afghanistan, the first conflict in the “war against terror.”
: PM Howard returns from Washington and invokes Article IV of the ANZUS treaty for the first time. Howard declares the terrorist strikes an attack on Australia, and that the invocation of the treaty “demonstrates Australia’s steadfast commitment to work with the United States.”
: Terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania kill more than 3,500 people, including 10 Australians.
: PM Howard meets with President Bush in Washington as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the ANZUS Treaty signed Sept. 1, 1951. The two leaders sign a joint statement reaffirming the strength and vitality of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
: Australia’s Department of Defence releases “Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force,” which affirms that “Australia’s undertakings in the ANZUS Treaty to support the United States are as important as the U.S. undertakings to support Australia.”
: Australia leads a UN sanctioned International Force in East Timor and plays a key role in East Timor’s movement toward independence in 2002.
: Following an interview between Prime Minister Howard and journalist Fred Brenchley in The Bulletin, it is subsequently misreported that Australia is to adopt the role of America’s “deputy sheriff” in its regional foreign policy.
: Indonesia’s President Suharto is forced to resign as an estimated 2,500 people are killed in riots across Jakarta.
: Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade releases “In the National Interest,” which states that “[t]here is no strategic relationship closer than that which Australia shares with the United States, whose strategic engagement and commitment underwrites the stability of East Asia.”
: The Asian financial crisis cripples financial markets in the region. Australia contributes to IMF rescue packages for countries most effected, including Indonesia, Korea, and Thailand.
: Joint Security Declaration is released at the annual Australian-United States Ministerial talks (AUSMIN). The “Sydney Statement” declares that, “[t]he Australia-United States security relationship, having proved its value for five decades, will remain a cornerstone of Asia Pacific security into the 21st century.”
: Taiwan Strait Crisis; PM Howard condemns China’s intimidation of Taiwan’s first democratic elections and supports dispatch of U.S. aircraft carriers to the region.
: John Howard elected prime minister, defeating Labor incumbent Paul Keating.