Australia-US/East Asia

Chronology from Sep 2014 to Aug 2015

: 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 Forcemerging 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.

Date Range