Chronology from Sep 2021 to Aug 2022
: PM Albanese establishes an inquiry into the secret actions of previous PM Morrison in appointing himself to administer departments other than the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
: FM Wong addresses the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, introducing herself as “the first Australian Foreign Minister who is from Southeast Asia.”
: FM Wong meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Japan’s Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, in Phnom Penh, expressing their commitment to the trilateral partnership.
: Australia announces a Defence Strategic Review to examine military force structure, force posture and preparedness, and investment priorities.
: US and Australia co-host 2022 Indo-Pacific Chiefs of Defense conference in Sydney.
: New US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy arrives in Australia.
: PM Albanese travels to Fiji for the Pacific Island Forum summit.
: PM Albanese meets President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, promising a “new start’ to relations, following the breach over the Morrison government’s termination of the French submarine contract in 2021.
: PM Albanese arrives in Madrid for the NATO summit.
: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the US launch the Partners in the Blue Pacific Initiative.
: Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles attends Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Rwanda.
: Australia updates its commitment to the United Nations convention on climate change, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, putting Australia on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has talks in Sydney with PM Albanese. Ardern said the new Labor government offered the chance for a “reset” with New Zealand. Albanese said the two countries were in “lockstep” in the South Pacific.
: PM Albanese meets Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.
: At a conference in Fiji with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, 10 South Pacific nations walk away from a trade and security deal, refusing to sign a multilateral agreement with China.
: A Chinese jet flies dangerously close to an RAAF P-8 surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea, releasing aluminium chaff ingested in the P-8’s engine.
: Quad summit in Tokyo involving the leaders of Australia, Japan, India and the United States takes place.
: Labor leader Albanese is sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister. With new Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Albanese departs Canberra for Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad.
: Labor Party wins Australia’s national election, ending nine years of rule by the Liberal-National coalition government. Labor leader Anthony Albanese will be the new prime minister. Outgoing prime minister Scott Morrison steps down as leader of the Liberal Party.
: China announces it has signed a security pact with Solomon Islands. Australia says it is “deeply disappointed” at the agreement which could “undermine stability in our region.”
: Australia’s Minister for Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja flies to Honiara to press the Solomon Islands government not to sign a security cooperation treaty with China.
: PM Morrison announces that Australia’s federal election will be held May 21.
: AUKUS announces trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, to deepen cooperation on defense innovation.
: Australia sends two intelligence chiefs to press Solomon Islands not to sign a proposed security pact with China. Visiting Honiara, head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, Paul Symon, and director-general of the Office of National Intelligence, Andrew Shearer, brief Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Australia’s security fears.
: FM Payne travels to Brussels for a NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting to discuss a “coordinated international response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
: India and Australia sign an economic and trade agreement to eliminate tariffs on more than 85% of Australian goods exports to India and 96% of Indian imports into Australia. PM Morrison said the India deal “built on our strong security partnership and our joint efforts in the Quad, which has created the opportunity for our economic relationship to advance to a new level.”
: Australian journalist Cheng Lei faces a closed trial in Beijing, 19 months after she was detained and accused of providing state secrets to foreigners. Australia’s ambassador to China is barred from attending the trial.
: Australia’s federal budget presented to parliament.
: Top cyber security adviser to President Joe Biden, Anne Neuberger, says the US would invoke the alliance to support Australia if it suffers a major cyberattack.
: After refusing for nearly nine years, Australia announces it will accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees detained at offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
: Australia joins the Netherlands to start legal action against Russia in the International Civil Aviation Organization for downing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014.
: PM Morrison announces plans to increases the size of the Australian Defence Force by 30% by 2040, taking the total permanent ADF to almost 80,000 personnel. Defence’s total permanent workforce is to increase to over 101,000 by 2040 – an increase of 18,500 over the target set in the 2020 Force Structure Plan.
: PM Morrison announces Australia will build a new submarine base on its east coast to support future nuclear-powered submarines.
: A virtual summit of the Quad leaders (Australia, India, Japan, and the US) takes place to discuss Ukraine.
: PM Morrison announces he has COVID-19 and will isolate for seven days while still performing all responsibilities as prime minister.
: PM Morrison and FM Payne condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, announcing financial and business sanctions.
: Australia reopens borders to all visa holders who are double-vaccinated against COVID-19, allowing in tourists, business travelers, and other visitors.
: Patrol aircraft on a surveillance flight over Australia’s northern approaches is illuminated by laser by a Chinese Navy vessel. Australia protests to China, calling the lasing “a serious safety incident.”
: 4th Quad foreign ministers meeting held in Melbourne.
: FM Payne notes the one-year anniversary of the detention of Australian Professor Sean Turnell by “the Myanmar military,” repeating the call for his immediate release.
: Australia joins the US, European Union, and others in a joint statement marking the one-year anniversary of Myanmar’s military coup, expressing “grave concern” and pointing to the coup’s “devastating impact.”
: Australia’s Air Force announces it will deploy aircraft and personnel to Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands for joint exercises with the US and Japan.
: Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) 2022, in Sydney, involving defense and foreign ministers, pledge deepening strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
: President Biden nominates Caroline Kennedy to be US ambassador to Australia
: President of South Korea Moon Jae-in visits Canberra to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Moon and PM Morrison announce creation of a comprehensive strategic partnership. Canberra locks in a billion-dollar weapons contract with South Korea, the largest-ever military deal with an Asian nation.
: Australia says it will not send official representatives to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
: At the first “Sydney Dialogue,” PM Morrison announces Australia’s Blueprint for Critical Technologies, listing 63 critical technologies.
: Canberra updates guidelines to strengthen Australian universities against foreign interference.
: ASEAN-Australia Informal Defence Ministers’ Meeting takes place.
: FM Payne leaves to visit Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia to discuss recovery from COVID-19 and the new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Australia.
: With COVID restrictions lifted, Australians are allowed to travel overseas without quarantining for 14 days on return.
: At climate summit in Glasgow, PM Morrison pledges Australia will reach net zero emissions by 2050 by “driving down the cost of technology and enabling it to be adopted at scale.”
: PM Morrison and FM Payne virtually attend inaugural ASEAN-Australian Leaders’ Summit, whichagrees to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Australia. Morrison told the summit that “AUKUS does not change Australia’s commitment to ASEAN or the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.”
: Australian federal government provides $1.33 billion so Australia’s Telstra can buy Digicel Pacific, the top telecommunications operator in Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Fiji. The move blocks a possible sale of Digicel to China.
: Australia implements legislation for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
: United States Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) departs from the Northern Territory at the end of its rotation.
: FM Marise Payne convenes and co-chairs fourth virtual Pacific Women Leaders’ Network meeting.
: Australia supports international statement expressing deep concern at “the dire situation in Myanmar, and its worsening implications for regional stability,” and supporting the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar.
: Defence Minister Peter Dutton chairs annual South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting.
: Regional processing in Papua New Guinea of “people who have attempted to travel to Australia illegally by boat” ends, with the PNG contract to cease on Dec. 31, 2021.
: Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary) of the Five Power Defence Arrangements between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Britain, and New Zealand, marked by Exercise BERSAMA GOLD 21, conducted across Singapore, Malaysia and parts of the South China Sea.
: PM Morrison gives a virtual address to the UN General Assembly.
: Agreement reached on “an enduring regional processing capability in Nauru,” supporting the policy that would-be asylum seekers trying to reach Australia by boat are transferred to Nauru for assessment of claims.
: President Biden and PM Morrison meet in New York.
: Taiwan applies to join the CPTPP.
: US Defence Logistics Agency awards contract to build the largest fuel storage facility in Darwin, to hold 300 million liters of fuel.
: Responding to concerns about Australia’s approach to the region because of the new AUKUS partnership, Australia’s ambassador to ASEAN makes a statement on “Australia’s steadfast commitment to ASEAN centrality,” supporting the “objectives and principles of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.”
: France recalls ambassadors from Washington and Canberra in protest at Australia’s submarine switch, calling US and Australian behavior “unacceptable between allies and partners.”
: 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations AUSMIN takes place in Washington.
: China applies to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership. As one of 11 members of CPTPP, Australia has a veto over China’s proposed membership.
: Australia-South Korea Foreign and Defence Ministers 2+2 Meeting takes place in Seoul.
: Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says a Labor government will make climate change “central to the US alliance.”
: Inaugural India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between Foreign and Defence Ministers takes place in New Delhi.
: Indonesia-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministers 2+2 meeting takes place in Jakarta.