Nuclear Subs Agreement and Prime Minister’s French Controversy Question DFAT’s Influence: Penny Wong | Canberra Times

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A recent diplomatic dispute between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the French has called into question the councils and the influence of the government’s diplomatic experts, Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman has warned. Senate Opposition Leader Penny Wong also challenged how much input her fellow Secretary of State Marise Payne had in the row. It comes as tensions between the Australian and French governments peaked last week after Mr Morrison was accused of lying to French President Emmanuel Macron. Days later, the French ambassador to Australia described the prime minister’s alleged leak of private texts between the two as a “new low”. The Department of State and Commerce had either lost its influence in shaping foreign policy and diplomacy or were “not as competent as they should be,” the Labor senator said in an interview with Lowy Institute director Michael Fullilove, published Monday. . Senator Wong said recent events showed that the Morrison government did not consider diplomacy and international relations a priority. “With all due respect to my counterpart, I think in part [Senator Payne’s] influence has also been diminished because it does not appear that the foreign minister is a key player in some of the major decisions when it comes to foreign policy and international relations, “she said.” When making a decision in national interests, like you know, becomes a difficult decision to land, you have to do all the work and you have to focus on what it is we can do to minimize the setback, minimize the damage. “Obviously it was not done.” Senator Payne met with French Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault ahead of his speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday last week. The hour-long meeting was a “constructive discussion” about repairing the relationship following the announcement of AUKUS and the dumping of a $ 90 billion French-Australian submarine deal, Senator Payne said. Tensions rose again during the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November after media reports cast doubt on whether Mr Macron and US President Joe Biden were completely in the dark about Australia’s intention to cancel the French submarine deal. The French ambassador told the press club’s audience that the agreement also included the sharing of top-secret information in a growing strategic partnership between the two countries on security priorities in the Indo-Pacific region. Thebault said it had been a “major collapse of confidence” and signaled to other countries that one could not trust Australia’s words. “These are not things done between partners, much less between friends,” he said. READ MORE AUKUS NEWS: Senator Wong said key lessons could be learned from the diplomatic clash, hoping an internal review would be conducted by the department to determine how to better deal with problems in the future. “I hope that those in the leadership of the department and the wider national security community take the opportunity to reflect on that,” she said. “I think there are demonstrable errors from our leaders, politicians, some demonstrable errors from Mr Morrison.” I hope on a bureaucratic level that there are some considerations about that. , instead of career diplomats, was at a record high, suggesting a problem for Australia. The trend was a problem, she said, but there were examples where political appointees were not always negative. In the government, Senator Wong, as a foreign minister, said she would work to stop the rising trend of political appointees. “I think some politicians can be very good mission leaders, and there are certain positions where having someone, as you know, the weight of their history and bringing with them is the capital of their personal relationship with senior people in government. a good thing, “she said. “But I think there are so many messages that we’ve seen where you want some ne with more diplomatic capacity, rather than a political person.” What I want to do is try to assess whether you have the right person for the job or not. “The Canberra Times has approached the DFAT for a response to the senator’s comments. Our journalists are working hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. How to Continue Access our reliable content:


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