Collaboration in the face of adversity
G7 Summit

Collaboration in the face of adversity

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed lives and livelihoods around the world. It has kept us apart from our families, friends and loved ones, and made the smallest geographical distances seem like vast chasms.
But while Australians have been affected deeply by this physical distance, the diplomatic ties we share with our friends around the globe have rarely felt so close.

The level of international cooperation over the past year has proven what Australia and our close allies have always known to be true: when working together, like-minded liberal democracies can be a powerful force for good.

Australia is honoured to be a guest at the 2021 G7 Cornwall Summit, alongside India, Korea and South Africa. Our nation has much to contribute to this important gathering.

Our quick and decisive action to address the consequences of COVID-19 has seen Australia achieve some of the best health and economic outcomes in the world.

All Australians have contributed to this success.

But Australians are also aware that this is a global challenge, requiring a global solution. COVID-19 respects no borders.

Equitable distribution of vaccines globally is a critical concern for the UK G7 presidency, as it is for Australia.

Australia has led by providing emergency vaccines to our nearest neighbours, including Papua New Guinea. We are working with our Quadrilateral partners – India, Japan and the United States – to manufacture and distribute one billion more doses across the Indo-Pacific by 2022.

We are also increasing our pandemic preparedness, and ensuring our collective defences against future pandemics are strengthened by a global health system that is well governed, responsive and highly resourced in combating future health crises.

And, of course, we are looking for safe ways to open up international borders to greater trade and travel, so that we can re-establish our human connections.

Australia and the G7 share a great deal of common ground on these issues.

It is a privilege to reaffirm our shared values as open democratic societies and identify opportunities to strengthen our cooperation across many other areas of shared interest.

Together we can respond to economic coercion and foreign interference, as well as prevent the misuse of technology by ensuring technological developments reflect liberal democratic values and norms.

On security, Australia will continue working with partners in the G7 and more broadly to ensure our collective strategic interests are protected against those that seek to do us harm.

This includes maintaining an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, underpinned by the rule of law and respect for sovereignty.

On gender equality and women’s empowerment, Australia could not be more steadfast in our commitment to real progress, including addressing the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on women.

Australia led the way at the G20 Brisbane Summit in securing a commitment to reduce the gap between women’s and men’s workforce participation by 2025. We continue to push for its achievement.

And on climate, Australia will continue to advocate an ambitious agenda that puts technological solutions and research and development at the heart of the pathway to net zero emissions.
Getting low-emissions technologies to technical and commercial parity will make net zero achievable – not just for advanced economies, but also for developing countries that will no longer have to choose between growth and decarbonisation.

The G7 focus on climate adaptation and resilience resonates strongly, following the devastating bushfires, cyclones and flooding Australians have endured in recent years, as well as the loss and destruction many of our close Indo-Pacific neighbours have experienced from increasingly severe natural disasters.

What this recent period has underlined is that institutions and forums such as the G7, the G20, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development matter – profoundly.

As great liberal democracies, our collective leadership can guide the global economic recovery and drive genuine progress on the core global and strategic issues that define our time.

We can leverage the trust we share to form new habits and modes of partnership. And clearly articulate the opportunities these partnerships create: to promote and defend our shared values and interests, and to continue to shape international rules and norms for the benefit of all.

We should not take our values for granted. We should defend what is important to us, and remain the masters of our destiny. Through doing so, we set an example to all other nations that share our values, demonstrating that they too have choices and strong allies in resisting coercion in the pursuit of their own sovereign interests.

We have a rich history of cooperation to draw on as we take our next steps together. We have done it before and we can do it again through each country playing its part.

Australia may have been physically separated this past year, but we have never been more tied to our region, or to the global community of nations whose aspirations for a peaceful, stable and prosperous future we share.

Australia is pleased to bring our Indo-Pacific perspective to the G7 in 2021, to offer our own experiences, and contribute to this critical agenda.