Scott Morrison touts new global security alliances during UN meeting

Australia’s global strategic partnerships have been the focus of a speech by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the fourth day of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a pre-taped video statement, Mr Morrison touted Australia’s $100 million contribution to the Quad Vaccine Partnership “with our good friends the United States, India and Japan”.

“This will support a boost in production by at least 1 billion doses by the end of 2022 and provide access to vaccines and delivery support to countries across the Indo-Pacific,” Mr Morrison said.

As Mr Morrison’s message aired inside UN headquarters in New York, the Prime Minister met in person with the Quad leaders in Washington at their first summit.

Mr Morrison joined US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, infrastructure and technological cooperation.

During his message to the United Nations, Mr Morrison also touted Australia’s new AUKUS security pact, under which Australia will be provided with nuclear-powered submarines, a move that has been roundly denounced by Beijing.

Mr Morrison said AUKUS was “designed to further the cause of peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region for the benefit of all who live within that region”.

“Australia’s interests are inextricably linked to an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific region where the rights of all states, no matter how large or how small, are protected,” he said.

“We must reinforce a sustainable rules-based order while ensuring it is also adaptable to the great power realities of our time.”

PM says technology key to combating climate change 

Mr Morrison praised the countries’ efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, saying “Australia has a proven track record of … setting, achieving and exceeding” commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

He said “practical scalable and commercially viable technologies” were the key to achieving global emission reductions “while still lifting living standards across all nations”.

“That’s why we’re investing $20 billion to commercialise promising new technologies like clean hydrogen, green steel, long-duration energy storage, and carbon capture — vital to meeting the global task to achieve net zero emissions.”

Speaking via video link from New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urged world leaders to give the highest priority to reducing emissions.

“Any global response that fails to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels is unacceptable,” she said.

She said climate change was “one of the most pervasive crises of our time”.

“The impacts are global in scope, unprecedented in scale and happening right now,” she said.

“Climate change touches all of our lives but countries in the Pacific are some of the most affected, despite having contributed least to the problem.”

“Pacific leaders view climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security, and wellbeing of the peoples of the region.”

PNG calls on big carbon emitters to ‘own up and apologise’

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape echoed Ms Ardern’s words in his speech, using his live address to the UN to call for greater action on climate change.

“It is time the big carbon emitters of planet Earth own up and apologise to the small island states and all other victims of climate change,” he said. “And I make this statement with no apologies.”

Mr Marape said children and families were living in “fear and uncertainty” as they watched sea levels rise and “the structures that their lives are built upon slip away”.

“Today I make a call for all of us, especially to the big carbon-emitting nations who are now enjoying their national economic transformations through industrialisation, to pause, think, and take responsibility to save our planet.”

Mr Marape said it was disappointing PNG had so far “had limited or no success” in accessing climate change funding and said it should be considered separate from official development assistance.

Mr Marape said he was “comforted” by recent climate action announcements from the US, Britain and China, but there had been “enough talk” and more action was needed for the “survival of Earth”.

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