Australia Morrison squibs his Packer-Bond moment with Boris
Scott Morrison asks global allies to defend freedom over autocracy, warning of competition with China
G7 leaders are planning an ambitious pledge on climate change but the Prime Minister will stand apart from other advanced economies by not going any further on Australia's existing commitments.Prime Minister Scott Morrison will seek a new commitment from Australia's global allies to defend a world order that favours freedom over autocracy, warning of a strategic competition with China that parallels the uncertainties of the 1930s.
You know that the so-called Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement is small beer whendeclines to “exaggerate the overall increase of respective GDPs from this”, and says “it’s more important politically and symbolically”.
The numbers being bandied around about the benefits are rounding errors for both economies —and , though at least the UK media immediately placed the numbers under scrutiny rather than parroting them like Australian journalists did.
The fact that Australia got so little, especially for its beef exporters, who’ll have to wait until the late 2030s for proper access to the UK, is economically irrelevant but interesting politically.
Boris Johnson joins Scott Morrison's first meeting with US President Joe Biden at G7 summit
Scott Morrison's widely anticipated first meeting with US President Joe Biden has an unexpected guest in the form of British PM Boris Johnson, as hopes of Australia's borders being reopened in the near-future are dashed.It was widely thought Scott Morrison's first meeting with US President Joe Biden would be a bilateral encounter, as is usual on the sidelines of a leaders' summit.
Video: Boris Johnson ‘making it up as he goes along’ (Sky News Australia)
Scott Morrison had a potential Packer-Bond moment here — Boris Johnson was desperate for a deal, any deal, to demonstrate that he had a plan for post-Brexit Britain and an economy that’s been smashed by COVID. In the March quarter, the UK’s GDP was 6% smaller than in February last year and it was still arguing with the EU about trade and border details. A “symbolic” deal was indeed important, to suggest Johnson had some kind of plan.
We’ve been here before, of course — right here in Australia. Tony Abbott in 2014 was in the same position as Johnson — no agenda other than stopping the boats, pretending to be fiscally disciplined, and free trade agreements that he claimed would deliver massive benefits (none of which have ever materialised).
Australian frigates to join Britain in naval exercises in Indo-Pacific, as Morrison builds ties at G7
Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the deeper military cooperation with United States President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Group of 7 summit in Britain.Australian frigates will join a British carrier strike group in naval exercises in the Indo-Pacific in a show of strength against China as the world's wealthiest democracies vow to confront Beijing's economic coercion.
In particular, Abbott was desperate to get a free trade deal with Xi Jinping, and abandoned years of negotiation aimed at protecting Australia’s interests in order to secure one. He even promised to revive the dormant extradition treaty between Australia and China as part of the price for getting a deal.
As it turned out, Xi played Abbott for a sucker, with a deal that was a dud before China binned it out of confected outrage at Australia, though fortunately Labor opposition and a Liberal revolt stopped the endorsement of an extradition treaty.
Morrison’s relatively poor return from the UK suggests he failed to exploit Johnson in the way Xi exploited Abbott, and demand much better terms or walk away, leaving Johnson dangling. It wouldn’t have made any difference economically, but it would have been a useful sop to the Nationals, who believe in mercantilist notions about market access. Apart from UK multinationals, which will get the right to sue the Australian government, the only benefits of these trade deals are political. And on that score, Johnson has come out ahead.
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Scott Morrison's secret G7 side trip to explore his family history .
Scott Morrison's office spent weeks planning a secret G7 side trip for the Prime Minister to explore his convict family roots.London: Scott Morrison's office spent weeks planning a G7 side trip to explore his convict family roots while the Prime Minister publicly argued Britain was too risky for Australian travellers.