Australia determined to boost defence, clean power
Australia is determined to boost its defence capabilities and strengthen key relationships after a meeting of world leaders in Japan, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says.
Mr Albanese met US President Joe Biden for one-on-one talks and chaired a Quad leaders forum in Hiroshima alongside the Indian and Japanese prime ministers after a scheduled summit in Sydney this week was cancelled.
Addressing parliament on Monday, Mr Albanese said the four Quadrilateral Security Dialogue nations would work to strengthen security and shore up clean energy supply chains.
"Because building and strengthening these ties, nation to nation and at regional groupings, is a key part of how my government is providing a stronger foundation for that better future," he said.
Mr Albanese also spruiked a new clean energy pact he signed with Mr Biden.
"We agree that climate change action is a national security issue," he said.
"(The pact) will expand and diversify our clean energy supply, it will promote a sustainable supply and processing critical minerals, and support the development of clean hydrogen, battery technologies and other clean energy products."
Assurances the president would talk to Congress about granting Australia domestic supplier status was critical as it allowed businesses to access larger opportunities in the US.
Nationals leader David Littleproud said both the G7 leaders meeting and the Quad forum delivered a strong message to China about how other nations would engage with a hostile Beijing, including through the need to diversify investment to avoid economic coercion.
"Australia should be proud of the fact that we stood up to a bully," he said.
In Japan, the Quad leaders issued a statement of principles on clean energy supply chains in the region and a boost to the Indo-Pacific's transition to renewables.
China's increasing militarisation in the Indo-Pacific didn't escape the attention of G7 leaders, who chastised Beijing for using economic coercion and adding to regional instability.
Mr Albanese said Australia had always raised those concerns with China.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the Quad remained an important forum, bringing together four democratic, maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific to promote common values "about the type of region we wish to see".
Mr Albanese also used his trip to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other European Union leaders to discuss free-trade agreement negotiations.
"This will be a very significant agreement for Australia," Mr Albanese said.
The prime minister hopes there will be more progress by the time he attends a meeting of NATO in July.