PM reveals first words to Macron after submarine fallout

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Scott Morrison has used the G20 gathering of world leaders to begin the process of healing the relationship with France after Australia tore-up a $90 billion submarine deal with it earlier this year.

While the prime minister has not secured talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, he was able to grab a few words with him.

"I went up and just put my arm on his shoulder, I said 'G'day Emmanuel and look forward to catching up over the next couple of days', which I assure you, that's the way these things work," Mr Morrison told reporters.

"He was happy to exchange those greetings, and we've known each other for a while. But you know, it's just the process of being on the road back."

macron
Emmanuel Macron and Scott Morrison met at the G20 Summit for the first time since the fallout over AUKUS's submarine deal. Source: Reuters

Morrison raises China probe once again

Saturday's G20 session focused on health and economic security.

Mr Morrison said there was a very strong view about the need to lift the level of vaccination rates amongst developing countries.

"That's not just about getting doses," Mr Morrison said.

"It's about getting the jabs literally in the arms and the process that is needed to achieve that and the distribution system and the training of people and the physical process of organising for those and then indeed the production of the vaccines themselves."

French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison walk in front of the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Emmanuel Macron and Scott Morrison pictured in June. Source: Reuters

He was able to speak positively of the role Australia is playing through its commitment to the COVAX facility and the more than $600 million that has been spent supporting vaccination programmes, but also the 60 million doses being rolled out across the region.

Mr Morrison again raised the need to know where the pandemic originated, which has previously soured Australia's relationship with China.

"There is no agenda in that, it is just a very straightforward need that we have the best prepared world for a future pandemic," he said.

"And there was again strong support for giving greater strength to the World Health Organisation to ensure that they have the capacity to be able to take stronger action, particularly at the onset of an outbreak."

He also raised the need to make the digital world safe.

"I've had very good feedback on that and the fact that in Australia, there's great concern shared by the government about the way digital planning platforms operate ... for people to engage in harassing, victimising behaviour," he said.

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