Politics with Michelle Grattan: British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell on AUKUS and climate change

Originally published on theconversation.com

The New AUKUS security agreement has bound Australia even more tightly to the United States and Britain. But it has brought blowback against all three countries from France – which was blindsided by the cancellation of its contract to supply submarines to Australia.

On another front, Australia is under intense pressure from its two “great and powerful friends”, the US and the UK, to improve its ambition on climate change in the run up to the Glasgow conference.

In the wake of AUKUS and on the cusp of Glasgow, we talk to Britain’s High Commissioner to Australia, Vicki Treadell, about security and climate.

Treadell says Britain is “deeply disappointed at the reaction from France” following the AUKUS announcement – which included the French cancelling defence talks with the United Kingdom.

“We would hope that they will see the bigger picture, that our partnership from a strategic defence and security point of view should not be diminished. The areas where we already work with them, and likewise America and Australia too. All those things remain for us to work together on.”

“Obviously, they are disappointed, but I don’t think they should regard it or interpret it as a loss of trust.”

She says the French should bear in mind “there is a far more important strategic dynamic to safeguard, to ensure stability and peace in the region”.

As for Britain’s part in AUKUS, the “gravity has shifted to this region in terms of geopolitics, economics, and therefore we need to be part of this region engaged with it”.

Looking to Glasgow, “We want to see high ambition from all the countries participating in COP 26. We see this as a really important economic agenda for the world, the economic transition that we need to make.”

“I know that Prime Minister Morrison is working hard towards this, but we do understand the politics of Australia and all we can do as good friends and partners is to encourage and to say that we will be there to work with Australia to realise that level of ambition.”

“Australia has a huge opportunity to become a global leader in […] key clean industries of the future. Australia has an almost unparalleled opportunity to create jobs and growth domestically and also to produce the key inputs needed for economies around the world to decarbonise inputs like clean hydrogen, green materials like steel and aluminium.”

Additional audio

A List of Ways to Die, Lee Rosevere, from Free Music Archive.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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