CPA UK were pleased to host a virtual bilateral meeting with parliamentarians from across three time zones in the UK and Australia on 6 August 2020.
Participants began by acknowledging the devasting explosion in Beirut that had taken place the day before Sen the Hon. David Fawcett (Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade) praised the British Embassy in Beirut for their assistance to Australian citizens after the Australian Embassy was damaged in the explosion and unable to provide consular support. This amity really set the tone for the rest of the discussion.
After a brief exchange on how the Parliaments had adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, discussions focused on how the respective Parliaments had responded to recent security challenges. Participants reflected on the close intelligence relationship Australia and the United Kingdom shared and stressed the importance of a united response to regional security challenges.
Participants from Australia included Sen the Hon. Scott Ryan (President of the Senate), Sen the Hon. David Fawcett (Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade), Hon. Dr John McVeigh MP (Chair of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works), Hon. Kevin Andrews MP (Chair of Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System, Nick Champion MP (Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (Member of the Opposition) and Andrew Wallace MP (Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade).
UK parliamentarians included The Rt Hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns PC DBE (Chair of the International Relations and Defence Select Committee), Angus Brendan MacNeil MP (Chair of the International Trade Committee), Lord Simon Russell of Liverpool (Deputy Chair of Committees - Lords) and The Rt Hon. the Baroness Taylor of Bolton (Chair of the Constitution Committee - Lords).
The discussion was facilitated by Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Chair of CPA UK Executive Committee.