Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds attended a virtual meeting with counterparts from other Five Eyes nations, held via teleconference on 22-23 June. Officials from the informal intelligence alliance – comprising of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US – met amid global turmoil to discuss pressing geostrategic issues.
Though pandemic restrictions continue to impinge on regular intergovernmental diplomacy, Minister Reynolds said that she had conducted "over 25 virtual calls with key international counterparts".
As of Tuesday, this included a meeting of the Five Eyes nations – the world's oldest intelligence partnership.
The news comes amid unprecedented internal tensions within the Anglosphere, as countries grapple with both a pandemic and the diplomatic fallout over 5G rollout.
"Strengthening Australia’s defence relationships is one of my top priorities, which is why I have maintained a high-tempo of international engagement during COVID-19," she said.
The minister added that she convened the meeting to discuss means to strengthen the Five Eyes defence partnership, in an increasingly complex and challenging geopolitical environment.
"I am pleased that we have agreed to meet regularly to continue these productive discussions,” Minister Reynolds said.
Ministers reportedly committed to meet regularly as part of efforts to address existing and emerging security challenges, and to advance their shared values of democracy, freedom and respect for human rights.
According to Minister Reynolds' office, the ministers also discussed new opportunities for Five Eyes partners to further strengthen their relationship, build resilience, address challenges to international rules and norms and advance co-operation across key lines of effort.
No further detail has been provided on when and where ministers plan to meet, or any projects planned for deepening integration – though in the past, collaboration agreements have been bolstered by the introduction of formal committees such as the Five Eyes Intelligence Oversight and Review Council (FIORC).