Chair of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, senator David Fawcett, has announced parliamentary inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s defence, trade and international relations.
The reality of COVID-19 has prompted Australia’s political and strategic apparatus to accept that the nation’s preparedness and resilience to an age of disruption in a globalised world is lacking.
While the subject du jour – enhancing Australia’s national resilience, sovereignty and security – is alive and well, the debate means Australia will ultimately be the winner.
With each passing day the impact of the coronavirus upon global supply chains is becoming painfully apparent, with Australia’s economy teetering on the edge of disaster, national resilience declining and public support for a co-ordinated response growing.
In response, Senator Fawcett has formally confirmed that the Commonwealth government will be initiating an inquiry into the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Australia’s foreign affairs, defence and trade.
Senator Fawcett said, "The pandemic has highlighted some serious challenges in Australia's defence and diplomatic environment and has put real pressure (both health and economic) on many countries in the Asia-Pacific region."
The JSCFADT will inquire into the strategic implications of COVID-19, having particular regard to:
- Implications for Australia’s foreign affairs, defence and trade policy, particularly with respect to strategic alliances and regional security;
- Threats to the global rules-based order that emerged due to actions by nation-states during the pandemic, and how such threats can be mitigated in the event of future crises;
- The impact on human rights;
- Supply chain integrity/assurance to critical enablers of Australian security (such as health, economic and transport systems, and defence);
- What policy and practical measures would be required to form an ongoing effective national framework to ensure the resilience required to underpin Australia’s economic and strategic objectives; and
- Any related matters.
"These hearings will help the committee understand what we need to do better as a nation to work with others in our region to get through these difficult times, to protect our national interest, and to maximise the positive impact of our international influence," Senator Fawcett added.
The inquiry will consider policy and practical measures that could form an ongoing effective national framework to ensure the resilience required to underpin Australia’s economic and strategic objectives.