Joyce in charge while PM travels to Rome and Glasgow

By Melissa Coade

Thursday October 28, 2021

The PM will be flying with Angus Taylor
The PM will be flying with Angus Taylor. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Scott Morrison has confirmed that Barnaby Joyce will act in his place while the prime minister represents Australia at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Italy and then the COP26 climate change conference in Scotland

The PM will be flying with industry, energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor to meet with world leaders, with climate change action top of the agenda.

“These important international meetings come as the world has reached a critical point in our health response and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and our collective effort to address the challenges of climate change,” Morrison said in a statement. 

“Additionally, I will use this opportunity to meet bilaterally with key partners.”

Morrison and Taylor’s trip abroad comes just as Australia starts to open its international borders to the rest of the world. In Rome they will meet with G20 leaders to identify a plan for the more equitable distribution of safe and effective vaccines, and measures to prevent future pandemics by strengthening global health governance.

Other items on the G20 agenda include a sustainable and resilient plan for recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and G20 goals concerning debt sustainability, high quality infrastructure investment, gender equality and women’s workforce participation.

“The G20 also has a key role in ensuring we can fully harness the benefits of increased digitalisation during the recovery,” Morrison said. 

“I look forward to raising how we can enhance confidence in the digital environment, including by ensuring it is safe and secure for users.”

At the highly anticipated United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the PM said discussions about the global effort to address future challenges were crucial. Earlier this week he announced that the Coalition government had agreed on a plan for Australia to work towards a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050 — achieved by reducing the costs of new technologies and easing regulations on identified plantation and forest projects.

“I look forward to supporting Prime Minister Johnson, as host of COP26, to achieve our Paris Agreement objectives and collaborate to collectively deliver net zero emissions by 2050,” Morrison said.

“Additionally, I will use this opportunity to meet bilaterally with key partners.”

Following Morrison’s last overseas trip to Washington D.C. last month, where the first Quad summit meeting between Australia, Japan, India and the USA occurred, the PM said the alliance of nations were committed to pursuing ‘efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. At that time, Morrison was still using language that danced around the 2050 net-zero emissions target, describing it as ‘preferable’.

“We affirm our support to small island states, especially those in the Pacific, to enhance their economic and environmental resilience,” Morrison said last month.

“We will continue our assistance with Pacific Island countries on responses to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and on quality, sustainable infrastructure, as well as partner to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, which poses especially serious challenges for the Pacific.”

On Thursday The Mandarin reported on a new class action being brought against the Australian government by two Torres Strait community leaders, who claim the commonwealth failed to act on climate change, and is therefore breaching a duty of care.

Deputy prime minister and leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce will serve as acting PM while Morrison is away from October 28 to November 4.


READ MORE:

PM to attend Glasgow as government finalising new climate policy

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