With Foreign Minister Penny Wong at the helm of foreign policy, the Albanese government has set a strong standard for rebuilding diplomatic ties with Australia’s nearest neighbours. In moving forward, the government should be careful not to treat all relations within the security context that has dominated foreign relations so far. 

On the fringe of the Labor Party’s annual conference in December 2018, then shadow defence minister Richard Marles turned to his colleague Penny Wong and implored her to “fall in love.” Not with him, but with the Pacific. As an unashamed Pacific tragic, Marles stressed that to build deep-seated and long-lasting relationships with the near neighbourhood, Australia and Australians needed to fall in love with the region. And as foreign minister in waiting, Wong needed to lead.

Fast forward to May 2023, and Wong has now been Australia’s Foreign Minister for twelve months.

Please click here to read the full “The Pacific scorecard: How has Penny Wong fared in her first year as Foreign Minister?” article published at Australian Outlook, written by Griffith Asia Institute Senior Research Fellow and Griffith Pacific Hub Lead, Dr Tess Newton Cain.