Australia’s parliamentary sitting under new PM begins

The first Australian parliamentary sitting under newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will take place in Canberra today. Albanese’s progressive Labour

Australia PM Albanese

Australia’s first parliamentary sitting will take place in Canberra under newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. | Photo: Issei Kato/Pool via Reuters

The first Australian parliamentary sitting under newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will take place in Canberra today. Albanese’s progressive Labour Party won a decisive majority in May, giving it a clear mandate to upend Australian politics, which had been dominated by the conservative Liberal Party since 2013.

Albanese promised to champion diversity and inclusion and appointed a record number of women to his cabinet, including the first Aboriginal woman to lead the Indigenous Australians ministry. He also promised stronger relations with Pacific countries to counter China’s growing assertiveness—a promise underlined by recent visits to the Quad summit in Tokyo and to Indonesia. Most notably, he vowed to end Australia’s status as a major carbon polluter and to end the country’s fossil fuel dependency and move toward net zero.

This parliamentary sitting is expected to lay the foundation for Australia’s energy transition, but also to focus on measures to mitigate the country’s largest COVID-19 outbreak yet. Another open question is Canberra’s future relationship with China, which has become increasingly hostile in recent years, leading to Beijing imposing sanctions on many Australian goods. Albanese will have to walk a fine line between improving relations with Beijing and fulfilling his promise to enhance relations with other Pacific nations.

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