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High-stakes AUSMIN underlines the importance of the US-Australia alliance

This week, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles travelled to Washington to meet with their US counterparts for the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the first time the Albanese cabinet attended the annual diplomatic forum between the two countries’ foreign and defence policy principals.

As part of AUSMIN, Australia and the United States have announced plans to increase military cooperation and US military presence on Australian soil, so the nations can maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. In so doing, both have also emphasised the increasing role Japan will play as a key strategic partner moving forwards. As United States Studies Centre (USSC) Research Fellow Tom Corben notes in Nikkei Asia, there is a growing recognition in Australia that Japan will not only form a key counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific but also be a critical strategic partner in matters of trade and US-Australia relations.

While the talks did result in a commitment to focus on critical technology for defence, economic resilience and clean energy, the topic emphasised by Director of Emerging Technology Dr Miah Hammond-Errey was left out of the joint statement: mis- and disinformation. Recent USSC polling found 70 per cent of Americans and 58 per cent of Australians were “very concerned” about misinformation in the United States. This sentiment demonstrates the role of AUSMIN can play in tackling these broader alliance issues.


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