On July 15, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings and Lowy Institute for International Policy hosted the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, the Australian minister for defense. Minister Fitzgibbon outlined the new government’s priorities and discussed the role of the U.S.-Australia alliance in shaping peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since winning the federal election in late 2007, the new Labor Government led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has sought to re-energize Australia’s foreign and defense policy debates. Minister Fitzgibbon was sworn in as the defense minister on December 3, 2007. He was first elected to Australia’s federal parliament in 1996 as the member representing the Division of Hunter in New South Wales. Since 1998, Minister Fitzgibbon has served on the Labor front bench in a number of portfolios.
Michael Fullilove, Lowy visiting fellow in foreign policy at Brookings and director of the Global Issues Program at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After his remarks, Minister Fitzgibbon took audience questions.