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The Motivation Behind World Leaders’ Public Congratulations for Prime Minister Albanese

As the news of Prime Minster Albanese’s election spread across the world Saturday night, the customary congratulations from Australia’s allies rolled in, wishing the new PM and his Labor cabinet well for the future.

As the news of Prime Minster Albanese’s election spread across the world Saturday night, the customary congratulations from Australia’s allies rolled in, wishing the new PM and his Labor cabinet well for the future. But in politics, nothing is as simple as it may seem, and even the most customary message of goodwill has some motivation behind it. Thus, the question must be asked, what do the various world leaders have to gain from a public congratulations towards Prime Minster Albanese?

Jacinda Ardern  New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are joined by the hip, often lumped together by the international community for our geographical proximity and cultural similarities. Subsequently, Prime Minister Ardern’s quick congratulations for Anthony Albanese was expected, calling him right as he was ‘on his way to give his speech to supporters’1. Ardern further called the Trans-Tasman relationship ‘strong and enduring’, ‘regardless of leader, regardless of party’2. Arderns good spirits are likely an attempt to butter up the Labor party before looming row over the former administrations ‘501’ deportation policy, which saw New Zealanders living in Australia being deported on the basis of character as opposed to criminal record, is brought to light3.

Albanese has maintained that ‘Australia’s national interests’ are his prime concern as regards deportation policy, forecasting a serious disagreement between the two Prime Ministers4. Nonetheless, the well wishes of the New Zealand PM was warmly welcomed and there is expected to be little breakdown in the Australia-New Zealand relationship as pertains to travel, trade and security.

Boris Johnson  the United Kingdom

The backbone of a traditional Tory foreign policy is a strong relationship between Great Britain and its former colonies. Subsequently, Boris Johnson was quick to congratulate the new PM on Twitter, stating he was enthusiastic regarding ‘our comprehensive free trade agreement, the AUKUS partnership and pointed out the closeness of Australians and  Britons.5 Albanese subsequently called Johnson, to affirm ‘the strength of Australia’s close relationship with the United Kingdom’6.

In the wake of Brexit, a free trade agreement with Australia was seen as an overwhelming win for the Johnson government, and such, maintaining economic ties between the nations is essential in signposting the stability of the post-EU British economy7. The AUKUS partnership meanwhile, which the Labor party have pledged support for, is essential for the UK to maintain its position as a proactive defensive power8.

Simply, Australia is a legacy ally of the United Kingdom, and a steady partnership between the two, especially as a CHOGM meeting looms for June, gives Britons psychological security that its former colonies still regard the nation as the motherland, a necessary effect as the UK continues to lose its relevance as a superpower.

Justin Trudeau  Canada

Justin Trudeau congratulated Anthony Albanese on Twitter and through an official statement made by the Canadian government, which sought to ‘deepen relations’ between the two nations, as well as signposted the ‘common values, and shared priorities’ of Australia and Canada. He also thanked Scott Morrison for his ‘valuable partnership’9. Trudeau came under fire last year from the opposition conservative party for failing to advocate for Canada on the global stage. A particular point was made of the nation being left out of the AUKUS deal, as opposition leader Erin O’Toole maintained the nation was ‘becoming irrelevant’ under Trudeau’s leadership10.

Although the congratulations is short of pushing for AUKUS to become CAUKUS, it does demonstrate to Canadians that Trudeau values the relationships his nation upholds, and in light of recent data showing that Australia is the highest regarded nation amongst Canadians, the Canadian PM knows which relations are important11.

Narendra Modi  India

Just before the Quad summit between Australia, India, Japan and the United States in Tokyo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to congratulate Albanese, pointing to India 

and Australia’s ‘shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific’ as a key point of co-operation between the two nations12.

Modi and Albanese both face challenges from China, as the CCP has made a point of strengthening their relations with the Solomon Islands and Pakistan, threatening Australia and India likewise. Subsequently, Modi has maintained that ‘global issues of mutual interest’ are fundamental to his cabinets relationship with Australia13. Furthermore, a joint comprehensive trade agreement between Australia and India, signed last year, is sought to continue, even with the change of leading party in Canberra.

Frank Bainimarama  Fiji

Prime Minister Bainimarama was the first leader from the Pacific to congratulate Albanese, heralding the Labor parties policy to ‘put climate first’14.

The reluctance of the previous administration to pledge support to climate action was a thorn in the side of numerous pacific nations, who felt the immediate impact of rising sea levels on their shores. Furthermore, Australia has been crucial in helping the Fijian economy recover through tourism, and as such, Prime Minister Bainimarama would feel heavy pressure to maintain cordial relations with Australia for the sake of Fiji’s future15.

Naftali Bennett  Israel

Tweeting in Hebrew, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hopes to ‘deepen that friendship & strengthen the bond’ shared between Israel and Australia 16.

Australia, much like the USA, has provided consistent diplomatic support to Israel in various international institutions, such as the United Nations. With this, as well as Albanese shutting down a motion from shadow Labor backbenchers last year to boycott the Jewish state, Bennett likely hopes to maintain the ideological support Israel receives from Australia and its minority Jewish community17.

Vjosa Osmani  Kosovo

 

Much like the aforementioned Israel, Kosovo relies on diplomatic support and recognition from across the world to be legitimised. Australia became one of 97 countries to recognise the sovereignty of Kosovo in 2008, during the Rudd government, and the bilateral relations of the two nations have continued to this day, with President Osmani hoping to bring ‘our two countries and people closer together’ during Albanese’s Premiership 18. Osmani evidently hopes the sentiments of the cabinet that recognised her country will continue into Labor’s 2022 foreign policy as pertains to European states.

 

Sources

1 Neilson, M 2022, ‘Australian election: NZ PM Jacinda Ardern congratulates Anthony Albanese on win over Scott Morrison’, New Zealand Herald, May 22, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/australian-election-nz-pm-jacinda-ardern-congratulates-anthony-albanese-on win-over-scott-morrison/DB4XQ3UA4PZBMX3OO3RMMHPFAA/.

Ibid.

3 Stayner, T 2021, ‘Australia’s deportation policy causes 'discomfort' in relationship with New Zealand’, SBS News, November 12, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/australias-deportation-policy-causes-discomfort-in-relationship-with-ne w-zealand/uai0qhnj4.

4 2022, ‘Jacinda Ardern eyes closer ties with Australia after Anthony Albanese's election win’, SBS News, May 23, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/jacinda-ardern-eyes-closer-ties-with-australia-after-anthony-albaneses election-win/uhvc3xofj.

Johnson, B 2022, https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/1528009400169947137?cxt=HHwWgoCz6YSdyrQqAAAA, @BorisJohnson, Twitter, May 21.

6 Albanese, A 2022, https://twitter.com/AlboMP/status/1528663482216108033?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ct wgr%5Etweet, @AlboMP, Twitter, May 23.

7 House of Commons Library 2022, ‘UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, April 19, https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9484/.

8 Ward, S and Curran, J 2021, ‘AUKUS exposes global Britain’s post-Brexit desperation’, Australian Financial Review, September 26, https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/aukus-exposes-global-britain-s-post-brexit-desperation-20210923-p 58u6i.

9 Trudeau, J 2022, ‘Statement by the Prime Minister on the results of the general election in Australia’, Canadian Federal Government, May 21, https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/statements/2022/05/21/statement-prime-minister-results-general-election-australi a.

10 Blatchford, A 2021, ‘Top Trudeau rival O'Toole would push for Canada to join U.S., U.K. and Australia security alliance’, Politico Canada, September 16, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/09/16/trudeau-otoole-canada-security-alliance-512217.

11 MacDonald-Laurier Institute 2020, ‘Canada’s Role in the World – Part One’, November, 38-39, https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/Canada_Role_in_the_World_Part_One.pdf.

12 Modi, N 2022, https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1528033523545669633, @narendramodi, Twitter, May 22.

13 Modi, N 2022, ‘PM Modi's statement ahead of his departure for Japan visit’, Narendramodi.india, May 22, https://www.narendramodi.in/prime-minister-narendra-modi-s-statement-ahead-of-his-departure-for-japan-vi sit-561918.

14 Bainimarama, F 2022, https://twitter.com/FijiPM/status/1528186822177718272, @FijiPM, Twitter, May 22.

15 Seselja, Z 2021, ‘Australia supporting Fiji’s tourism-led economic recovery’, DFAT, November 15, https://ministers.dfat.gov.au/minister/zed-seselja/media-release/australia-supporting-fijis-tourism-led-econom ic-recovery.

16 Bennett, N 2022, https://twitter.com/naftalibennett/status/1528352935918419969, @naftalibennett, Twitter, May 22.

17 Galloway, A 2021, ‘Albanese slams ‘counterproductive’ Labor motion calling for boycott of Israel’, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 15, https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/albanese-slams-counterproductive-labor-motion-calling-for-boycott of-israel-20210715-p589zv.html.

pertains to European states.

18 Osmani, V 2022, https://twitter.com/VjosaOsmaniPRKS/status/1528110317309501445, @VjosaOsmaniPRKS, Twitter, May 22.

 
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