Australia’s new PM is hosting his first foreign leader, with Albanese set for bilateral talks with New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern.
The Kiwi PM touched down in Sydney last night where she and Albanese greeted each other with enthusiasm and a hug before having dinner. Today they will discuss issues and commonalities between Australia and New Zealand with both PM’s eager to continue the strong relationship had by both nations.
Ardern hopes the meeting will be “a positive one” between two countries that are “like family”.
For their talks, many things will be on the agenda including Australia’s policies on the deportation and visa cancellation of Kiwi citizens who have a criminal record. Section 501 of the Migration Act is expected to still be carried out, but rules may ease for New Zealander’s.
The argument put forward by NZ is that it’s pointless to send back Kiwi Citizens who have little or no connection to the country if they’ve grown up and spent their entire lives living in Australia. Ardern hopes these talks will lead somewhere.
“This is… an opportunity for new conversations to be had on aspects of the bilateral relationship that have been difficult for a number of years.
“This is my first engagement with the Prime Minister. We’ve been clear with the incoming Prime Minister that these issues remain for us, regardless of who’s in office. We want to make progress.”
Echoing her sentiment was Albanese who welcomed her literally and figuratively with open arms.
“Lovely dinner with @Jacindaardern this evening. I’m looking forward to our bilateral meeting tomorrow where we will discuss all that our countries have in common,” he said in a tweet.
He also released a statement on what the two will discuss.
“Prime Minister Ardern’s visit will be an opportunity to build on Trans-Tasman cooperation, including economic recovery after COVID-19, the role of Indigenous peoples in the identity of both countries, climate change, support for the Pacific, and global trade and security.”