Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells

FORMER Australian Pacific Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells continues to speak out against what she believes is Australia’s diminishing influence in the region, following the appointment of Anne Ruston in the downgraded role of ‘assistant Pacific minister’.
Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells Ruston replaces Fierravanti-Wells

Anne Ruston

Staff Reporter

She said new Prime Minister Scott Morrison was jeopardising Australia's influence at a time when "China is wooing island nations with infrastructure and loans".
 
Fierravanti-Wells dramatically resigned from the ministerial portfolio while the change of prime ministership took place. She was critical of both former PM Malcolm Turnbull and former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for not sharing her perceived fears of the alleged rising clout of China.
 
Ruston has subsequently been appointed in more of a parliamentary secretarial role as assistant Pacific minister, which Fierravanti-Wells has now criticised.
 
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Fierravanti-Wells as saying she had worked hard as minister for Australia to "step up" its engagement with the Pacific as part of the foreign policy white paper priorities released last year.
 
"At a time of growing contestability and strategic competition in our Pacific region, the downgrading of the portfolio to a parliamentary secretary role sends the wrong message," she told Fairfax Media.
 
"The Coalition had elevated the Pacific to a ministerial role. Indeed, I have advocated that given the importance of the Pacific, our record development assistance of $1.3 billion for the Pacific should be increased and complemented by having a minister for foreign affairs and the Pacific," Fierravanti-Wells said.
 
Fierravanti-Wells' controversial anti-China remarks earlier this year earned her a rebuke from the Chinese government, and she was widely criticised for them in Australia.
 

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