Australian foreign affairs debate set on next week

18:18, August 05, 2010      

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Australia's election campaign will turn to foreign policy next week when Foreign Minister Stephen Smith faces Deputy Opposition leader Julia Bishop in a televised debate, local media reported on Thursday.

The foreign affairs minister and Bishop will go head-to-head at Canberra's National Press Club on next Thursday, August 12.

Foreign policy has not been a major election issue, partly because there is bipartisan agreement on key issues such as keeping troops in Afghanistan and the importance of the U.S. alliance.

But there have been differences of opinion between the major parties on relations with Israel, and on whether Australia should bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, Australian Associated Press reported on Thursday.

Immigration policy and the issue of asylum seekers have dominated the first Australian leaders' debate at the National Press Club in Canberra on 27 July.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to a second debate, on the economy, but Abbott has declined.

Source: Xinhua


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