Hon. Marise Payne is an accomplished and considered strategic leader, highly experienced in foreign policy, national security, and strategic issues. She served in the Australian Senate for over twenty-six years, between 1997 and 2023, becoming the longest-serving female senator in Australian history.

Payne served as Australia’s first female minister for defense (2015–18), and as minister for women (2019–22) and minister for foreign affairs (2018–22). She was a member of the National Security Committee of the Australian Cabinet for seven years, amid one of the most challenging and complex strategic environments of recent decades.

As both defense and foreign minister, Payne was responsible for delivering major reforms and significant policy initiatives. Her career focus is on working closely with allies and partners and developing key relationships to deliver greater strategic strength and resilience.

As Australia’s foreign minister she was closely engaged in the establishment of the AUKUS partnership, a transformative relationship building Australia’s strategic position and assisting in protecting the international rules-based order.

With her US, Indian, and Japanese counterparts, she grew the Quad partnership, including the landmark hosting of the first in-person meeting of Quad foreign ministers in 2019. Her focus in the Quad was closer collaboration on shared priorities including health security, infrastructure, climate, critical technologies, and cyber, to the benefit of the whole Indo-Pacific region.

As foreign minister, Payne also led the delivery of Australia’s Pacific policy initiatives, including the largest ever Australian investment in relationships with Pacific neighbors. This initiative also saw the building of critical seabed communications infrastructure, including the Coral Sea Cable, the East Micronesia Cable, and the Palau Spur, the latter two under the Trilateral Infrastructure Partnership with Japan and the United States.

Under Payne’s leadership, Australia substantially furthered other key partnerships, including the first ever ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), the India CSP and Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, the Indonesia Australia CSP and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, the Papua New Guinea Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership, the Vietnam Enhanced Economic Strategy, and the Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement.

As minister for defense, Payne delivered the 2016 Defence White Paper and Defence Industry Policy Statement that led the way for the $200 billion regeneration of Australian Defence Force capabilities, the largest in decades.

She also worked closely with regional and global partners in the ongoing fight against terrorism, particularly in the Counter ISIL Coalition.

She delivered the critical Pacific Maritime Security Program, working with Pacific neighbors to deliver more capable Australian-built patrol boats, aerial surveillance, information sharing, and capacity building.

Marise Payne is a board member of ORF-America (Observer Research Foundation) and a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow and professor of practice–international relations and public policy at Western Sydney University in Australia.

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