Friday 14 Dec 2018 | 17:23 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

What the White Paper misses on China

The Foreign Policy White Paper paints a picture of an uncertain world and troubling times. With this understanding as its foundation, the White Paper outlines what approaches Australia should take to protect its national interests. While some elements are new, these approaches are still a

The fall and fall of Australia’s aid program

Diminished and marginalised sums up the way Australia's development assistance program is treated in the Foreign Policy White Paper. The program represents by far the biggest proportion of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's budget (DFAT's total budget in 2017/2018 is $5.8 billion, of

Academic cooperation with Chinese characteristics

I recently co-convened a small international academic workshop with a Chinese university. Since we wanted to involve quite a few China-based scholars and the topic concerned China, I thought it made perfect sense to hold the workshop in China. A number of scholars from outside China were to attend

Australia’s citizenship saga projects an insular image

The current saga concerning dual citizenship of Australian parliamentarians goes far beyond electoral politics. Australia needs a serious conversation about how it sees itself, contends with its plural nature, and how its internal character and national spirit fosters engagement with global society

A manifesto to build Australia’s Pacific connection

Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles delivered a speech at the Lowy Institute on Tuesday demanding an enhanced strategy and guiding philosophy for Australia’s role in the Pacific. It is a timely speech, delivered with clear conviction from a long-time and often lonely advocate in Parliament

Same-sex marriage: What Ireland’s yes vote shows Australia

'Once you have taken your decision you just move on then and get on with life, nothing fundamentally changes, hens will still lay eggs.' So said Ireland's President Michael D Higgins the month before the resounding Yes vote this week in Australia's postal survey on same sex marriage. Ireland's

No need to self-censor in the face of China

The recent decision by Allen & Unwin to drop Clive Hamilton's book on Chinese influence illustrates that China need not exert much effort in influencing us. We're doing the job ourselves. Hamilton's book Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a Puppet State was pulled, according

Australia makes a welcome Pacific connection

In a week when same-sex marriage, dual-citizenship and Manus Island dominated the news cycle, Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Peter O’Neill still found time on the sidelines of the APEC summit to strike a deal that should not go overlooked. Turnbull announced that Australia will majority-fund

Quad redux: A new agenda for Asia's maritime democracies

With President Donald Trump part-way into his protracted tour of Asia, much of the focus has been on the North Korea threat, his personal relations with Prime Minister Abe of Japan and President Moon of South Korea, and his interaction with President Xi Jinping, China’s political strongman who

A reborn quadrilateral to deter China

Recent news that Australia’s Foreign Minister has indicated interest in taking part in a resurrected US-Australia-Japan-India quadrilateral dialogue on the sidelines of the upcoming ASEAN Summit is to be welcomed. It is an indication how much the strategic situation in the Asia Pacific has shifted

Seven traps for Turnbull this Asian summit season

Asia's ‘Summit Season’ begins this week and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces a high degree of diplomatic difficulty on this big Asian stage. Three Asian multilateral meetings are scheduled back to back: the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in Vietnam; the

Cleaning up the Manus damage

Last Tuesday saw the official closure of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, the Australian-funded and managed detention centre for unauthorised boat arrivals in Papua New Guinea. Originally opened in 2001 as part of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, the centre was closed by the

The two Americas at COP23

Before his fall from grace, former Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards used to talk about 'the two Americas' to describe the gap between the poor and the wealthy. But the phrase earned an afterlife, not least to describe the philosophical chasm between the coastal areas that

A true blue Facebook nation anxious about cyberspace

Australia’s relationship with cyberspace has never been so intense and so intimate. A staggering 93% of us are on the internet every day and the amount of time we spend online is tremendous: an average of five hours via our computers and another hour and-a-half on our mobile.&

Time to fast-forward the Future Submarine

Australia’s future submarine program has attracted fewer headlines since the Government decided on the French Shortfin Barracuda design last year. But it was heavily criticised in a recent Insight Economics report, and on the receiving end of some speculative depth charges in a strange, testy

Is there a model Human Rights Council member?

Australia was not the only country to waltz onto the UN Human Rights Council last week with only cursory scrutiny of its human rights record. In fact, most of the Council’s current and incoming members have failed in some way to live up to the 'highest standards in the promotion and protection

Canberra conversations, with Gareth Evans

This is Episode Three of Canberra Conversations, an occasional podcast series on The Interpreter where I talk with some of the big names from the foreign policy and national security worlds in Australia's capital. In episode one I talked with Mike Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of

Australia’s navy needs to mind the missile gap

David Axe’s recent War is Boring article on China’s new Type 055-class cruiser focused on its bristling load of vertical-launch missile cells. The Type-055 carries 112 cells (not 122, as Axe states), which almost matches the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and exceeds the 96 launchers on

Australia must criticise US withdrawal from UNESCO

The US has taken another step back from multilateralism with its announcement on Thursday that it will withdraw from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the world’s leading organisation for the promotion of global education, scientific advancement and democratic

Australia’s oddly absent Belt and Road Strategy

In a recent speech at the University of Adelaide's Confucius Institute, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Frances Adamson tackled the controversial issue of Chinese students in Australia. Her comments were both shrewd and part of a larger pattern of Australian government policy

Australia’s One-China Policy and why it matters

Australia is in the midst of a vociferous debate over China. Reporting and commentary on Chinese Party-state sway over Australia's public and political institutions has been met by a strong pushback by those who emphasise the opportunities presented by China's influence. The

A modest proposal for Australian engagement in North Korea

I have a modest proposal to make for Australia to directly engage with North Korea. Australia maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea, but has no representation in Pyongyang. Instead, Australia's embassy in Seoul is cross-accredited, a common arrangement among countries that lack an

No, China is not being demonised

It’s difficult to see any future for Australia that does not involve China in a big way, whether it is in trade, services, investment, regional security, cultural exchange, and migration. It follows that ensuring a secure and prosperous future for Australia means getting the relationship with

Anti-migration sentiment the chief threat to openness

In Choosing Openness Andrew Leigh makes a robust, refreshed case for free trade and investment. Both are important sources of the acceleration of global output growth over the last two decades, and of Australia’s long economic expansion since 1991. But while the case for relatively free investment

A regional focus on cyber security

The digital revolution is fundamentally a story of prosperity, of growth through disruptive business models, the opening of new markets, and of sustainable and inclusive development enabled by digital technologies. But these benefits are not guaranteed. We must work collectively – domestically,

Ballistic missile defence: New options for Australia

Kim Jong-un has set North Korea on the path to establishing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capability. We don’t know how much further the international community will push, and how the North Koreans will respond. But Kim Jong-un’s actions remind us that state-on-state

The Australia-Japan relationship: Worthy of more reflection

Australia’s ties with Japan constitute one of the world’s most well-rounded bilateral relationships. The past decade alone has witnessed the achievement of several major milestones. Of particular significance has been the landmark Joint Defence and Security Cooperation (JDSC) agreement in 2007

Resisting China’s magic weapon

In the classic Cold War-era film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens quietly invade earth by replicating the bodies of each human being they encounter. The resulting 'pod people' take on the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of the humans they replace. In its day, the film was

Alfred Deakin and the roots of Australian foreign policy

Judith Brett has just published a new biography of Alfred Deakin, 'The Enigmatic Mr Deakin'. The fault line in Australia’s relations with Great Britain did not fracture until World War II when John Curtin confronted Churchill over the diversion of the 7th Division of the Australian Imperial

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