Saturday 16 Feb 2019 | 13:03 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

Review: Kevin Rudd and his road to be PM

Kevin Rudd remains a polarising figure in Australian politics. The subject of near-messianic support as ‘Kevin07’, his legacy is contentious. His latest attempt to influence that legacy is Not For the Faint-hearted, the first (!) volume of his autobiography. Political memoirs are inevitably

Clear messages required in Twitter-age of diplomacy

Robert Ayson is quite right to pick me up on the distinction between pre-emptive and preventative military strikes. My post on Australia’s policy towards a US attack on North Korea argued Australia should make clear that it would not support a pre-emptive US strike at the North’s nuclear and

An investment bank for Australia’s aid program

In a recent article in the Australian Financial Review, Treasurer Scott Morrison endorsed the use of impact investing: investment with the goal of achieving a social result as well as a financial return. Such a strategy attempts to address problems or needs through market-based, for-

How the region reported the Foreign Policy White Paper

Yang Jie, an intern in the East Asia Program, and David Vallance, an intern in the International Security Program, summarise media reports from across the region following the release last month of the Foreign Policy White Paper. China People’s Daily, ‘China has serious concerns about

What should Australia rule out on North Korea?

In place of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's ambiguous commitment to support US military action against North Korea, Hugh White wants a clear statement ruling out Australia's participation in a 'pre-emptive' attack. But in turn there are two points of ambiguity in White's argument that may get in

Saying the unsayable in Australia’s relations with China

The issue of influence by the government of the People’s Republic of China in Australian public and political life reached a turning point with the resignation of senator Sam Dastyari. It concluded a year of forceful reporting and vitriolic debate about China in Australia, fuelling a steady flow

How Australia can help avoid a disastrous Korean war

Pyongyang’s latest long-range missile test raises the probability that Washington will decide to launch a pre-emptive military campaign against North Korea, simply because it will come to see this as the only alternative to accepting that North Korea will soon be

Review: Hugh White's 'Without America'

With the luck of timing, Hugh White's new Quarterly Essay, Without America: Australia in the New Asia, was released last month at almost exactly the same time as the launch of the Foreign Policy White Paper. It was a striking moment: just when the foreign-policy orthodoxy seemed to be catching up

No zero-sum game in greater Pacific ties

For many commentators with an interest in the Pacific, the emphasis on the region in the Foreign Policy White Paper has been welcomed as long overdue. Yet it has also raised some questions about the manner in which Australia engages in the region. James Batley has questioned whether Australia has

What next for Papua New Guinea?

It has been a tumultuous year for Australia's nearest neighbour. The protracted and controversial elections in Papua New Guinea took up most of 2017, with Peter O'Neill winning a second term and cementing his position as the most formidable politician of his generation. The government

Australia’s coal-fired diplomacy burns Pacific friends

Australia likes to pride itself as a Pacific power, one that shares common values with Pacific island neighbours to work towards what the new Foreign Policy White Paper calls 'a shared agenda for security and prosperity'. But Australia's pursuit of its own prosperity through the promotion

Mistrust of Australia is growing in China

Over the past year or so the mood in Canberra has soured toward China. Indeed, of the countries unsettled by China’s rise and its increasingly confident and assertive foreign policy, Australia is now among the most outspoken in its criticism of Beijing’s behaviour. This change has been visible

An opportunity missed for a feminist foreign policy

On joining AusAID's Gender Equality Section in 2008, I kept a copy of the 2003 Howard-era foreign policy white paper on my shelf. Containing no references to women, women's rights, gender equality or human security, it served both as a stark reminder of a conservative past, and as a symbol of the

Sam Dastyari and Chinese government influence in Australia

Senator Sam Dastyari has found himself back in the spotlight after Australia media outlets reported allegations that Dastyari gave Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo 'counter-surveillance' advice and unearthed the audio from Dastyari's now-infamous media conference last

Understanding a rules-based White Paper

The Foreign Policy White Paper has much to commend it, not least its analysis of the changing and challenging global and regional environment and its embrace of a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to Australia’s international interests. But if there are few questions to be asked in these areas,

What problem, exactly, would a foreign agents law fix?

Registration (and regulation) of so-called foreign agents, as proposed by the federal government, might enable the Australian public and our parliamentary representatives to know more about those who seek to influence public opinion and government policy. Yet the American experience with such

Foreign Policy White Paper: the UN on the periphery

The Foreign Policy White Paper offers a compelling assessment of the challenging geopolitical environment that Australia faces. It clearly advocates Australia’s priority of engagement in the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region, deftly manages the US-China contest and the inherent awkwardness of our trade

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

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