Friday 14 Dec 2018 | 17:25 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

Defending the liberal order takes more than rhetoric

Julie Bishop’s recent speech in Singapore was out of date and stale. Her remarks exhibited two major and ongoing flaws in the government’s foreign policy thinking. The first is the persistent lack of substance in the Turnbull government’s response to both China’s challenge to the status quo

Why aren’t Australia and Vietnam strategic partners?

The election of Donald Trump as US president has increased strategic uncertainty about the leadership role of the US as the 'indispensable power' in the Indo-Pacific. One obvious conclusion is that Australia will have to redouble its defence and security engagement in the region. There are signs

Can economic and security analysts find a lingua franca?

This post is part of a debate on Australia’s foreign policy White paper 2017. Click here for other debate posts. When Foreign Minister Julie Bishop put economic diplomacy at the centre of Australian international relations in 2014, I suggested this might just be a canny way for a globe-trotting

Prioritising trading blocs over nation states

While there are natural cultural and institutional ties between Australia and the United Kingdom, it would be folly to choose the UK over the European Union; Australia’s trade with both the Asia-Pacific and the European Union must take priority over any favours to colonial history. As the United

Hard-wiring aid and development to foreign policy

The acid test of Australia’s new foreign policy will be longevity. As a nation, can we set an approach that endures? 'A dynamism about it that can carry forward over about 10 years', is how Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, described the key ingredient for the new foreign policy white paper.  

A question for alliance critics: What's your alternative?

This is an edited version of remarks delivered at the National Press Club in Canberra on 21 February, 2017, in a panel discussion with Sir Angus Houston. The full text can be found here, and a video of the event here. It is easy to be troubled by Donald Trump and the unpredictability of his

Joe Hockey and the limits of mateship

More details are emerging of the Australian government’s thinking on how to handle a volatile and erratic Trump White House, and how it might repair some of the damage following the now infamous telephone exchange between the US President and the Australian Prime Minister in early February.

Seeking clarity in Australian foreign policy

In August, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Turnbull Government would produce a new foreign policy white paper. The Minister described it as a 'philosophical framework to guide Australia's engagement, regardless of international events'. The world is changing so fast it is

Onus on Turnbull to remember Sri Lanka’s Victims

This week, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is visiting Australia. Besides growing economic cooperation, apparently 'enhanced cooperation on development and sport' between the two nations is on the agenda. But let’s hope that beyond friendly cricket matches, Prime Minister Malcolm

No. 1 Neighbour: How culture binds Australia & PNG

Last weekend marked the close of the Queensland Art Gallery’s No. 1 Neighbour: Art in Papua New Guinea 1966-2016 exhibit. This was a landmark exhibition, the first in Australia to exclusively explore contemporary Papua New Guinean art. The exhibition showcased Papua New Guinea’s vibrant art

Australia-India relations: Poised for take off

Relations between India and the United States before the redefining changes of the past two decades were possibly best summarised in the title of a book by the American diplomat Dennis Kux: Estranged Democracies. But that phrase could just as easily have applied, more recently, to India and

Digital diplomacy @DFAT

A week ago Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched its first digital media strategy and accompanying blog. It's about time. Digital diplomacy is expanding, the pace of change is picking up, and DFAT - which spent two years developing this strategy - is late to the party. The

How US protectionism would threaten Australia

The impact of US President-elect Donald Trump's intended withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Australia could be seen as relatively benign, if one concentrated soley on trade in goods and services. After all, we have the Australia-United States FTA, concluded in 2004. The

ANZUS: Former Defence chief takes on the doubters

Australian and US military forces have worked together for almost a century. It’s a partnership forged under fire that has evolved into an alliance we should work hard to preserve. We first fought together in the First World War on 4 July 1918. Under the command and masterful leadership of the

The Trump ascendency and the end of ANZUS bipartisanship

Michael Fullilove is right to argue that ANZUS is bigger than any one individual, even when that person happens to be the US president.  However, Trump's election has already affected the way Australian political leaders think about the alliance. Their disparate responses suggest that we

Australia must prepare for an Asia without America

Our first thoughts should be for Americans, and the damage that has been done to their institutions, their society and their national self-respect. But there is nothing to say about this American tragedy that has not been said far better by Americans themselves. So let’s leave it at that. Our

Should Australia be more like Canada?

The Economist recently promoted Canada as a beacon of tolerance and openness in a world of ‘wall-builders, door-slammers and drawbridge raisers’. It claims Canada has lessons for other countries – particularly in its openness to immigration, support for trade liberalisation and knowing when

Australia's marriage-equality debate reverberates through the Pacific

Harriet Smith is an intern in the Melanesia Program, Lowy Institute. As the LGBTQ+ community in Australia continues the struggle for marriage equality, some are asking what impact this will have for our neighbours, especially in nations which still criminalise homosexuality. With the bill to hold

Barnaby Joyce's mixed messaging on property rights

There’s been a good deal of mixed messaging coming from Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce recently. This week he made headlines by declaring to an audience (which included the Chinese ambassador) that Labor's policies for insisting on rules concerning vegetation

Gillard and Clinton: The pull of an old friendship

It got off to a rocky start, but the relationship between Hillary Clinton and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has become a warm and respectful one that is likely to grow in importance if Clinton becomes President of the United States. A Clinton victory may see Gillard take on new

Australia's FONOP debate: A necessary storm in a teacup

This is a disconcerting period for all those hoping to see more pushback against China's bid for supremacy in the South China Sea, and its pressure tactics towards that end. The US is in the throes of an epochal political convulsion masquerading as a presidential election campaign. Its ability to

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