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

The secret life of Wyatt Roy

The former Member for Longman's surprise visit to Iraq is drawing plenty of criticism. The ALP's Penny Wong was perhaps the most savage, advising him that Iraq was not a 'place for people to act out their boyhood fantasies', while the foreign minister was also willing to criticise her former

Mapping Pacific aid: Facebook, India and money laundering

Mapping China’s opaque aid program in the Pacific Islands was more complicated and time-consuming than I had anticipated. I made peace with this fact when I found myself building a makeshift 270-degree visual cocoon out of every electronic device in my apartment so that I could cross-check the

On Australian public opinion, Xi gets it wrong

With the G20 leaders' summit in full swing earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been meeting with leaders from the UK, India, France and China. Turnbull had much to discuss with Xi Jinping in particular, as The Australian's David Crowe reported: An

Australia cannot afford to spurn its Chinese diaspora

The Australian Financial Review is running an ‘agents of influence’ series, in line with the media’s shift from a focus on Chinese investment to a broader discussion of China’s influence in Australia. One article has cast a shadow over the million-plus ethnic Chinese in

Witnessing an opaque Pacific power shift

Today the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia program launches a major update to the Institute’s flagship research mapping project on Chinese Aid in the Pacific.*  The map now contains a decade of Chinese government aid activities in the Pacific Islands region, making it a valuable resource for

Australian leadership needed to scale the refugee summit

On 19 September, a UN high-level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants is expected to endorse an outcome document that commits states to negotiating a 'Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework' and separately a 'Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration', for

Security shouldn't trump economics on the Ausgrid sale

Security trumps economics, or so the Ausgrid saga seems to have taught us. But maybe this framing is all wrong. Security and economics might be better thought of as being directly connected. If this is so, Australia is in real danger of building a poorer, less secure future through a flawed premise

Why Australia is the canary in the regional coal mine

It has been an interesting few months in Australia-China relations. Following the Ausgrid decision, accusations of drug cheating at the Rio Olympics and the response to the arbitral tribunal decision, Australia has been on receiving end of considerable Chinese chagrin. Whether in the formal

Call for Australia-China treaty to guide foreign investment

Just when Treasurer Scott Morrison will have been hoping to put last week’s surprisingly tough move against two Chinese power industry investors behind him, a major new report has reopened the entire Chinese foreign investment debate. The biggest ever independent study of the future of the

The Global Times and Beijing: A nuanced relationship

How seriously should we take China's Global Times? This always interesting question is particularly pertinent after the nationalist tabloid took aim at Australia on Saturday, referring to Australia as a 'paper cat', and promising revenge for Australia's position on the South China Sea dispute. 

Shaping China’s response to the PCA ruling

China’s national pride as well as its ambitions to exert control over the South China Sea were dealt a heavy blow by the 12 July decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in the case filed by the Philippines. As expected, Beijing firmly rejected the ruling, declaring the award

'The Pivot': Three profound misunderstandings about Asia

I thank Hugh White for his most recent rebuttal, which addresses my response to his book review of The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia. I have known Hugh White since working together in the 1990s, when we labored side-by-side in our respective defense agencies, ironically seeking to

How the world sees Australia's election (part 4)

After eight weeks of campaigning, the Australian election is still not yet over. As the New York Times's Michelle Innis summarises: As of Monday, neither the Liberal National coalition, led by Mr. Turnbull, nor the Labor Party, led by Mr. Shorten, had won enough seats to form a government outright

Election 2016: The only chart that matters

And here it is, courtesy of the ABC: Australia's pundits may still treat the idea of hung parliaments and minority government as an aberration (I can't help noting Insiders host Barrie Cassidy's air of contempt on yesterday's program, when he said a circus tent would need to be erected on the

The Interpreter's election wrap

We started our election coverage eight weeks ago by considering what the international community would be thinking after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia was off to the ballot box. One word seemed to summarise the reaction: 'Again?' Yesterday's election was the country's third

US-China tensions set to test Australia's 45th parliament

In one important respect, at least, it seems very likely that Malcolm Turnbull's election gamble will fail. Turnbull not only wanted to win the 2 July election. He wanted to make it a victory that brought greater certainty and clarity to national politics by cleaning out the Senate. The painfully

How the world sees Australia's election (part 3)

Australia's federal election is this weekend and as the date has drawn closer, foreign media coverage has begun to ramp up. Coverage has spanned peculiarities of Australian elections (such as campaigners having to watch out for crocodiles in the seat of Durack in Western Australia), to how Brexit

Will the times suit Malcolm Turnbull?

The Brexit vote exposes two interlinked issues which determine Australia's place in the world, and which are both vulnerable to fluctuations in support: immigration and globalisation. Australians are ambiguous about both, yet Malcolm Turnbull knows each is central to Australia's prosperity in the

We need to talk about Manus before Australia votes

Almost three years after the 'stop the boats' election, there is a surprising lack of debate on irregular migration in Australia in this campaign. The bipartisan consensus on offshore processing appears to have removed the political incentive for any serious policy discussion. This week there were

Julie Bishop at the Lowy Institute

Yesterday the Lowy Institute hosted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, whose speech focused largely on the Turnbull Government's economic diplomacy agenda. You can watch the full video below. The economic focus allowed Bishop to pivot into domestic debates from time to time, which is not surprising in

Plibersek's (and Labor's) journey to the centre

It is not so long ago that the idea of a left-wing Labor woman as the Foreign Minister of Australia would have caused deep consternation, if not panic, in the foreign policy establishment and in the halls of power of key allies. But if, against the odds, the Labor Party wins the 2 July Federal

How the world sees Australia's election (part 2)

A couple weeks have passed since my last update on how overseas media is covering the Australian election. No real big surprises so far, but bellow are some excellent reflections on how the election relates to Brexit, the US election, China's economic rise and analysis of some battleground seats.

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