Publications

The Adolescent Country

3 November 2014   |   Lowy Institute Papers   |   By Peter Hartcher

In this Lowy Institute Paper, Sydney Morning Herald International Editor and Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Peter Hartcher argues that Australia needs to shake off its 'provincial reflex' and become a mature player in global affairs.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with prime ministers and other senior policy-makers, the paper examines the tendency of political leaders to play domestic politics with foreign policy, and argues that the looming international challenges facing Australia require more serious engagement. 

The Adolescent Country is the second in a new series of Lowy Institute Papers published by Penguin Australia. It is available for purchase from all good bookstores ($9.99), online and as an e-book ($3.99). The Lowy Institute's Bligh Street headquarters has a limited number of copies available for purchase at our reception.

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For a discussion on The Adolescent Country with Peter Hartcher and prominent Australian and international political commentators, visit the Lowy Institute’s daily commentary and analysis site, The Interpreter.

Key Findings
The greatest crises that threaten Australia’s national prosperity come from abroad. So do the greatest opportunities;
But in Australian politics the big matters are commonly crowded out by the small. International policy is used as domestic point scoring. Measured against its potential today and its needs tomorrow, Australia is seriously underperforming on the world stage;
There are signs that Tony Abbott is maturing from uncompromising beginnings into the ‘grown-up’ leader he has promised the electorate. If he can truly outgrow the provincial reflex it may be the making of him and a serious advance for our country.

Full Text

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    The Adolescent Country is available to purchase from all good bookstores ($9.99) and online. An e-book version ($3.99) is also available. The Lowy Institute's Bligh Street headquarters has a limited number of copies available for purchase at our reception.

    CONTENTS

    The provincial reflex .............................................................. 1

    Playing domestic politics with international policy ..............16

    Why does foreign policy matter............................................ 30

    Our changing neighbourhood............................................... 47

    Leaders and foreign policy .................................................. 61

    Abbott's challenge  ...............................................................74

    Endnotes  ..............................................................................96

    Acknowledgements  ............................................................107