On 19 March, the leaders of four important democracies of the Indo-Pacific region – the United States, Japan, Australia and India – held (virtually) their first-ever “Quad Summit.” This meeting at the leaders’ level of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was significant on two counts.
Australia and Vietnam officially became strategic partners in 2018, promising to expand cooperation across multiple domains. Yet economic ties have grown slowly from a relatively low starting point, while defence relations are mostly restricted to training and high-level dialogues. Education and
Beginning last May, China has hit Australia with a barrage of trade sanctions in a fairly overt attempt at economic coercion. It’s still early days, but it’s worth taking stock of what the economic impact has been so far.
The fact that China’s trade sanctions have taken place
Last week, the United Nations held the 65th Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and virtually, with the theme “women’s full and effective participation and decision making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all
Earlier this month, the Lowy Institute released Being Chinese in Australia, one of the largest surveys of the Chinese Australian community. Around the same time, the Scanlon Foundation published its annual Mapping Social Cohesion report, which also includes a survey on the Chinese population in
The recent stoush between the Australian government and social media giant Facebook, with its eight-day-long ban of local news from its platform, had results that were not confined to Australia. Facebook’s block of Australian news also highlighted the vulnerability of information security in the
In the late 1980s, while I was a reporter covering one of the mega-cyclones to hit Bangladesh, a government official in Dhaka confided in me that he was fed up with seeing his nation only make the global headlines as a result of the disasters that befell it.
Australia is fast catching up in that
Australia likes to see itself as punching above its weight as a middle power, but this boast does not hold true when it comes to the representation of cultural diversity in politics. The contrast with near neighbour New Zealand, which last year elected its most diverse parliament ever, has only
South Korea is set on a policy course that seeks to balance its economic relations with China and its security relations with the United States. Aiming for such a balance is understandable. China accounts for around one quarter of South Korea’s merchandise exports, and a fifth of its commercial
The tragedy of 51 people murdered and many more injured two years ago by an Australian-born far-right extremist was commemorated in Christchurch this week by the New Zealand government along with family and friends of the victims. For the community – in New Zealand most importantly, but also in
The most notable takeaway from the first-ever “Quad” leaders meeting involving the US, India, Japan and Australia at the weekend was the agreement on expanding the global vaccine supply. The vaccination capacity of India will be increased to produce 1 billion doses by 2022, the leaders announced
The joint statement issued following the weekend meeting of the four “Quad” leaders was titled “The Spirit of the Quad”. This title could be read as either self-affirmation or self-praise. The Quad’s first summit of leaders was a somewhat informal affair, held virtually amid a global
Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert has cast doubt on the Australian government’s strategy in securing her release from Iran last November.
In her first post-release public interview on 9 March, Moore-Gilbert said she believed the government’s “quiet diplomacy” approach – dealing
There has – rightly – been a strong reaction in Australia and more broadly to the Italian government decision, endorsed by the European Union and some of its leaders, not to permit AstraZeneca to export 250,000 contracted doses of its Covid vaccine to Australia.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi
In recent years – and for good reason - the strategic commentariat in both Australia and India has become increasingly concerned with the rise of China’s maritime power and the potential threat that this development poses for both nations. How each nation should respond is a difficult problem,
The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda is a global framework for the protection of women’s rights in conflict-affected settings, which encourages women’s participation in peace and security institutions and processes, and ultimately seeks to prevent armed conflict and thereby alleviate the
Book review: Sue Boyd, Not Always Diplomatic: An Australian Woman’s Journey Through International Affairs (University of Western Australia Press, 2020)
I first met Sue Boyd in Hanoi, where she was Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam. She was an intriguing figure, combining a razor-sharp
The release of the Lowy Institute’s Being Chinese in Australia: Public Opinion in Chinese Communities, based on one of the largest surveys of the Chinese-Australian community ever undertaken, shows that the events of the past year, notably Covid-19 and the deteriorating state of Australia-China
Last month, I alerted Interpreter readers to a new Lowy Institute debate feature on America and the Rules-based Order. In my comments about the debate, I said that Australia faced “the biggest foreign and security policy challenge of all: defending ourselves and our interests without the help of
Lock the doors
When the China trade numbers were released on Tuesday, you could hardly blame Australia’s 2500 winemakers if they locked themselves in the cellar with a nice bottle of red.
They certainly have plenty to drink. Only three months ago, Chinese customers drank 50% of Australian red
Australia’s defence of the rules-based international order is based on enlightened self-interest. As the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper made plain: “We will act on the principle that Australia will be safer and more prosperous in a global order based on agreed rules rather than one based on the
Last week, the issue of depriving an individual of their citizenship because of terrorist activity made headlines once again. An alleged Islamic State member, Suhayra Aden, had been detained by Turkish authorities crossing from Syria into Turkey and was being readied for deportation to New Zealand.
In October, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that it had discontinued its “Soft Power Review”, launched amid considerable fanfare in 2018 by then–foreign minister Julie Bishop with the stated aim of ensuring “Australia remains a persuasive force in our region
A pub quiz question for foreign policy nerds in ten years’ time: In early 2021, why did New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern accuse Scott Morrison’s government of not acting in good faith? “For not living up to its responsibilities on dual citizens crossing from Syria into Turkey” might be the
Joe Biden has taken the mantle of US president at a critical time for international development – amid a resurgence in poverty, increasing geopolitical contestation, rapid technological and environmental change, and of course Covid-19. The immediate priorities of the new administration will
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, the first Maori woman in that role, hit the ground running in her first few months in office. Not only did her appointment break barriers for Indigenous women in international affairs, she has also begun to outline a stunning example of what an
New forecasts that the Chinese economy will overtake the US in real terms much faster than expected are likely to have provided the Biden administration with a bracing context for a more coherent China policy.
According to just released projections from the London-based Centre for
India often breezes through the window of Australia’s national consciousness, but rarely lingers. Will India once again disappear from our collective awareness, following a short summer in which we were captivated by a sublime test series in Australia?
Cricket has been a common denominator
Since the start of the pandemic, China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have become a key rallying point for a diverse array of political groups. This includes the Australian far right, which has seized on new opportunities related to China to radicalise and recruit throughout 2020.
It was probably only a matter of time before Damien O’Connor, not one of the leading lights in Jacinda Ardern’s second-term Cabinet, stepped into some diplomatic doo-doo. But in an interview with CNBC, New Zealand’s Trade Minister has done so in spectacular style. He gets douze points for
Focus on the upcoming Australian Open tennis tournament these last few weeks in the local media has been intense. Still, it’s possible that Olympics officials in Japan are monitoring the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year even closer than we are in Australia.
As tournament organisers
Three anthems walk into a bar, The Star Spangled Banner, La Marseillaise and Advance Australia Fair. The Banner starts singing, O say can you see, and the crowd erupts. La Marseillaise begins, Allons, enfants de la patrie. Again the crowd applauds. Advance Australia Fair, stands, looks around and
Given the widespread relief accompanying Joe Biden’s transition to the White House, it seems churlish to start picking apart his policy agenda. Yet, there are grounds for concern about how the incoming administration will reshape US nuclear weapons policy over the next four years.
Bliss it was to be a cricket aficionado in Australia at dusk yesterday as the shadows lengthened at the Gabba and the players were bathed in soft golden sunlight. To be an Indian fan was pure heaven. We are resigned to heartaches as a staple diet. But once in a while, the gods smile, all is good in
The growing synergy among the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue powers of Australia, Japan, the United States and India has provided a crucial impetus to the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific. Bilateral ties between these four states have also seen positive growth, largely a result of “like-
It could have very easily been an international incident with Australia’s great ally, the United States. An American citizen tries to illegally enter Australia, creating a biosecurity risk in a time of global pandemic that ripples all way to the door of the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack
The Richardson review, released last month, amounts to the most significant review of Australia’s intelligence legislative framework since the Hope Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security in the 1970s. Back then, as David Irvine has noted, former judge Robert Hope laid out operating
As if 2020 has not been challenging enough, the United Kingdom is currently facing the prospect of ending its Brexit transition period on 31 December without a trade deal with the European Union. As post-Brexit negotiations on a UK–EU deal have continued without a breakthrough, the claim that the
On the wintry night of 27 November 1950, Chinese troops suddenly descended upon the US 1st Marine Division and the 31st Regimental Combat Team around the frozen Chosin Reservoir, less than 100 kilometres away from the China-Korea border. Having failed to dissuade the United States with words from
The horror year that has been 2020 is thankfully coming to an end with a dose of welcome optimism, now that vaccines are on the way. But the end is still far from within sight for many of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours.
In a new Lowy Institute policy brief, we argue that the Pacific is
This year has been one of great tumult at Australian universities. Not least are the nonsensical proposals to axe Indonesian language programs by several universities, such as La Trobe, Western Sydney University and Murdoch. Australian universities are closing the door of opportunity to the
The Interpreter has kept its eyes on political appointees to Australia’s diplomatic posts. Daniel Flitton’s most recent piece ended with the observation that the government should better explain why politicians make “excellent envoys”. The government explanation is likely to be, in the most
The politics in the fallout over the release of the long-awaited Brereton report into allegations of war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan threatens to overtake the actual subject of the inquiry. Even before China sought to insert itself into the issue, local introspection about what was
Current perceptions of renewables have been driven by the need to address climate change, a narrow view that overlooks benefits such as reducing our reliance on imported energy and creating thousands of high-tech jobs. As countries grapple with the outwardly ineffective efforts to pass climate
Food for thought
Picking winners and sacrificing national interests are two things that conservative politicians usually like to hold out as anathema.
But it says a lot about how the meltdown in relations with China is changing economic diplomacy that they are exactly what the federal
I suppose Will Hodgman has plenty of experience in charge of a small island state. Because otherwise it’s a bit of a puzzle why the former Liberal premier of Tasmania should be picked as Australia’s next High Commissioner in Singapore, as was announced this week.
Labor was quick to brand