China’s barley tariffs have thrust the challenges of trade into the headlines with a prominence rarely seen in the popular Australian media. Although a crucial basis of national prosperity, the “trade” side of Australia’s international engagement has seemingly always had a lower profile than
Book review: Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia, by Samia Khatun (University of Queensland Press, 2019)
A decade ago, Bangladeshi-Australian writer and historian Samia Khatun sat on the floor of the 150-year-old mosque in Broken Hill and opened up a thick volume from the bookshelf
It was only about a decade ago that some economists started declaring that the price of iron ore was the single most important indicator of the outlook for the export reliant Australian economy.
Annual exports of the mineral ($77 billion last financial year) still account for about
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong’s efforts to set out a vision for Australia’s foreign policy on Asia, embodied in Labor’s “FutureAsia” plans, are admirable. The specific focus of fostering knowledge of and engagement with Southeast Asia is welcome.
A key part of
The Lowy Institute collects valuable data on how Australians view Asia, but equally important is how Asians see Australia, even if at times it makes for uncomfortable reading. Australia’s future depends crucially on the decisions Asians make: for example, on where to study, visit, live, buy and
In the darkest days of John Howard’s pre-Lazarus life, before the triple by-pass and successful political resurrection, one of the many ways he was disparaged as being unfit to be prime minister was the argument that he simply did not have the presence or the bearing to represent Australia
Barry Sterland’s new Lowy Analysis explores the possibility of a future economic crisis in our region – this is not today’s problem, but something we should be prepared for. The paper benefits from his years of experience in the Australian Treasury and the International Monetary Fund. It sets
If Australia’s economic future lies in Asia, then managing the risk of financial crises in the region should be a top concern. Especially as any crisis could also have significant geopolitical consequences.
In an analysis for the Lowy Institute, Barry Sterland looks at what Australia can do
Here are a few quotes from Prime Minister Turnbull today after North Korea's latest ballistic missile test:
This is a sign, I believe, of their frustration at the increased sanctions on North Korea, recently imposed by the Security Council. It's a sign that the sanctions are working.
The resurrection of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), a proposal that would bring Australia into a strategic grouping with India, Japan and the US, has again been floated, this time in ministerial talks between Australia and Japan in Tokyo.
Australia has a perfect right to form
There can be little doubt that Prime Minister Turnbull’s recent visit to New Delhi has started to close the gap between where that country sits in the Australian strategic imagination and the current pace of India’s economic and strategic development. Turnbull’s very enthusiasm throughout the
Days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from a successful visit to India, speculation emerged that New Delhi might reject Canberra's request for participation in Malabar, a multilateral naval exercise comprising India, the US and Japan. A media report noted that a formal
Economics is likely to dominate the agenda during Malcolm Turnbull's visit to India this week, his first trip to New Delhi as prime minister. That makes sense. No longer the ‘sick man of Asia’, India has the world’s third-largest economy by the purchasing power parity standard of measurement,
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
In the context of an increasingly demanding security environment in Asia, the Lowy Institute joined with five research partners in Asia Pacific in a six-nation 2016 multinational survey of public opinion in the Asia Pacific.
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
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's pledge to hold an ASEAN-Australia leaders' summit in 2018 is a sign that Australia intends to take a more proactive and public role in shaping the Southeast Asian regional order. With a focus on strengthening economic ties and boosting links between Australian and
The maritime relationship between India and Australia has been on an upward trajectory since the 2014 Australia-India Framework for Security Cooperation. A lack of past interaction meant there was ample room for collaboration. The pace of development in the relationship has been quick, and includes
With the revelation last week that China had reportedly deployed surface to air missiles on Woody Island, rising tensions in the South China Sea have once again been thrust into the global spotlight.
As readers of The Interpreter are likely aware, Labor has been forthright about our position on
On 30 January, 95 days after its previous effort, the US Navy conducted another 'freedom of navigation operation' in the South China Sea (an operation known by the unlovely FONOP acronym).
This time around, the US improved the public diplomacy of the exercise with clear and reasonably
Shadow Defence Minister Senator Conroy should be applauded for entering the debate on Australia's South China Sea policy. His instincts that Australia should do more to support a rules-based global order that is coming under stress are correct. In a more multipolar and contested strategic
The 10th East Asia Summit this weekend promises to be one of the most interesting bits of summitry in some time. This, the last stop on Malcolm Turnbull’s five-nation tour which has included one-on-one meetings with the top three on Forbes' Most Powerful List, is also likely to prove the most
As the fastest growing economy in Asia, many countries are vying for India's attention. India's understaffed Ministry of External Affairs is constantly grappling with the demands of foreign governments for meetings with senior Indian leaders.
There is no doubt Australian leaders have to work harder
So Tony Abbott's revival of knights and dames has proved a short lived thing, with newly installed PM Malcolm Turnbull moving quickly to axe the contentious honours.
It's a move likely to be greeted with relief at home and bemusement abroad, given it is less than two years since knights and dames
Australia and its Navy are in an awkward spot, caught between China and the US in the full glare of a global media spotlight shone on the South China Sea.
Two Royal Australian Navy ANZAC frigates are due to arrive tomorrow in China's naval base Zhanjiang for a port visit, ahead of live-fire
For decades, there has been a familiar refrain: Australia has an Asia problem. We don’t engage enough with Asia, or understand its languages or diverse cultures. From Ross Garnaut in the 1980s to the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, the narrative has been that if only Australia could
Having a Catholic Pope and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China descend on Washington at almost exactly the same time helped illustrate something important about diplomacy. When staging a high-level state visit, there is a simple choice: emphasise either the head or the heart. This
By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of
Delivering the 2015 Lowy Lecture in Sydney yesterday, General David Petraeus outlined a thought-provoking grand strategy for 'Greater Asia'.
Geographically, Petraeus defines Greater Asia along a maritime axis from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Japan, but also overland 'from Western Russia to
I started my job at the Federal Reserve three weeks before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.
I wish I had kept a diary of my initial months at the Fed, so I could recall clearly what we thought was happening each day. I do remember there was a discrete point where suddenly everything felt like
A Suharto family foundation was ordered to repay millions in embezzled state funds, Jokowi's cabinet ministers underwent a long-awaited reshuffle and the central bank chief put a hip hop spin on Indonesia's economic situation in Jakarta this week.
On Monday, Indonesia's Supreme Court ordered
Ken Ward is to be congratulated for a straight forward and sober analysis of the Australia-Indonesia relationship. In his own matter of fact style, Ken takes us through a complex relationship and provides unique understanding and insight.
His core point is that the Australia-Indonesia
Maybe it's just the title – Condemned to Crisis? – that gives Ken Ward's book such a downbeat despairing tone, as if the accident of geography has locked us in an unhappy marriage with Indonesia and there is not much we can do about it.
Of course we should be realistic: we won't ever have the
The great strength of Ken Ward's Condemned to Crisis? is that it confronts head-on some of the false constructs surrounding Australia-Indonesia relations. Although many of the arguments have been made by other Indonesia experts over the years, Ward's call for a more realistic approach to the
Is China ready for a larger global role and should the outside world, in particular a regional partner like Australia, embrace this possibility? Evidently not, judging by remarks made by the Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, Michael Thawley. 'China wasn't ready to take on the
By Jackson Kwok, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree with specialisations in Chinese language, history, and foreign policy from the University of Sydney.
Reading through the Chinese media coverage of last week's US-China Strategic
China's long-anticipated formal pledge to international climate change negotiations, it's 'intended nationally determined contribution' or INDC, has arrived.
China's target is a 60% to 65% reduction in the emissions-intensity of the economy by 2030 pegged at 2005 levels, with carbon dioxide
With the signing of the AIIB's Articles of Agreement in Beijing yesterday, how is the Bank shaping up? Here are some key things that struck me reading the Agreement:
The Bank's members are split into two groups: regional and non-regional. Regional members include those countries
Only days after the somewhat inevitable dissolution of the opposition alliance in Malaysia, the disparate parties are jostling to create new partnerships.
For better or worse, the breakup of the People's Alliance or Pakatan Rayat is opening the door to new political opportunities. What deals are
This is part 3 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. Here is the introduction, part 1 and part 2.
One sunny November school day at a school in Tagime, hundreds of primary and secondary students are outside having a whale of a time. They're playing
Indonesia is the country with the greatest number of Muslims in the world, but it is not an Islamic state. Nor is it strictly secular – the first principle of the state ideology is the belief in God.
Defining the boundaries between religion and politics has been a constant theme throughout the
This is part 1 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. Here is the introduction to the series is here.
On a chilly Sunday evening in Wamena, the highlands capital of Indonesian Papua, a small group of white Christian missionaries worship together in an
The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll reveals a great deal about Australian attitudes towards China, both in terms of our bilateral relationship, but also how China fits into our broader sense of economic and political security alongside other actors such as the US.
It would appear that values and ideals
Overall, Australians continue to feel secure in the face of rising instability in the world and terrorism threats at home, according to the latest Lowy Institute poll.
But that sense of security is declining. 80% of those asked how safe they feel about world events responded positively in 2015.
'What's in a name?' Shakespeare's Juliet asks. Quite a lot, as things turned out for her. And so it is for the just-published proceedings of the ANU Indonesian Update, titled The Yudhoyono Presidency: Indonesia's Decade of Stability and Stagnation. A 'mini' version of the Update was held at the
North Korea's apparently successful test of a workable submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was big news over the weekend.
Signs that North Korea had been working on designing and testing both an SLBM and a submarine with the vertical missile launch tubes capable of firing them have been
News last month of the Chinese Government's Great Cannon cyber warfare tool should ring warning bells for Chinese technology companies abroad already compromised by their association with the Chinese state.
Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba and British Prime Minister David Cameron in Shanghai, 3 December
China and the US have both been described as countries that consider themselves to be exceptional. China, so much so, that some analysts argue it sees itself as 'uniquely unique'. What this means in China is that most Chinese understand themselves to be part of a culture that no-one else can truly