China is now the top export and import partner for 12 of the other 20 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group and a top one-way partner for five others. The US score on this measuring stick is two and one.
This is one very basic way of seeing how China’s bid
The reality of living in a pandemic has dawned on Australia. Covid cases at the time of writing are high and still climbing. The virus is here to stay. Equally clear is that ring-fencing the country from the world — the ‘Fortress Australia’ policy — is no longer viable
Book review: Richard Marles, Tides That Bind: Australia In The Pacific (Monash University Publishing, 2021)
There’s much to like in Richard Marles’ new essay on Australia’s relations with the Pacific, Tides That Bind. Above all is the author’s passion for his subject. Those who
On top of staving off a China telco monopoly, underwriting the purchase would show the government is putting big money on the table to get ‘blue chip’ companies to invest in the Pacific. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review
It is now almost three years since Prime Minister Scott Morrison muscled up to China’s infrastructure building Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with $3 billion in varied funding to create an Australian alternative mostly in the Pacific.
So, it was notable to see that when the Council of
China’s increasing attention to the Pacific region has created an uncomfortable bind for Australian foreign policy: should Canberra try to compete on economic grounds, knowing that it can’t outspend Beijing, or find another way to differentiate itself?
Last week, former Department of Foreign
When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Pacific Island leaders about the dangers of “economic coercion” and “retribution” in an address on 2 June, he echoed a familiar view. By virtue of their “smallness” and “remoteness” Pacific Island states are presumed to be vulnerable
When we look at progress in decentralisation in Papua New Guinea over the last 20 years – the sole continuous and overriding policy priority of successive governments – many challenges remain to improve downstream service delivery. Programming for “social accountability” shifts the focus
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
The recent move to cut billions of pounds from the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget was long feared by advocates. As result, one minister has flagged her resignation, and others have made threats to cross the floor.
The reduction of the UK’s aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national
Papua New Guinea’s 2021 National Budget was passed in the parliament on November 17 under unusual circumstances. The traditional pre-budget lockup for economists and media was cancelled, and no opposition was present. Parliament was reconvened quickly by the Speaker following a defection of
In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
Australia plans to spend a lot more on defence to confront what Prime Minister Scott Morrison says will be “a post-COVID world that is poorer, that is more dangerous, and that is more disorderly”. A chorus of voices have responded that Australian foreign policy risks becoming unbalanced, with
In the name of keeping the nation safe, Australia is joining the Asia-Pacific’s accelerating missile race. However, not only will it not keep the nation safe, it will stoke an uncontrolled fire that is engulfing the region’s strategic landscape. The wise response would be to throw everything at
In Episode 11, Jonathan Pryke, Director of the Pacific Islands Program sits down with Dave Sharma, Liberal member for the federal seat of Wentworth, NSW, to discuss strengthening ties between Australia and the Pacific, and a potential Pacific travel bubble
Is development aid an effective solution to lifting countries out of poverty? Roland Rajah, Director of the International Economy Program, and Research Fellow Alexandre Dayant write on aid and corruption. Originally published in the Devpolicy Blog
Australia’s depleted international broadcasting is impairing the projection of Australia’s soft power at a time when government is seeking to increase its regional influence, particularly in the Pacific
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films, or TV programs this year.
Earlier this month, Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, hosted its flagship Monday night program Q&A in Suva, Fiji. For Australian political
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a problem. Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours urgently want industrialised economies to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions and make policy commitments beyond existing pledges. Senior ministers in the Morrison government, however, do not accept the latest
The recent state visit by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Washington offers an opportunity to pause and assess where things stand in Australian and United States efforts to respond to Chinese influence in the Pacific and to consider where there is space for improvement.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has copped flak for claiming that Australia regarded the Pacific countries as vuvale (a Fijian term for family). He was under fire again following the Pacific Island leaders meeting in Tuvalu last month, for emphasising Australia’s aid contributions to the region and
China is changing the way Australia’s political elites think about aid. Chinese aid to the Pacific isn’t new, but in recent years, “China the aid donor” has become an unavoidable presence. In response, the Australian government is increasing the Pacific focus of its aid programs. It has also
The so-called Quad group of Indo-Pacific maritime democracies – Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – is a valuable grouping, although it is still underutilised in many ways. One of the most effective ways that these countries could work together to enhance maritime security in the
Scott and Jenny Morrison stepped out into the humidity of Solomon Islands historic Henderson airport earlier this week to a legacy Pacific welcome, a mix of indigenous traditions and colonial pomp.
Being decked in finely wrought shell necklaces by young island maidens before inspecting the tiny if
The Pacific has undergone a foreign policy renaissance of sorts, with politicians and policymakers falling over themselves to proclaim their commitment to the region and its vital importance to Australia. Leaders of both major parties have been increasingly speaking about the region, while starting
Both the Australian Labor Party and Coalition have expressed support for France to remain as a Pacific power, seeing the French Republic as a stable, democratic, Western ally at a time of growing Chinese influence in the Pacific Islands.
Australia’s neighbours are well aware that Australian
A refreshing wave of Pacific-mania is sweeping Canberra.
There’s new postings, a new Office of the Pacific, a high profile visit from the prime minister to the region, and two major announcements on Pacific infrastructure: the creation of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for
You cannot fault former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd for a failure of imagination with his recent suggestion of trading sovereignty for citizenship.
You can’t eat sovereignty, you can’t drink independence, and you can’t build a house on a flag floating in the middle of the ocean
The aid industry is complex. Dozens of bilateral donors, hundreds of multilateral agencies, and thousands of non-governmental organisations litter the development landscape in all corners of the globe.
In aid jargon, this is known as “fragmentation”. Conventional aid-effectiveness literature
Australia created a $500 million loan scheme for Indonesia to support reconstruction following the 2005 Boxing Day tsunami. Australia lent a hand, forging stronger links in the process. But the loan scheme had its flaws.
As Australian ministers and officials currently tour the Pacific
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has now established an Office of the Pacific, a measure foreshadowed in 2018 as part of Australia’s Pacific “step up”. Ewen McDonald, formerly High Commissioner in Wellington and a Deputy Secretary in DFAT, has been appointed head of the Office.
The statements about the importance of the Pacific to Australia by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, backed by the Foreign Policy White Paper last year, are most welcome. The further decisions announced at APEC last week did even better. The fact is, Australia has
Over the past six years, we have witnessed the steady, if not accelerating, deterioration of the mental and physical health of refugee children on Nauru. Their suffering has been described by medical experts as worse than they have seen in war zones or refugee camps around the world.
Right when Australia finds itself with serious strategic interests in its neighbourhood, it has managed to turn its once influential international broadcasting voice into a whisper.
One that’s difficult to hear outside a handful of major cities across the region.
Greg Colton’s Safeguarding Australia’s security interests through closer Pacific ties sits in a long tradition of mainstream thinking about the significance of the Pacific for Australia’s national security.
It is a tradition that draws on intertwined anxieties: on the
For many commentators with an interest in the Pacific, the emphasis on the region in the Foreign Policy White Paper has been welcomed as long overdue. Yet it has also raised some questions about the manner in which Australia engages in the region. James Batley has questioned whether Australia has
It has been a tumultuous year for Australia's nearest neighbour.
The protracted and controversial elections in Papua New Guinea took up most of 2017, with Peter O'Neill winning a second term and cementing his position as the most formidable politician of his generation. The government
Richard Marles' address to the Lowy Institute this week was delivered with a rare eloquence. Marles is an impressive orator with genuine knowledge of the region gained over many years. As a colleague of mine commented quietly afterwards, if this is what Marles is like in opposition, imagine what he
Last Tuesday saw the official closure of the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, the Australian-funded and managed detention centre for unauthorised boat arrivals in Papua New Guinea.
Originally opened in 2001 as part of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, the centre was closed by the
Almost 20 years ago to the day, then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer addressed the University of Auckland on Australia-New Zealand relations:
First and foremost, the Australia-New Zealand relationship is a partnership of equals. We do not offer each other unsolicited or patronising advice on how