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
Nearly 14 years after Australian war ships appeared off the coast of Solomon Islands leading the largest expeditionary force in the Pacific since World War Two, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has come to an end. Its success is such that parents have named their children RAMSI in
Harriet Smith is an intern in the Melanesia Program, Lowy Institute.
As the LGBTQ+ community in Australia continues the struggle for marriage equality, some are asking what impact this will have for our neighbours, especially in nations which still criminalise homosexuality. With the bill to hold
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
Matthew Dornan takes a look at Fiji’s 2016 budget. He notes that while the overall economic situation in Fiji is sound, the major policy reversals and long list of ad hoc revenue decisions in the budget 'undermine the government’s economic management credibility'.
Remittances costs from
The outcomes of the Paris climate change talks have been praised by Pacific Island leaders. PNG’s Minister for National Planning, Charles Abel, spoke to Pacific Beat about the results and his goals for the sustainable development of PNG’s economy.
On The Strategist, Tevita Motulalo analyses
The Commonwealth has announced its first female secretary-general, Baroness Patricia Scotland. The Baroness’ first task should be to beef up the effectiveness of their aid work as The Commonwealth has routinely ranked as one of the worst performing multilateral donors.
In the first of a two part
A former AFP officer posted in PNG has made a number of allegations about the conduct of local police and the AFP presence in PNG, claiming the AFP's actions are constrained by the imperative to maintain the Manus Island Refugee Processing Centre. The AFP has responded to this report here.
Fiji's 2013 constitution calls for a separation of powers between military and police (Photo: Getty)
Fiji’s Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald ended his contract this week. The official statement from the Fiji government cited personal and family reasons for the Commissioner’s departure,
Nickel mine at Thio, Southern Province, New Caledonia Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images
In August the economy of the nickel-rich French territory of New Caledonia ground to a halt as truck drivers set up barricades preventing movement at strategic points around the main island. The drivers called for
On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government.
Australian officials used to fret about the so-called 'arc of instability' of Melanesian nations in our neighbourhood, with particular concern about regular votes of no confidence in our former colony, Papua New Guinea.
But the sudden mid-term overthrow of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those
This is part 6 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. Here is the introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.
On a sunlit afternoon in the tiny village of Lolat, I ask a local school teacher, Natani Kobak, what subject he teaches. '
This is part 4 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here and here are part 1, part 2 and part 3.
'In June last year, seven doctors were sent to this town, but five didn't want to come. In September they tried to
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
Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:
There are challenges and
This is part 2 of former Fairfax Media Indonesia correspondent Michael Bachelard's series on Papua. The introduction to the series is here, and here' part 1.
Gaad Piranid Tabuni grew up in a village in the Papuan highlands of Indonesia too remote for any government – colonial Dutch or
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
Papua New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province. This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also