Heavy rains from 29 March to 4 April caused floods and landslides in many parts of Timor-Leste, claiming more than 40 lives, displacing thousands of people and destroying critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Dili, the capital, has been the worst affected, as more than 12 hours of
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.
In much of the world, Covid-19 infections continue apace, but the global economy is rapidly recovering from last year’s slump. World trade volumes and industrial production were both higher in January than they have ever been, according to data collected by the Netherlands central bank. Releasing
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
Tax and spend
US President Joe Biden may be grabbing the global headlines by boosting world growth with his big spending and international security with his telephone diplomacy. But US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seems to be doing the real heavy lifting in restoring American credibility in
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
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was swift to claim former finance minister Mathias Cormann’s selection as Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) secretary-general as a tribute to Australia’s global influence.
“The appointment is recognition of Australia’s
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,
China’s yearly National People’s Congress (NPC), which convened last week in Beijing, generated more attention than usual. Most of the headlines focused on the confab’s decisions to impose additional electoral restrictions in Hong Kong, a predictable but nonetheless dismal further
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
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, Senior Fellow Richard McGregor sits down with Natasha Kassam and Jane Perlez to discuss new Lowy Institute research relating to the bilateral relationship between Australia and China
Amid debates on foreign interference, Australia-China relations and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lowy Institute’s Multiculturalism, Identity and Influence Project conducted a nationally representative poll of Chinese-Australians in November 2020 to better understand their outlook on life in
Unless like-minded nations bind together to push back in unison, Beijing will keep singling out countries for punishment at little cost to its interest. Originally published in the Australian Financial Review
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
A welcome change is underway in the international effort to combat dangerous global warming. It will have big implications for the Australian economy.
The United States, European Union and China – the world’s three biggest emitters – are now all targeting net zero emissions by mid-century (
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
Australia is a peaceful, prosperous nation that vocalises its support for human rights – and yet last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, one after another, countries voiced their concerns about serious human rights violations that are being committed in Australia, particularly relating
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
Although it may not regularly make headlines, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an important multilateral institution. With its standard-setting capability, the organisation’s 300 committees and 3300-member secretariat have carved unique policy niches on trade,
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.