In mid-2015 I was approached to work as a claims assistance provider at the Manus Regional Processing Centre. Initially, I was hesitant because I did not want to be part of an arrangement I believed was morally, if not legally, reprehensible. The processing of asylum seekers was of concern
Ahead of Malcolm Turnbull’s weekend confab for South East Asian leaders, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo reportedly thought it would be a “good idea” if Australia joined ASEAN.
Lowy’s Aaron Connelly is dubious.
Reality check: Australia has not been invited to join ASEAN, and will not
How does Australia’s economy align with those of our Asian neighbours? What are the development challenges facing nearby South East Asian countries? And just how large is China’s economy? These questions are of particular interest this week as the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit is held in Sydney
At the weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the margins of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit. Although Turnbull seems to have built the positive personal relationship with Jokowi that eluded Tony Abbott, managing the bilateral
Membership or not
Our experience with Vietnam and the Philippines over the past few years only serves to show why the newly revived idea of Australia joining the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is like stepping through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass.
Only a short time ago, the
With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) now signed and awaiting ratification by the member states, the issue of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is again being debated. The high-profile opinion-catalysing group GetUp is encouraging
Five years ago Australia played a key role in drafting and negotiating the UN Arms Trade Treaty in order, as the government announced at the time, “to reduce the impact of armed violence on communities around the world”.
Five weeks ago Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his “vision
The upcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit has led to a surge in analysis of the Association of South East Asian Nations and Australia-ASEAN relations in Australia.
In February, ASPI released a special report by Graeme Dobell recommending Australia seek ASEAN membership claiming that ASEAN
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from Washington last month even more convinced of the need for deep cuts in Australia’s 30% corporate tax rate, which is well above that in the US. Given the numbers in the Australian Senate, however, it is unlikely the proposed tax cut will pass.
Australia’s new defence export strategy to transform the country into a top-10 global arms exporter raises many questions. This indicates that the government does not fully understand – or, at least, is yet to fully explain – the mechanisms behind the international
International Women’s Day has, for more than 100 years, been a celebration of the contribution of women and girls to their communities, nations, and the world. As Australia’s first female Foreign Minister, I am keenly aware that while International Women’s Day is important, it is what we do on
Inequality remains a pervasive human rights challenge and a critical barrier to economic development in the Indo-Pacific region. The Abbott and Turnbull governments’ decision to retreat from international development assistance funding has only exacerbated this problem.
The erosion of long-
The signing of a treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste marking maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea represents a huge step forward in resolving the two states’ long-standing disputes. The conciliation process that led to the agreement was groundbreaking for being the first time such an approach
How should countries respond to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium? One response would be to retaliate. Another would be to emphasise the damage done to the global multilateral trade framework. Yet another would be to negotiate a side deal to avoid, and perhaps even benefit
In her article “How Australia crossed a line in the Timor Sea”, Kim McGrath claims that Australia had evidence supporting Indonesia’s claim in maritime boundary negotiations – but buried it.
This serious charge is not substantiated by the 1970 report from then Bureau of
Julie Bishop’s recent speech to the Menzies Centre at King’s College London included some interesting signalling about Australian foreign policy. As Euan Graham observes, the speech appears to be part of a broader government strategy to soften Australia’s rhetoric on China, and&
The expert panel on the ABC’s Q&A program earlier this month was hopelessly confused in comparing Donald Trump’s cut in US company tax with the proposed company tax cuts in Australia. Although it’s often useful to compare domestic economic policy initiatives with those
This month, Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian announced new security measures for Australia’s most populous state, aimed at countering violent extremism within the NSW juvenile justice system. Under the new measures, detainees deemed by law enforcement agencies to pose a possible
Ever since John Howard was unseated in the 2007 election and Australia launched itself into its decade-long cycle of political leadership instability, us foreign-policy types have wondered what damage it must all be doing to Australia’s reputation abroad. For the BBC’s Nick Bryant, a regular
On Friday, news broke that the Chinese Embassy had issued a statement in Mandarin on its website urging all Chinese students in Australia to protect their safety. This was reported to have alarmed the university sector, which interpreted the statement as a veiled threat in retaliation for
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop delivered a speech on Monday evening at King’s College London, outlining to a British audience how she sees Australia’s priorities. While crafted in that particular Anglo-Australian context, it is probably Bishop’s most important foreign policy speech since
Australia’s new defence export strategy is one of many indicators that the government is losing interest in fulfilling its commitments under the previously celebrated Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
The new defence export strategy calls for an increase in defence exports from $2 billion to more than $4
Malcolm Turnbull jets off to Washington this week for talks with Donald Trump as both men are engulfed in distracting scandals. For Trump, chaos is constant, while for Turnbull, a brief moment of optimism at the end of last year about his political fortunes changing for the better has
The UN Compulsory Conciliation between Australia and Timor-Leste, which aims to set a boundary in the Timor Sea, appears to be inching towards resolution, with details emerging in the Portuguese media last week of a deal involving a median line boundary and a revenue-sharing arrangement
In its 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, the Australian Government declared “shared values” to be at the centre of its foreign policy, and defined such values as “political, economic and religious freedom, liberal democracy, the rule of law, racial and gender equality and mutual respect
Euan Graham has given a glass half-empty explanation of the significance of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in an attempt to explain Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s enthusiasm for the forthcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March. In fact, there is good cause for the
Among the range of sensitive government documents in the 'Cabinet Files' release last week, a list appeared with reference to a secret report intended for Australian eyes only, titled "Bilateral Planning with the United Arab Emirates on the defence of the UAE in the event of Iranian Hostilities
In March, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will welcome the ten leaders of ASEAN to Sydney for a special summit focusing on business and security ties. This is the first time Australia has hosted ASEAN. By any definition, it is a significant event in Canberra's diplomatic calendar, with the
The second-hand furniture business in Canberra must be booming.
The last few days of Australian news has been dominated by the extraordinary story of how the ABC got hold of a trove of secret documents – dumped, apparently in ignorance, inside a locked filing cabinet at an ex-government
Cambodia’s Supreme Court has denied bail to Australian film-maker James Ricketson in an espionage case that is fast becoming an embarrassing headache for both countries involved.
In laying espionage charges against Mr Ricketson – a messianic crusader of the poor – Cambodia has inadvertently
Contra Tim Costello, it is not unethical to sell arms to foreign countries. Indeed, if a state is threatened by aggression, it might be unethical not to help it acquire the means to defend itself. But of course it can be wrong to sell weapons if we think there's a good chance they will be used
Last month in The Interpreter, Clay O’Brien proposed the creation of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) for Australia’s aid program. This shift in thinking about the way the government could engage in development is most welcome, particularly in Papua New Guinea. More can be done.
Represented by Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson, Australia was one of 20 countries that participated in a conference last week on coordinating international approaches to North Korea. Co-hosted by Canada and the US, and held in Vancouver, the conference had
In a little more than a week, New Zealand will celebrate its national day, Waitangi Day. This year will mark the 178th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi, the agreement between the British Crown and New Zealand Maori rangatira (chiefs) that led to New Zealand becoming a British colony
Sometimes your closest friends, rather than your rivals, cause the biggest headaches. The blunt language contained in the 2018 US National Defense Strategy (NDS) is likely to complicate Australia’s strategy of balancing its security relationship with the US with its economic relationship with
The Davos summit is taking place this week. At the Center for Global Development, Michael Clemens and Kate Gough argue that human mobility and migration solutions should be a central topic of discussion. Egypt and Ethiopia are fighting over the Nile. Damming the Blue Nile tributary
Pity the news subeditor in summertime Australia. It’s January, the days are languid, and even the Trump administration can’t fill the entire World News section. Unsurprisingly, then, some headlines published in the lead-up to last week’s meeting between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm
Australia has formally lodged a complaint against restrictions some Canadian provinces have placed on the sale of imported wine in grocery stores, in what has been described, somewhat dramatically, as a 'wine war'.
Australia's action was described in the Ottawa Sun under the headline&
The future looks ominous. There are grim warnings that Australia's strategic situation has worsened dramatically, with major power conflict increasingly likely. Some commentators fret over US withdrawal from the region, which would leave us disturbingly exposed. Others worry that the US is now too
Making a judgement in the present about events in the past is fraught with difficulties. It is natural and often right to view past events with the moral and legal perspectives of the present. However, it is very risky to impute motivation to actors in the past as if they were informed by facts or
Climate finance was high on the agenda in Paris last month as French President Emmanuel Macron co-hosted the 'One Planet Summit' with the UN and World Bank, preceded by a 'Climate Finance Day' with bankers and major institutional investors.
Climate finance has been a central pillar of global
Former senator Sam Dastyari cetainly found that history repeats itself as farce. Or as Stephen Conroy, the former Labor defence spokesman that Dastyari infamously contradicted over the South China Sea, would later observe, it took a 'unique set of abilities to
When the Convention on the Law of the Sea allowed countries to establish exclusive economic zones, coastal nations claimed 90% of the world’s fisheries. This carried enormous significance, transferring fisheries property rights from the open access international commons to exclusive national