It is good to see a widening of the debate on this issue, and Andrew Carr and Peter Dean have done a commendable job of covering the political history of the 2 % of GDP commitment as it has played out in the public debate. It is certainly true that the Coalition exploited Labor's inability to meet
Tobias Haque and Doug Porter have worked on Solomon Islands for the past several years. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of their employers .
Jenny Hayward-Jones' recent paper (Australia's Costly Investment in Solomon Islands) suggests
Since 2007, the Defence Materiel Organisation has run an office charged with boosting Australia's defence exports. The Defence Export Unit, as it was initially known, was established with a budget of $34 million. It had a relatively inauspicious start – in 2009 it was unable to conduct its own
When former foreign minister Bob Carr published his diary in April, he launched himself into the struggle over what should remain a government secret and what should be revealed to the public.
Carr, who worked as a journalist with the now defunct Bulletin magazine, delighted in flourishing his
May should have been a milestone month for Australian international broadcasting, and arguably the most celebratory in the 13-year history of the Australia Network. ABC executives were due to sign a prized deal with the Shanghai Media Group, giving the ABC the most extensive access to Chinese
The prologue of Rebalancing US Forces, a new book edited by US Naval War College professors Carnes Lord and Andrew Erickson, opens with Barack Obama's speech in to the Australian parliament on 17 November 2011. That single clue should alert Australian readers to their country's importance in America
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Philippa Brant, a Lowy Institute research associate.
The Abbott Government last night brought down the first annual aid budget since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AusAID
A favourite analogy of the Australian Treasurer is that the budget he delivered yesterday 'does the heavy lifting'. But like all weights regimes, we're first in for some visualisation and warm ups.
The Treasurer's speech hit the right note by outlining the goal, with the Government recommitting
So here I am at the budget lockup, deep in the bowels of Treasury, with the idea of getting a much-anticipated preview of the Foreign Affairs and Trade budget for this, the Coalition Government's first federal budget. Only, there is no Portfolio Budget Statement for the Foreign Affairs and Trade
Fairfax defence correspondent David Wroe had what his editors labelled an exclusive in the weekend Sydney Morning Herald: Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshal Geoff Brown told Wroe the RAAF is interested in buying armed drones.
No disrespect to Wroe, whose background piece on drones in
Every sector is speculating on how it will be hit by next week's federal Budget following the National Commission of Audit's recommendations on cost cutting. As Alex Oliver outlines, even the cash strapped Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may not be immune.
Given its razor gang mandate, it
The Abbott Government will next week bring down its first aid budget, a budget which itself will contain two interesting firsts: it is the first since the integration of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with AusAID, and the first since the transition of the very expensive Regional
An addendum to the long interview I posted last Friday with former prime minister Malcolm Fraser. Fraser argues in his new book Dangerous Allies that the US listening post at Pine Gap in central Australia, known as the 'joint facilities', has evolved from a surveillance base designed to monitor
This morning, eminent University of Indonesia law professor Hikmahanto Juwana issued a press release in response to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's telephone call to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono a day earlier.
'President SBY must approach PM Abbott's telephone call very carefully so as not to
Ric Smith, Andrew Carr and Peter Dean all present a compelling case as to why a 2% of GDP target for defence spending does not constitute a strategy. But this completely overlooks the target's purpose. The bipartisan 2% target is not for defence planning, it is for alliance management.
My previous post analysed the Commission of Audit's recommendations on defence, foreign affairs and aid. Below, some of the less prominent recommendations made by the Commission in the realm of international policy, which range from sensible to questionable.
First, the sensible recommendations
Andrew Carr is a Research Fellow, and Peter Dean is a Senior Research Fellow, at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University.
There's much we can agree with in Ric Smith's discussion of funding Defence at 2% of GDP. He is right to say that there is no science behind the 2
Plenty has been said about the Government's National Commission of Audit's recommendations on domestic policy. But what are the potential ramifications for the agencies responsible for Australia's international functions of defence, diplomacy and aid? (Though following the subsuming of AusAID into
It has just been pointed out to me that in his press conference of 23 April announcing the decision to buy 58 Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) for the Royal Australian Air Force, Prime Minister Abbott made a tantalising reference to future additional purchases of the JSF. If it means what I think it
Yesterday I had a long and fascinating talk with former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who has just released Dangerous Allies, his new book calling for a substantially more independent Australian strategic posture.
You can listen to the whole conversation below, but I have also
The Abbott Government's repeated commitment to build Australia's defence spending back to 2% of GDP within a decade is welcome.
Our defence budget carries a heavy load. In the first instance it must of course provide for the defence of a whole continent and ensure that the responsibilities we
It was all a trick. A simple scam played on a clueless tabloid media to sell more books. And didn't they oblige! As soon as Bob Carr's Diary of a Foreign Minister hit the shelves, they searched the book for scandal, and found a man apparently addicted to perks and privilege. The Daily Telegraph
Wherever Kevin Rudd goes, leadership speculation seems to follow. During his time in Australia, it centred on the stewardship of the Australian Labor Party. Now that he is based in America, it involves an even more disparate, unruly and opaque body, the UN.
According to a front-page report in The
The issue of labour migration and seasonal work is back on the agenda of Pacific island governments and donor agencies. Pacific population is increasing by 177,100 each year and at the present rate the region's population will double in the next 36 years.
Disaggregating those statistics makes the
'Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge', Prime Minister Abbott said today when he announced Australia would spend A$12 billion on 58 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (14 are already on
The idea of cyberspace as a common global good has yet to find its place in Australia.
Ensuring that sea lanes remain open for navigation throughout the Indo-Pacific was a prominent concern in the last Defence White Paper. Australia's condemnation of the Chinese ADIZ in November 2013 indicates
On 5 April, the Solomon Islands was hit by extreme flooding, killing 23 people and leaving an estimated 50,000–60,000 people homeless.
Lowy Institute Melanesia experts Jenny Hayward Jones and Tess Newton-Cain got together earlier this week to discuss the impact of Australia's $3 million
In the US movie Groundhog Day, protagonist Bill Murray finds himself condemned to relive the same day over and over again, until finally managing to break the time loop.
For Japan whaling watchers, it has been a familiar feeling. In recent years, the nation's 'research' whaling expedition
A key facet of the Australian Government's aid and development policy for the Pacific island region is enhancing private sector engagement. However, the detail of this policy has yet to be articulated. The role of the private sector in aid and development is the subject of an ongoing
By Geoff Miller, former Australian Ambassador to Japan (1986-89) and former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (1989-95).
In their Interpreter article of 27 March, Bates Gill and Tom Switzer respond to questioning of the durability of the US 'pivot' (or 're-balance') towards the
For a trade deal that Prime Minister Abbott says is the most significant since the 1957 post war-trade pact with Japan, there seems to be a lot of whinging.
The trade minister says it is a 'glass half full, glass half empty situation'. Good for some, even if there are not many benefits for others
In what will come as a surprise to many, the OECD's 2013 aid figures reveal that foreign aid (ODA) from governments is actually increasing. This is despite ongoing budgetary constraints in many countries. After two years of decline, foreign aid rose 6.1% in real terms in 2013 to reach its highest
It was a treat for me to host yesterday's panel discussion on Snowden, WikiLeaks and the Future of Espionage. It was a lively panel which engaged in sometimes passionate discussion on the ethics of leaking, the practical and moral limits of intelligence-gathering, and the implications of spying (
If, as expected, Australia and Japan sign a defence equipment agreement today, this should be seen as a normal and welcome development in the bilateral relationship (as ASPI's Peter Jennings notes) and certainly should not lead Australia to seek some kind of 'counterbalancing' reaction in Australia-
Prime Minister Abbott's team for his current visit to Japan, South Korea and China is certainly business-heavy. So too was his warm-up speech, which one observer suggested might be seen as 'a tad too mercantilist'. Nothing wrong with that. Concentrating on trade seems sensible given the many
Bad news on global warming last week, with the latest IPCC report concluding that global warming is depleting fresh water and crops, destroying coral reefs and melting the Arctic. See here eight stark graphs from the report . US Secretary of State John Kerry’s response to the report was
Media reports predict that Australia and Japan will sign a historic defence and security pact when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visits Japan this weekend. If this news is accurate, one must hope that Australia has prepared a major security-related deliverable for Abbott to propose to President Xi
In the wake of the Abbott Government's unforeseen but momentous decision last year to integrate the Australia's foreign aid agency, AusAID, into DFAT, the federal parliamentary committee system seems to have been enlisted by government and opposition to debate the aid policy gap.
In early December
Prime Minister Abbott poses with the leaders of the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean military efforts searching for MH370 at RAAF Base Pearce.
Tony Abbott is about to depart on the most important international visit of his prime ministership thus far. Over the next week he will visit Japan,
The UN announced it will launch an inquiry into war crimes committed by Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka. The move was not supported by Australia. The vote count for UN #HRC25 was 23 votes in favour; 12 against; 12 abstentions.
The impact of climate change on development in
Last week marked Julie Bishop's first six months as foreign minister.
When she was sworn in as Australia's 38th minister for foreign affairs on 18 September 2013, she could have not been better prepared for the job. As shadow minister from 2009 to 2013 she had developed both her knowledge and her
Well, all glory is indeed fleeting.
Having just given The Interpreter a pat on the back for our Asia coverage, I'm embarrassed to admit that we are late to Prime Minister Abbott's Asia Society speech, delivered on Tuesday to set the scene for his early-April Asia trip.
The speech is trade
There's a big, a big hard sun
Beating on the big people
In a big hard world
– Eddie Vedder, 'Hard Sun'
Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove is to be commended for calling for a 'larger Australia'. However, the old adage of 'quality not quantity' also applies. It is not clear
I have been inspired to add my twenty cents worth in favour of well-balanced, strong population growth by the recent contributions of Michael Fullilove and Andrew Leigh who, in different ways, have refreshed the national discussion on Australia's population growth.
There is also inspiration in a
Australia's founding governor, Arthur Philip, expected the settlement he led would in time become 'the Empire of the East'.
In his important and timely National Press Club address, Michael Fullilove is more modest but he makes a powerful case for a national conversation on whether Australia
The status of the rule of law in Nauru became even more precarious with the recent resignation of Nauru's Chief Justice, Australian Geoffrey Eames. After two months of seeking to have the withdrawal of his visa by the Nauruan Government overturned, he now says his position is untenable.
Nick Bryant is the author of the forthcoming book The Rise and Fall of Australia.
Australia requires a rhetorical rethink, for the language used to describe itself is ridiculously out of date. Take the vocabulary of isolation and peripheralism.
Old-fashioned constructs like 'the land down under
Tonight, Tony Abbott flies into Port Moresby on his first visit to Papua New Guinea as prime minister.
So far his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, has done the heavy lifting in the relationship, building on several visits in opposition with a high profile visit in February. The Abbott Government