Friday 23 Oct 2020 | 14:08 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

Are we spying just because we can?

Geoff Miller is a former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. Yesterday Sam Roggeveen canvased six possible reasons why the Indonesians seem so upset at Snowden’s revelations of electronic espionage by the US and its allies, including ourselves. In considering this, it’s

New US report on Australia's alliance role a mixed bag

I have mixed feelings about a big new report from a US defence think tank on Australia’s potential role as a US ally in the Indo-Pacific. Sure, it will help focus US minds on the alliance in the lead-up to the next high-level AUSMIN meeting on 19-20 November, but at risk of the kind of publicity

2014 a key year for Indonesia and the region

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow in the Indonesia Project, Australian National University, and former Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo. Amid the current ups and downs of the Indonesia-Australia relationship we need to remember that while Australia has just had an election,

Revisiting Australia's oceans policy

Dr Sam Bateman, a retired RAN Commodore, served on the National Oceans Advisory Group established to advise on Australia’s oceans policy. This post is part of a series arranged in conjunction with the Sea Power Centre. Justin Jones and James Holmes point out in their recent posts that 'maritime

Reader riposte: Indonesia's reaction to spying claims

Neil Watson responds to Sam Roggeveen's question: why is the Indonesian government making its displeasure over spying allegations so public? Re Indonesia and the spying, I would definitely lean towards firmness to impress the domestic audience. We can expect more of this in the run up to next year

Spy claims: Indonesia takes it up a notch, but why?

So Australian Ambassador Greg Moriarty is being 'invited' to pay a visit to Indonesia's foreign ministry to offer an explanation for this Sydney Morning Herald report claiming that 'Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global

Yes, Australia has changed its East China Sea position

Robert Ayson is a Visiting Fellow with the ANU's Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, on research leave from the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. I have strenuously resisted the temptation to write again on Australia, the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD), and

AusAID passes aid transparency exam, just

Philippa Brant is a Lowy Institute Research Associate. Yesterday the transparency advocacy organisation Publish What You Fund released its 2013 Aid Transparency Index. Now in its third year, the index scores and ranks aid providers on the aid information they publish. The index and website

People smuggling: Four principles for maritime security

Rear Admiral (ret'd) James Goldrick AO, CSC is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. The new Coalition Government's package of measures to reduce people smuggling has once more highlighted the importance of effective national systems for maritime surveillance and response. Australia's

A maritime school of strategic thought for Australia

In hindsight, 2012-13 might come to be seen as a watershed period for maritime strategic thinking in Australian defence policy. During the 37 years that Australian governments have produced defence white papers, the notion of maritime strategy has been applied in only half of these documents,

'Don't annoy the dragon' is not a foreign policy

My thanks Rob Ayson for responding promptly to my post on Japan and Japan-China relations. Rob says my post reaffirmed his worries about Australia’s management of the relationships with Japan and China. But in turn, Rob’s piece reaffirmed the worries I expressed about his original post. I

Japan-China: Why Australia should embrace ambiguity

Robert Ayson is a Visiting Fellow with the ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, on research leave from the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Malcolm Cook has offered thoughtful criticism of my argument that the Abbott Government went too far in a statement

Reader riposte: Ediplomacy in the UNSC

David Lang writes: September in New York saw Australia take a ring-side seat under Per Krohg’s phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes mural in the UN Security Council. Nick Bryant’s verdict: the Aussies performed their procedural role with confidence in what was a productive and busy month. On the

Australia missing the lessons of Lampedusa

Dr Khalid Koser is a Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow and Deputy Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. As I write, divers are ‘unpacking a wall of bodies’ from the hull of a smuggler’s trawler that sank off Lampedusa last week, with 297 people so far confirmed dead. In

Weekend catch-up

Bringing together the best longer Interpreter articles you were too busy to read this week. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott conducted his first overseas trip this week, visiting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta. Lowy Institute Indonesia expert Dave McRae surveyed the

How Indonesia's print media saw the Abbott visit

Yesterday Sam Roggeveen provided English-language links to coverage of Prime Minister Abbott's visit to Indonesia. This post looks at the Indonesian language print media on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've covered four of Indonesia's largest daily newspapers — Kompas, Jawa Pos, Koran Tempo and Media

Abbott is not a neocon

Interpreter Editor Sam Roggeveen, in a cover story for The Spectator Australia, discusses Prime Minister Abbott's brand of conservatism, his commitment to the US alliance, and the Angloshpere as an instrument of foreign policy. The full article is available here

Abbott's Indonesia visit: Links

Tony Abbott's press statement alongside President Yudhoyono. (UPDATE: Video of the joint press conference. Tks Politics Australia.) Abbott's remarks to the official dinner in Jakarta. Reporting on yesterday's meeting is mixed, with Fairfax saying Abbott got a significant concession from President

Not so inscrutable: Learning how Asians think

Melissa Conley Tyler is National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. In 1998 it was still possible to publish a book with the title Can Asians Think?, at least if you were Singaporean. I don’t think anyone would ask that question now. But at a time when Asia

Four Corners tackles PNG corruption

The ABC’s flagship current affairs program, Four Corners, last night investigated corruption in Papua New Guinea. In Preying on Paradise, journalist Marian Wilkinson looked at the extent of corruption in our nearest neighbour. This kind of report is long overdue in Papua New Guinea. A focus

Christopher Koch, 1932-2013: A literary guide to Asia

The death yesterday of Christopher Koch at the age of 81 marks the end of a distinguished literary career. Twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Koch's work as a writer spanned novels and poetry as well as pungent commentary on what he saw as the failings of contemporary culture. For those

Joint Strike Fighter: Vanity Fair piles on

Much better than Four Corners' effort from January, because it presents the case for the JSF as well as against. Still it's a damning portrait of a flawed aircraft that is protected from serious scrutiny: The political process that keeps the Joint Strike Fighter airborne has never stalled. The

Andrew Michelmore: Understanding China's SOEs

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia needs to better understand Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs), according to Andrew Michelmore, CEO of MMG Limited. In his address to the Lowy Institute’s tenth anniversary China Changing Lecture in

Michelmore on Chinese investment in Australia

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia has ‘tarnished’ its reputation for policy stability in recent years through mismanagement and miscommunication over the introduction of the Minerals Resources Rent Tax and carbon pricing, according to

Women in parliament: Australia vs the world

There has been much consternation both at home and abroad about the lack of women in Prime Minister Tony Abbott's ministry, announced this week. The Washington Post, following the lead of the AP wires, billed the cabinet numbers story as a ‘rekindling’ of the Abbott sexism debate, a line that

First female foreign minister is a milestone

In the midst of the debate about the gender deficit in the new Abbott cabinet, we risk failing to recognise a milestone for Australia. Australia’s first female governor-general is swearing in Julie Bishop as our first female foreign minister today. As Annabel Crabb argues, Bishop is not a token

Balancing the national interest(s)

Melissa Conley Tyler is National Executive Director, Australian Institute of International Affairs. With the election of the Abbott Government, expect to hear a lot about the national interest. The last time the Liberal-National Coalition was in power it produced a foreign policy white paper

Australia gears up for UNSC Syria talks

Denis Fitzgerald is a freelance journalist covering the United Nations in New York. He blogs at UN Tribune. For the first two weeks of Australia’s presidency, the UN Security Council has not met formally to discuss the situation in Syria (though there’s been plenty of informal discussion

The election, as seen from Europe

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. 'Die Wahl zwischen Dr Death und Dr No' ('The choice between Dr Death [Kevin Rudd] and Dr No [Tony Abbott]') was the headline of an article in a Swiss newspaper. It is a short-

The St Petersburg G20 blues

 Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The St Petersburg G20 summit is over. Now the hangover. In assessing its significance and implications for Australia when it chairs the G20 next year, here are nine questions to consider. 1. What was the impact of Syria?

Introducing Australia's new government: People and policies

 The centre-right Coalition parties have won the Australian election. Below, we introduce our readers to some of the key figures and policies of the incoming government, based on The Interpreter's 2013 election coverage. The people Early in the campaign Sam Roggeveen profiled Prime Minister-elect

The men who would minister war (II)

Part 1 of this profile of Labor's prospective new defence minister Mike Kelly MP and shadow Defence Minister Senator David Johnston appeared yesterday. For men who will have responsibility for administering war if their party is elected tomorrow, neither David Johnston nor Mike Kelly want to talk

The election, from overseas (part 4)

Marty Harris is an Assistant Digital Editor at the Lowy Institute. Prime Minister Rudd's defence of marriage equality on Q&A went viral: covered by TIME, BBC, The Independent, the UK Telegraph, The Washington Post, and many others. A YouTube clip of the Prime Minister's remarks has been viewed

Coalition releases its foreign policy

Yesterday afternoon, less than two days before Australia goes to the polls, the Liberal-National Coalition released its official foreign policy statement (the Labor Party is yet to release one). A few small observations about the document, followed by one big point: The statement has the clear