Thursday 19 Jul 2018 | 14:10 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

Australian refugee policy: Twists in the tale

On the airwaves this week, Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton continues to describe asylum seekers who are yet to submit their protection applications as 'fake refugees'. The Minister’s comments ignore the fact that government policy actually prevented these 7500 people from applying

Why Trump’s Middle East trip matters to Australia

There are two reasons why US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East matters to Australia. First, the President’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he also held a summit with Arab leaders, and Israel are a signal of where the administration’s foreign policy priority lies, and this does

Australia, Vietnam, the diaspora and generational change

Australia's Vietnamese diaspora is a remarkable element in the fast-evolving relationship between the two countries. Hanoi and Canberra are both doing what they can to help Australian Vietnamese to forge and strengthen links that can pay enormous dividends in trade and tourism. This latest chapter

Australian aid budget: It could have been worse

A $300 million cut. That’s what the headlines will say about the impact of this year’s budget on the Australian aid program. But that cut won't happen for another two years and there will be an election between now and then. In the meantime, this year the Federal government's spend on aid will

The Australian budget and counterterrorism

ASIO, ASIS and the AFP are all expected to receive substantial funding boosts in the federal budget to be handed down tonight. The additional funding for intelligence agencies - some of which will reportedly come from the foreign aid budget -  is apparently intended to facilitate 'frontline'

Book review: PNG, Australia’s Northern Shield?

Given the general gloom that seems to dominate contemporary Australian perceptions about Papua New Guinea’s ability to govern itself, it is refreshing to learn how mournfully doubtful successive Australian Cabinets in the late 1960s through to PNG’s independence in 1975 were about our former

The allure of orthodoxy and the peril of sentimentality

In one respect, the symbolism of President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meeting aboard the USS Intrepid in New York on Thursday could not be more ideal. After all, the moment will surely provide the perfect opportunity to showcase an alliance which has always – and

Where India fits in an activist Australian foreign policy

There can be little doubt that Prime Minister Turnbull’s recent visit to New Delhi has started to close the gap between where that country sits in the Australian strategic imagination and the current pace of India’s economic and strategic development. Turnbull’s very enthusiasm throughout the

India remains cautious about the 'quad'

Days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull returned from a successful visit to India, speculation emerged that New Delhi might reject Canberra's request for participation in Malabar, a multilateral naval exercise comprising India, the US and Japan. A media report noted that a formal

Lessons from India on migration’s role in trade policy

Prime Minister Turnbull yesterday carefully signalled a potential India-Australia Free Trade Agreement is not a priority for his government. This comes after the Abbott Government set a very public benchmark for concluding an India-Australia FTA by the end of 2015, an overly optimistic commitment

Turnbull’s India visit an opportunity to revive the Quad

Economics is likely to dominate the agenda during Malcolm Turnbull's visit to India this week, his first trip to New Delhi as prime minister. That makes sense. No longer the ‘sick man of Asia’, India has the world’s third-largest economy by the purchasing power parity standard of measurement,

How China’s media saw Li Keqiang’s Australian visit

On Sunday Chinese Premier Li Keqiang concluded his five-day visit to Australia having signed a slew of bilateral agreements. Li Keqiang last visited Australia in 2009, a year described by former ambassador to China Geoff Raby as ‘our collective annus horribilis’. Eight years ago, few could

Li’s Australia visit: ‘Nothing to be afraid of’

Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at Davos in January presented China as the natural protector of the global order after the abdication of the US from the position. Premier Li Keqiang's four-day visit to Australia (which starts today) will demonstrate that China is still keen on presenting

What to expect from Li Keqiang’s Australia trip

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's week-long visit to Australia (and New Zealand) comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity spurred by US President Donald Trump's disruption of the international relations equilibrium. Li's main objective is promoting trade and investment, particularly through President

The values conundrum in Australia's foreign policy

This post is part of a debate on Australia’s foreign policy White paper 2017. Click here for other debate posts. The debate on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is of limited interest to most people, but nonetheless reflects a divide on values in Australia. This divide has profile,

Defending the liberal order takes more than rhetoric

Julie Bishop’s recent speech in Singapore was out of date and stale. Her remarks exhibited two major and ongoing flaws in the government’s foreign policy thinking. The first is the persistent lack of substance in the Turnbull government’s response to both China’s challenge to the status quo

Why aren’t Australia and Vietnam strategic partners?

The election of Donald Trump as US president has increased strategic uncertainty about the leadership role of the US as the 'indispensable power' in the Indo-Pacific. One obvious conclusion is that Australia will have to redouble its defence and security engagement in the region. There are signs

Can economic and security analysts find a lingua franca?

This post is part of a debate on Australia’s foreign policy White paper 2017. Click here for other debate posts. When Foreign Minister Julie Bishop put economic diplomacy at the centre of Australian international relations in 2014, I suggested this might just be a canny way for a globe-trotting

Prioritising trading blocs over nation states

While there are natural cultural and institutional ties between Australia and the United Kingdom, it would be folly to choose the UK over the European Union; Australia’s trade with both the Asia-Pacific and the European Union must take priority over any favours to colonial history. As the United

Hard-wiring aid and development to foreign policy

The acid test of Australia’s new foreign policy will be longevity. As a nation, can we set an approach that endures? 'A dynamism about it that can carry forward over about 10 years', is how Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, described the key ingredient for the new foreign policy white paper.  

A question for alliance critics: What's your alternative?

This is an edited version of remarks delivered at the National Press Club in Canberra on 21 February, 2017, in a panel discussion with Sir Angus Houston. The full text can be found here, and a video of the event here. It is easy to be troubled by Donald Trump and the unpredictability of his

Joe Hockey and the limits of mateship

More details are emerging of the Australian government’s thinking on how to handle a volatile and erratic Trump White House, and how it might repair some of the damage following the now infamous telephone exchange between the US President and the Australian Prime Minister in early February.

Seeking clarity in Australian foreign policy

In August, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Turnbull Government would produce a new foreign policy white paper. The Minister described it as a 'philosophical framework to guide Australia's engagement, regardless of international events'. The world is changing so fast it is

Onus on Turnbull to remember Sri Lanka’s Victims

This week, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is visiting Australia. Besides growing economic cooperation, apparently 'enhanced cooperation on development and sport' between the two nations is on the agenda. But let’s hope that beyond friendly cricket matches, Prime Minister Malcolm

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