There has been a surge in climate litigation in national courts over the past few years, especially in the United States. Accompanying this has been growing interest in litigating climate change in international forums, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
I thought to myself, here’s Xi Jinping walking past, here’s a chance to ask him a question. But instead he just gave me a wan look and a bodyguard quickened a step to put himself in the way, allowing the delegation to brush by before I got a word out.
It was Vice President Xi back then, in
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a foreign policy speech to the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. Australia’s foreign policy analysts can be very grateful for these candid remarks, because they should prompt Canberra to rethink its policy stance on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the “
The latest set piece showdown between the Labor Party leadership and its union base over a trade deal – this time with Indonesia – comes with some overlooked historic irony.
It is now more seven decades since the industrial and political wings of the labour movement
As the ABC chair Ita Buttrose reminded the audience at the weekend’s Lowy Institute Media Awards dinner, this year marks 80 years since Australia started broadcasting internationally. As she noted, Prime Minister Bob Menzies mused at the inauguration of the service on 20 December 1939, “The time
Sceptical of US interests in the Middle East, averse to military deployments and non-committal to the value of alliances, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he will pull US troops out of Syria. As he puts it: “We want to protect the Kurds but I don’t want to be in Syria forever. It’
At the current meeting in Hobart for CCAMLR, the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Australia is once again moving to establish marine sanctuaries off the east of Antarctica with the support of the US, Europe, and a coalition of environmental organisations. And
It is common to hear talk of a “trust deficit” in modern society, and Australia is no exception. Faith in public institutions is fragmenting, for a whole host of reasons. Trust is in trouble – as seen in the fallout of the Global Financial Crisis and growing wealth inequality, in domestic
In a new book edited by Dr. Michael J. Green of Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington D.C., the final chapter by Alex Oliver looks at international public opinion towards the US' system of alliances and finds that attitudes have been surprisingly
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a problem. Australia’s Pacific Island neighbours urgently want industrialised economies to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions and make policy commitments beyond existing pledges. Senior ministers in the Morrison government, however, do not accept the latest
Just last week, much of Washington seemed to reach consensus on the direction of US policy in Syria. The Syria Study Group, a bipartisan committee convened by Congress to examine policy options released a final report, laying out a way forward. The committee concluded that sharp shifts and reversals
President Donald Trump’s style of on-the-run Syria policy has once again reared its head, although this time it has been done via press release rather than Twitter. The Twitter announcement of a US military pull-out that he made in December 2018 was gradually walked back after his
After a couple of thoughtful speeches to Asialink and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Lowy Lecture last night marked a clear step away from the sort of Australian foreign policy articulated in the government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper and towards the
It’s not just the phone ringing at the Lodge – Scott Morrison needs to keep an eye out for the postie, too. Because like Donald Trump before him, senior US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham plans to contact Australia, this time with a letter, to ask for cooperation.
“To find out,” as
The recent state visit by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Washington offers an opportunity to pause and assess where things stand in Australian and United States efforts to respond to Chinese influence in the Pacific and to consider where there is space for improvement.
Book review: Common enemies: crime, policy and politics in Australia–Indonesia relations, by Michael McKenzie (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Next month marks the 17th anniversary of the Bali Bombing, which on 12 October 2002 claimed the lives of 202 people and injured 209 others. The attack
Paying the piper
Last Thursday as Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne was talking up the role of values in foreign policy to a business audience in Canberra, Indonesia was promoting its tourism investment opportunities to a different business gathering in Sydney.
It will probably never be
Book review: Australianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia, by Samia Khatun (University of Queensland Press, 2019)
A decade ago, Bangladeshi-Australian writer and historian Samia Khatun sat on the floor of the 150-year-old mosque in Broken Hill and opened up a thick volume from the bookshelf
In Saudi Arabia, a combined drone and cruise missile attack conducted by still-unknown forces (either Iran, Iraqi proxy groups, Yemeni militia forces, or a combination of all three) caused significant damage to the Kingdom’s most important oil facility. Defence writer Tyler Rogoway is alarmed
The discussion about China’s bid for baby-formula supplier Bellamy’s Organic shows the usual confusion about just what should guide decisions on foreign investment in Australia.
Of course there will be some proposals that are defence-strategic. But baby formula is not one of them. Nor is
Twenty years ago, several hundred soldiers from the 3RAR Parachute Battalion Group, including me, flew from our base in Holsworthy to Darwin. We had a brief training session with a cavalry squadron we had never worked with, and then, never having conducted any maritime training, we embarked on HMAS
Should journalists really be trying to impose an order on Trump’s thinking, when he himself displays none?
One of my favourite old sayings is, “You don’t ask the fish to describe the water”. This sentiment, that creatures can become so immersed in their environment and lose all perspective
Democracy is in trouble. Far from sweeping all before it in an unstoppable historical wave, confidence in democratically elected politicians is collapsing among the young, and authoritarian regimes are on the rise. The decision in Australia to hold a Senate inquiry into the links between national
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the International Force East Timor (INTERFET), a multinational mission led by Australia to stabilise the country in 1999. As a former Army officer posted to Timor-Leste after INTERFET, I’m proud to be back in Dili today to represent the
Syria is one among several Middle East regimes which believe that repression, if not used in moderation, provides a necessary answer to challenges to the existing political and social order. Accordingly, Western governments have to decide the relationship they wish to have with Syria, and its
TrumpHave you seen my tweet? MorrisonIt was brought to my attention … and then … honestly, this is what we call it the Canberra bubble. It’s ridiculous. It’ll be sorted out. TrumpWhy? I will study this dumb deal! MorrisonThe President gets that. I get it. TrumpSee, I said you’re going to
On the weekend of 24–25 August, the Brisbane City Council painted over a freshly-completed mural of a Korean statue on a traffic signal box. The mural had been approved by the Council as part of its Urban Smart Project but it responded to complaints that it was “offensive graffiti
This country’s diverse Chinese-Australian communities are hurting. From conversations with friends, I gather they feel burdened by an obligation to show loyalty to Australia that others simply take for granted. Some report feeling caught in the crossfire between a Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
The escalating protests in Hong Kong, the detention of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun on trumped-up charges, and the appalling treatment of ethnic Uighurs have resulted in renewed calls and pressure on Australia to act on human rights issues with China. While this is noble, human rights
Scott Morrison said it himself, only last week. “I mean he’s a very different President to previous Presidents.” And in another timely reminder ahead of the Australian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, the revolving door at Donald Trump’s White House has turned again, with the
The way incessant talk of China’s rivalry with the United States dominates the present turbulent world, it’s hard to conceive of an earlier time when Australia’s prime ministers devoted hours upon hours to the fate of far-off Zimbabwe. But the death on Friday of African independence hero-
Marise Payne is visiting Dhaka, the first trip to Bangladesh by an Australian Foreign Minister this century. The last was in 1998, while the last Australian cabinet minister to visit the country was immigration minister Amanda Vanstone in 2006.
Payne’s visit can be observed from a couple of
Last month, during an Indo-Pacific defence conference held in Perth, former Australian defence minister Kim Beazley and present Chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell both observed that almost all of Australia’s strategic commentators agree an increased defence budget is
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has copped flak for claiming that Australia regarded the Pacific countries as vuvale (a Fijian term for family). He was under fire again following the Pacific Island leaders meeting in Tuvalu last month, for emphasising Australia’s aid contributions to the region and
It makes good sense for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to look for areas of common interest during his forthcoming state visit with President Donald Trump. His interview with the Australian Financial Review suggests a stronger allegiance: to join Trump’s economic battle with China. This would be a
It was only about a decade ago that some economists started declaring that the price of iron ore was the single most important indicator of the outlook for the export reliant Australian economy.
Annual exports of the mineral ($77 billion last financial year) still account for about
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was at pains last week to emphasise the “modest and time-limited” nature of Australia’s contribution to the new US-led maritime security mission in the Strait of Hormuz known as the International Maritime Security Construct’ (IMSC). He batted away suggestions
Australia’s commitment to the US-led coalition to provide maritime security for the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf will be one maritime surveillance aircraft, to start operations later this year, and one frigate from early 2020. Military personnel will also help staff a coalition
Prime Minister Scott Morrison showed he was serious about the Pacific “step up” when he ensured that his first overseas visit was to the Solomon islands and the first foreign dignitary he invited to host was Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape. The visit by Marape represented a
Back in December, Scott Morrison went halfway in following Donald Trump’s change to the diplomatic recognition of Israel, deciding to leave Australia’s embassy in Tel Aviv while formally acknowledging “West Jerusalem” as the capital. But at the same time, Morrison decided not to follow Trump
On 23 November this year, Bougainvilleans will vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to stay part of Papua New Guinea or become an independent nation.
It is perhaps the high point of a 20-year peace process that in turn followed a gruelling, 10-year battle for independence waged between
The Australian government’s announcement today that it will contribute assets to a maritime coalition force in the Persian Gulf comes as no surprise, given the very public way the US request was delivered in Sydney at the recent AUSMIN meeting. Washington doesn’t make those type of requests
Many of The Interpreter’s readers are experts on the theory and conduct of international relations. So, quite reasonably, they look at armed conflict through the lens of inter-state relations, where one state resorts to the use (or the threat of use) of armed force to prevail over another. For
This week in the Australian parliament, the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security held the first public hearing for its inquiry into press freedom. The inquiry follows raids in June by the Australian Federal Police on the home of a News Corporation journalist and the offices of the national
If Australia’s senior international ministers were surprised by the sharpness of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s approach to economic dependence on China at the recent AUSMIN talks, they should have studied the US trade data the previous day.
A great divergence
Australia is known as a great export nation, but one of its least successful and most tenacious exports has again surfaced this week. In a video that appears to have “gone viral”, an Australian tourist in Bali terrorises locals – fly-kicking a motorcyclist off his bike, assaulting a man in his
China is changing the way Australia’s political elites think about aid. Chinese aid to the Pacific isn’t new, but in recent years, “China the aid donor” has become an unavoidable presence. In response, the Australian government is increasing the Pacific focus of its aid programs. It has also
For all the back-and-forth Hugh White has generated with his latest book, How to Defend Australia, in a national preoccupation with the China question, little serious discussion has been devoted to how to defend Australia’s southern front and cope with China’s increasing Antarctic footprint.
The so-called Quad group of Indo-Pacific maritime democracies – Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – is a valuable grouping, although it is still underutilised in many ways. One of the most effective ways that these countries could work together to enhance maritime security in the