With a wicked and now infamous tweet, Australia has joined India, the US, Canada, and the Pope on a list of those China’s “wolf warrior” diplomat in chief Zhao Lijian has deliberately provoked. By reacting with fury we’ve done what a troll would hope.
Internet trolling referred
No doubt you have seen the offending tweet already. If you’re in the mood to be outraged, it is still pinned to the top of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s Twitter feed. Outrage was clearly on the minds of our politicians: the PM called a snap press conference to condemn the
The recent move to cut billions of pounds from the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget was long feared by advocates. As result, one minister has flagged her resignation, and others have made threats to cross the floor.
The reduction of the UK’s aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national
Australia could model itself in part on Singapore to ensure it could still thrive in an Asian region increasingly dominated by China, according to Fareed Zakaria, the author and foreign affairs commentator.
Zakaria was speaking at the annual Lowy Lecture, delivered this year via satellite from the
Trust between Australia and China is at a nadir. Little more than a year ago, the prospects for positive long-term engagement remained strong – not just for business ties, but also for that most peculiarly Australian game. AFL club Port Adelaide had taken Australian football to Shanghai for the
On Monday, the UK-based think tank Policy Exchange awarded Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison the inaugural Grotius Prize “in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order”. In his acceptance speech, Morrison spoke of the award’s namesake, the 17th-
It was only last year Scott Morrison marched with a baseball cap and Daggy Dad political persona to a triumphant victory in a seemingly unwinnable election. “How good is Australia! How good are Australians!” was the ScoMo catchcry.
Which makes his apparent transformation into a serious scholar
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update released by the Morrison government on 1 July concluded that Australia’s strategic environment is deteriorating – and deteriorating faster than was anticipated in the 2016 Defence White Paper. This grim finding, with warnings “coercion, competition and grey-
Back in 2012, Afghanistan mostly only featured in Australian news bulletins at those moments an Australian soldier was killed. The war was otherwise a story in the background, a feature on the back pages or late in TV bulletins when a journalist could “embed” with the troops. Tempers flared
India might have spurned the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, but its parable of the blind men and the elephant still provides the best way of understanding reaction to the region’s newest trade deal.
Is it a child’s paddling pool the width of an ocean (Financial
The latest complaints from China against Australia, neatly bundled into a series of 14 perceived disputes, makes painfully clear how ties between the two countries are straining. Yet Australia is not the only country to have felt the wrath of China’s coercive diplomacy.
Australia is lending A$1.5 billion to Indonesia to help it get through the economic crisis unleashed by Covid-19. This is welcome news and another sign of Australia stepping up to assist key partners in the region during an extraordinary global crisis.
The Australian loan will help the Indonesian
Typically, much of the initial foreign policy interest in a new (or slightly revised) Japanese government tends to look towards the United States – to consider the adjustments necessary to the alliance, to plan the first face-to-face meeting, to determine the nickname that will characterise
Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) stand as critical security partners with the United States, and have supported the open, rules-based international order for well over half a century. Both have shed blood in this mission, standing with the US in every war since the Korean war
The “who won” question isn’t quite resolved. Bleary-eyed pundits fossicking over every county result are making about as much sense – and as much noise — as a flock of seagulls scrabbling for chips on the beach. Joe Biden might just have the numbers. But Donald Trump hasn’t been blown
Book Review: Geoff Raby, China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order (Melbourne University Press, 2020)
Since the middle of the 19th century, four periods in Australian history have been marked by intense antagonism towards China: the gold rushes of the 1850s; the
The Taiwan Strait is a key hotspot in the intensifying US-China rivalry, where the two superpowers’ spheres of influence overlap. Beijing claims the area as a uncompromisable “core interest” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, while the US seeks to maintain its close economic, political
If he’s not already, Qatar’s ambassador in Canberra should be prepared to fly home on short notice. If he wants to use Qatar Airways, fine. But he might also need to tell the pilot that as a result of this outrageous scandal involving forced invasive examinations of female passengers at
While the Pacific has pulled off a miracle by remaining largely Covid-19–free, the economic devastation in the pandemic’s wake is wreaking havoc across the region. Economies are in freefall, thousands of already scarce formal sector jobs are being lost, and families are being displaced and
Will the bell Toll?
The quiet flood of Japanese investment into Australia over the past few years amid at times mounting alarm about much lower levels of Chinese investment has been regularly noted here.
But the astounding story of corruption and mismanagement inside the largest single Japanese
Australia is creating its own “China problem” by not adequately funding research, cultural and language training, and by not taking seriously the national security implications of underfunding support for international students.
Research collaborations have been under the spotlight, with
Concern about China’s creeping influence in Australia has dominated headlines in recent years. So it makes sense, from a national security perspective, to understand and engage with the very communities most at risk of China’s meddling: Australians of Chinese heritage.
That’s certainly the
The Quad – the grouping comprised of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – held its first stand-alone foreign ministerial meeting this month in Tokyo. In the words of one Australian analyst, the grouping that once faltered and restarted with a crawl now finally stands on its two feet
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade describes Australia and New Zealand as “natural allies with a strong trans-Tasman sense of family”. New Zealand claims it has “no better friend than Australia”. But differing approaches to their relations with China have been a point of divergence
In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
The Australian government is fatalistic about its ability to shape the future of the Indo-Pacific region. This stems from longstanding assumptions – as Coral Bell wrote more than 50 years ago, Australians “remain fully and inescapably vulnerable to the diplomatic stresses arising in Asia, on
What makes the Quad foreign ministers conversation this week in Tokyo consequential? Probably the strategic setting – a pandemic, global economic contraction and an accelerated Sino-US strategic competition on one hand, and rising regional tensions from the Himalayas to the South China Sea and
Australian commentators often appear eager to paint Australia’s China choices in stark binaries. “The money or our sovereignty: China leaves us no choice” is one representative headline.
Continued bilateral escalation could prove them right. But both states have an interest in trying to get
Each year, more than US $2 billion of foreign aid is invested in the Pacific Islands region, equivalent to roughly 8% of the region’s GDP. This aid comes in the form of thousands of projects from more than 60 donors. Information about these projects is often messy and opaque, with public
Something doesn’t quite line up in Bob Woodward’s latest book – and you have to look at what we know about intelligence assessments in Australia to understand why.
Woodward tells us in Rage, his second look into the current White House, of top-secret warnings delivered to US President
This month, Australia signed a partnership with AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company behind the University of Oxford’s proposed Covid-19 vaccine, securing the rights to locally manufacture the vaccine, should it meet safety and efficacy requirements. The Oxford vaccine group has been one of the
Book review: Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb (eds) Too Close to Ignore (Melbourne University Press, 2020)
Borders have been in the news in Australia, with the novel if frustrating experience of interstate pandemic restrictions leaving residents unable to cross previously free borders to access
The explosion and fire on board a supertanker off Sri Lanka this month, following closely on last month’s disastrous oil spill in Mauritius, serve as a reminder that environmental security threats are front and centre of security concerns among many Indian Ocean states. This issue will become only
The rushed departure from China of two Australian journalists, the ABC’s Bill Birtles and the Australian Financial Review’s Michael Smith, marks a new low in a relationship which had already seemed to have reached rock bottom.
The threats to the Australian journalists are bad enough of
In the aftermath of Islamic State’s defeat, it was anticipated that fighters and other members of the group would appeal to the very court system of a liberal democracy whose laws they rejected and whose way of ordering society they sought to supplant when they joined the terrorist group. And in
When Canberra called for an international, independent inquiry into Covid-19 in April, Beijing deployed trade restrictions measures against Australian beef and barley the next month.
And so when the Australian government responded firmly to China imposing a sweeping national security law in Hong
How will Covid-19 affect electoral democracy in Australia and around the world?
The pandemic has starkly revealed two fundamental aspects of successful democracy: the extent of a given society’s trust between its citizens and their government, and the capacity of those same governments to
Come December 2020, the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS) will have been in force for two years in Australia. Since its enactment in late 2018, FITS has courted significant controversy – including questions of its evenhanded application, collateral effects on rights, and constitutional
Although Melbourne’s secondary wave of coronavirus infection has been a significant setback, Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic is well underway. We must now grapple, however, with the enduring aftermath of high and rising unemployment, a sharp increase in government debt, a
On Monday this week, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced it has commenced an investigation into whether Australia has been subsidising winemakers. This follows a parallel investigation launched two weeks ago to examine allegations that Australian winemakers have also been “dumping” their
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resignation announcement on Friday caught almost everyone by surprise. Notably Scott Morrison tweeted that he would miss Abe as a friend and a “mentor” and that “his leadership, wisdom, generosity and vision have championed the cause of peace, freedom and
“Strategy”, a term often used loosely in reference to long-term planning, has many published meanings. A military planner, though, sees a clear definition: a strategy is a stated plan for connecting ends (what to accomplish?), ways (how to do it?), and means (with what resources?).
Finding a consistent stream of agricultural labour in Australia has long proved a challenge. With Australians often unwilling to accept this type of work in the numbers required to get food to market, the government has sought to use visa schemes to remedy the problem, welcoming foreign labour. Yet
After seven years, the informal middle power partnership bringing together Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia (MIKTA), has achieved less than optimists envisioned, but lasted longer than pessimists imagined. MIKTA emerged from the G20 in 2013, bringing together middle powers
Albert Einstein once said that “in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity”. For an open trading nation like Australia, the pandemic is an unparalleled crisis. The nation is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression, along with recessions in key trading partners, severe
Recently concluded negotiations for a new seven-year budget of the European Union, which excluded Britain for the first time in five decades, lasted more than two years and took five arduous days last month to wrap up in Brussels.
But the result fundamentally changes and extends the role of the
The Morrison government’s plan for defence spending outlined in the Defence Strategic Update last month has been incorporated into the Canberra consensus, with Labor offering no criticism and the mainstream press largely supportive. Yet as the government grapples with debt and deficit as the