Australia and Sri Lanka’s recent experience working together to prevent people smuggling from Sri Lanka has been one of the more significant, and largely unreported, wins in regional security cooperation. After almost a decade of close collaboration, largely focusing on naval operations, now
Kamala Harris’ anointment last week as Joe Biden’s US presidential election running mate was in some ways groundbreaking – she is the first Black woman and the first Asian-American woman on a major party ticket – but in most ways she is a conventional choice.
Harris is a moderate Democrat
In 2018, when Australia shared security concerns about Chinese tech giant Huawei with allies and later banned the company from supplying equipment for the development of its fifth generation (5G) telecommunications network, it escalated a simmering row about Huawei’s presence in telecoms systems
On 9 July, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a package of visa changes aimed at providing “safe haven” to Hong Kong students during a time of concern for their security. The changes extend the amount of post-study work rights Hong Kong students are entitled to and create
Judging by recent satellite imagery, it appears that significant progress is being made on an expansion and upgrade project at Momote Airport, the nearest airfield to Lombrum Naval Base on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. The runway’s usable length has been extended by about 200 metres, precision
The recently announced $270 billion commitment to expand Australia’s military capability sets the tone for a deteriorating strategic environment. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan are only part of the answer in aligning Australia’s response to this challenging future. It
We all see the world through our own eyes. But this truism is so often forgotten.
In Melbourne, where I live, a curfew has just been imposed, businesses shuttered, troops are increasingly seen on the streets, and the local premier is warning darkly of “what further steps” might follow if
The recent 2020 Lowy Poll revealed that a mere 25% of young Australians aged 18–29 see the US-Australia alliance as “very important”. This is a stark contrast to the 43% across all age brackets with such high regard for the alliance.
The reluctance by this section of the “millennials”
With European leaders having just spent five days in close-contact negotiations in Brussels and now Australia’s first offshore ministerial visit for almost five months to Washington, a post-Covid diplomatic agenda is tentatively taking shape.
Just what Covid 19 might
There is growing support for diversifying Australia’s economic ties with China in order to reduce the risks of economic coercion. The main bilateral economic ties are through exports, imports and investment. Australia’s risks of economic coercion from China mainly come via exports. China buys 33
The public aura around the decades-old “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing partnership between Australia, the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand has expanded rapidly since the name was first publicly acknowledged. In 2014, an Australian prime minister publicly referred to the “Five Eyes” for the
Australia has entered the renewed diplomatic fray about China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, clarifying, if not entirely resolving, Canberra’s previously vague legal position on the strategically important and contested waters.
The timing is significant, following the
From Delhi to Washington to Canberra, the future of the digital economy may be heavily influenced by how one question is answered:
What to do about TikTok?
The popular short-video platform owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance has been at the centre of a storm of controversy. Concern
Australia’s strategy on engaging India has long revolved around the so-called “three Cs”: cricket, curry and the Commonwealth.
In light of the changing status of bilateral relations in 2020, let’s add a couple more Cs to the list: China, and containment of.
On Friday, it emerged that
The recent release of the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan provided an outline of the government’s defence policy and capability priorities for the next decade. The Force Structure Plan in particular helps define how an additional $270 billion will be invested to deliver critical
As China recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, the apparatus of the state is about to be devoted to a new form of social control. By the end of 2020, China plans to introduce its national social credit system. For some, this evokes dystopian visions of a surveillance state, monitoring more than a
The launch of the 2020 Defence Strategic Outlook prompted some observers to argue that Australia should boost the firepower of its diplomacy as well as its defence force. They reminded us that DFAT’s budget for diplomacy had been shrinking for decades, a trend documented in other assessments. Then
With global travel slashed to a bare minimum early in the Covid-19 pandemic, study abroad programs were among the first Australian organisations outside hospitality and retail to feel the economic impact of the crisis. With looming uncertainty and often no choice but to study online, most Australian
For all the commentary generated by the release of the Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan, which outline Australia’s defence policy and capability priorities for the next decade and beyond, it is strange that little attention has been paid to one particular phrase that the
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update goes some way to preparing Australia to compete in a new multipolar, Indo-Pacific–anchored strategic environment. But a notable absence from the document is Russia. This matters. Australians too often speak of Moscow’s irrelevance and weakness since the end of
The release of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update marks an important milestone in Australia’s strategic thinking. As Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted, we are facing one of the most challenging set of strategic circumstances since the 1930s.
The 1930s was characterised by a deep economic shock
One effect of Australia’s more assertive posture on the People’s Republic of China has been to try to split off Beijing’s current and potential partners. This thinking was apparently behind Liberal MP Dave Sharma’s recent suggestion that Australia should back Russia’s participation in the
In the name of keeping the nation safe, Australia is joining the Asia-Pacific’s accelerating missile race. However, not only will it not keep the nation safe, it will stoke an uncontrolled fire that is engulfing the region’s strategic landscape. The wise response would be to throw everything at
Last month, US President Donald Trump surprised allies by calling for Russia and Australia to be admitted together with India and South Korea to an expanded G-7.
Writing in support of the idea, federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma has cast the argument as a reversal of Nixon’s 1972 opening to Mao’s
Growing Sino-Australian diplomatic and trade disputes have led to Chinese import bans on certain Australian products, but iron ore – Australia’s biggest export to China – has largely been kept out of the fray. Although China did impose new import procedures that could potentially hold up
The entry into force of an ambitious Indonesia-Australia trade deal on Sunday is a boost to the bilateral relationship, coming after nearly a decade of difficult negotiations. No two neighbouring G20 economies trade as little as Australia and Indonesia, and the investment relationship is similarly
A spike in coronavirus cases across Melbourne has seen local hotspot suburbs largely locked down and some 3000 people in public housing towers prevented from leaving home at all. But the sharp reminder that “This is not over” which now flashes on freeway signs across Australia’s second largest
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting democracies in the Asia-Pacific region in ways that demand Australian attention.
The ability to weather a crisis of this magnitude depends upon partnerships and collaboration – economic, social and political – with key countries in the region. These
Costing the D word
Diversification might be the word of the moment in the lexicon of Australian trade debate, even though few advocates make much attempt to explain how it will actually work.
But now we have two interesting efforts to quantify just how selected reductions in trade with China in
The Defence Strategic Update 2020 launched yesterday in Canberra is a notably candid assessment of the strategic challenges Australia faces and the measures with which the government plans to meet them. It explicitly declares “Australia’s ability – and willingness – to project military power
On behalf of my Chairman Sir Frank Lowy as well as the Board and staff of the Lowy Institute, I would like to express my sadness at the news that our friend, colleague and mentor Owen Harries passed away yesterday.
When Owen joined the Lowy Institute as a Nonresident Fellow shortly after its
It would be difficult to think of anyone who has been more percipient about international affairs in recent decades than Owen Harries. Harries, who was the Australian ambassador to UNESCO as well as editor of the National Interest magazine for several decades in Washington, never occupied high
A lack of trust from the Australian population towards India is probably the last thing the Morrison government wants right now, as it seeks to shore up its relationship with its Indian Ocean neighbour. But a lack of trust it is: according to the 2020 Lowy Institute Poll, just 45% of Australians
Although the idea is hard to bear, we now all know that Australia’s 2019–20 bushfire catastrophe and the Covid-19 crisis will not be one-off historical events. Public health experts have long warned zoonotic disease pandemics will be on the rise due to global warming and ecological, behavioural
The conflict between India and China on their disputed Himalayan border may be an important turning point in their relationship. Australia should take the opportunity to show firm support for India over the issue.
Last week’s fighting between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh was the bloodiest
Sam Roggeveen is absolutely right. Australia’s China debate has been dramatically transformed over the past few years. Like him, I welcome a robust discussion about our relationship with Asia’s emerging power and our major trading partner. It’s a pity China’s citizens can’t have one about
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement today that Australia was being targeted by a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor” was curiously measured. On the one hand, the “targeting” necessitated a Prime Ministerial statement, guaranteeing widespread media coverage. On the other hand,
Australia’s national debate about China has been dramatically transformed over the last few years. China’s rise is arguably the most important thing to happen to Australia’s place in the world since federation, so the fact that we are debating its implications so openly and
It would be welcome for Marise Payne to give more interviews and public speeches like the one she delivered Tuesday evening about “Australia and the world in the time of Covid-19”. Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull made this very point about his “good friend of many years” in his
At the Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney last Friday night, a NSW police officer was caught on camera flashing the “OK” hand gesture as he passed by a group. This act has ignited a debate about whether or not the officer was signalling support for white supremacist ideology, as this hand
It is hardly surprising that many foreign policy developments that would normally feature in the news have lately been demoted well below the headlines, as domestic turmoil in the United States has dominated conversations across the country and the globe. Under more ordinary circumstances, two
Covid-19 has been an extremely difficult challenge for national policymakers. If policy and politics are about managing competing interests and prioritising different constituencies, the varied national Covid-19 responses point to the acute challenges of getting this balance right.
How do we
It is June 2021. An American destroyer sailing near a reef held by Beijing in the South China Sea has had a collision with a Chinese frigate that was attempting to drive it off. Both vessels have suffered multiple fatalities and, damaged, are at anchor near the reef.
While who was at fault is
Australian businesses in Southeast Asia are showing continued faith in regional economic integration despite the relatively lacklustre cross border political cooperation so far seen in response to the pandemic.
A new survey of Australian-connected businesses on