The China “debate” in Australia has entered a new phase. Some are calling, with varying degrees of explicitness, for Australia to adopt a long-term, confrontational posture towards the PRC. This is usually cast as the only morally right response given that the PRC is a repressive and
India is the most capable resident power in the Indian Ocean, but its expanding military footprint is uneven and reliant on partnerships with likeminded states.
India’s military posture and activities have been largely weighted to the western Indian Ocean. A recently published Asia Maritime
The Australian Senate has appointed a select committee to inquire into the risks posed to Australian democracy by foreign interference via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
We need this. That much is clear from a growing pile of international inquires and reports, including by
India has long had a reputation in Australia as being a challenging negotiator that may not share the same enthusiasm for concluding free trade agreements. India may argue that Australia has generally failed to understand the drivers of obvious offensive and defensive interests in the relationship,
In what we now see in retrospect as something of a political “golden age” – say from the early 20th century through to the 1980s or so – political parties were the institution through which the political aspirations of different sections of the community were articulated and conveyed to the
On 22 November, the United Kingdom failed to comply with UN Resolution 73/295 passed in May, which demanded the UK “withdraw its colonial administration from the Chagos Archipelago unconditionally within a period of no more than six months”. Australia was one of only six states to vote against
The recent publication of Peter Hartcher’s Quarterly Essay Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge coincided with fast-breaking stories about Chinese espionage and influence operations in Australia, the leaking of the Xinjiang Papers from inside China, and the overwhelming victory by Hong Kong
Sam Roggeveen has written a lively essay on the current state of Australian federal politics, centred on the hypothetical scenario that one of the two major parties takes an anti-immigration policy to an election, overturning Australia’s post-war bipartisan commitment to immigration to gain
The recent allegations of Chinese espionage and election interference – and the subsequent doubts cast upon them – have reignited the China debate in the Australian public consciousness. The debate has become increasingly polarised, with a shortage of goodwill. Some have had their integrity and
Regional museums and arts centres in Australia and Papua New Guinea are, in general, underfunded or insecurely funded. Yet these places offer significant opportunities for cultural, social, and economic development in remote and regional areas. The cultural heritage and arts sectors hold unrealised
In recent years, the deepening of Australia’s engagement with China (our most important trade partner) has exacerbated concerns over the motivations and consequences of its government’s influence in Australian political and economic life – and understandably so.
Nowhere is the increasing
Over the last two years, US President Donald Trump has made two trips to Southeast Asia and none to Australia. Despite this, according to White House media notifications, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, each engaged more with Trump than the ten leaders of
Although Behrouz Boochani has never set foot on the Australian mainland, his is a familiar name in the country, a link to the men on Manus Island subject to Australia’s offshore processing arrangements in the Pacific. His escape to be “free in New Zealand” this month, after six years
In recent years, the world has witnessed a number of “black swan” events – surprises with massive implications for the particular countries involved and also the international system. The global financial crisis, Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency are the most
Since coming into office in 2013, the Coalition has cut aid by 17% in nominal terms and 27% adjusting for inflation. More cuts are in the pipeline, and by 2021 aid will have been subject to a real cut of 31%.
Given that the Coalition’s justification for cutting aid was the budget deficit, you
As every university student learns in their first-year international relations course, there is no global cop, no enforcer to make sure every country plays by the rules. It’s anarchy, every country for itself. The big ones build military forces to protect their territory and interests. The small
The refusal of the Vanuatu government to allow high-profile Vanuatu-based journalist to fly home on Saturday has given a sharper edge to concerns about a wider trend of attacks on media freedom in the Pacific and highlights both China’s influence and Australia’s policy failure in broadcast and
Book Review: Ross Garnaut, Superpower: Australia’s Low-Carbon Opportunity, La Trobe University Press, 2019)
If anyone in Australia deserves the somewhat overused epithets of “public intellectual” or even “policy entrepreneur”, it’s Ross Garnaut. Over a long and distinguished career, he
Last week, as the world’s attention fixed on the United States Capitol and the presidential impeachment inquiry, across the road in the US Supreme Court, another hugely consequential hearing was taking place. On 12 November, the court heard oral arguments for three cases related to the lawfulness
I grew up in Kerala, southern India, where the monsoons are born. Reared on an island in the middle of Ashtamudi Lake, I was surrounded by water. A family of fishermen and women, we worshiped the sea. Australia and her sunburnt plains were the furthest point on the planet for someone like me.&
When then–Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked by Angela Merkel about Australia’s relations with China, he summed it up, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, in two words: “Fear and greed”. For a visual embodiment of such sentiment, take the graph charting which countries have been buying the bulk of
This is an edited and abridged transcript of the launch of Sam Roggeveen’s new Lowy Institute Paper Our Very Own Brexit, held last week at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne with prominent social commentator and award-winning journalist George Megalogenis. George MegalogenisNormally,
The US, Australia, and Japan have joined together to establish a trilateral “Blue Dot Network” to help develop infrastructure “in the Indo-Pacific and around the world”. The plan was announced on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN summit in Thailand last week.
This sounds impressive. The Indo
Review: Tim Watts, The Golden Country: Australia’s Changing Identity (Text Publishing 2019)
Summer reading bins have been well stocked with memoirs by retired Australian parliamentarians casting experienced eyes over political lives lived hard and full. It’s not often we find engaging books
Donald Trump is about to be the third US President in history to be impeached. Australians won’t be surprised – he’s never been popular here. But Australia’s alliance with the United States is another story. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, be it George W. Bush or Barack Obama
On 3 October, Vladimir Putin confirmed that China and Russia have forged a multidimensional alliance in economics, politics, and defense. This announcement both confounds the many observers who refused to accept it as a possibility and significantly transforms the stakes not just in Asia, but in
“Category 5 strength cyclones have occurred in some years with similar conditions leading into the 2019/20 season,” New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research recently reported. “Therefore, all communities should remain alert and well-prepared for severe events.”
Earlier this year, French authorities intercepted a boat from Sri Lanka heading to Réunion Island, a journey of more than 4000 kilometres in the direction of Madagascar. Reports indicate this was not a one-off, and several of these trips were being planned.
The audacity of the journey is notable
Last week, Russia’s Ambassador to Australia, Alexei Pavlovsky, delivered a keynote address at the Australian National University on Russia’s strategic architect and former foreign minister, the late Yevgeny Primakov. Reflecting on the speech, it is evident that policy makers, pundits, and the
In the last two years China’s engagement in the Pacific – particularly through its aid program – has sparked alarm in Canberra. The spiking orange line in 2017 is part of the story.
In 2017 China committed to spend almost US$5 billion in the Pacific. US$4.1 billion of that was to upgrade
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
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
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
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
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
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