Drought is an unavoidable hazard of farming in Australia. As the economic pressure mounts from the current drought in northern New South Wales and Queensland, there is increasing stress on farmers in the region, including in the dairy industry.
The federal government has stepped in with
The Australian aid program has always laboured under multiple and competing objectives, both implicit and explicit. This was identified in the 1997 Simons Report on foreign aid, commissioned by the Howard Government, into what was then a separate agency, AusAID:
The managers of the aid
It’s not all that often the National party – the junior member of the Coalition government – has an obvious influence over Australia’s relations with its neighbours. But a push for a new agricultural visa by the Nationals and supported by the lobby-group National Farmers Federation is
The latest eruption of political infighting in Canberra was unusual for the ineptitude of its instigators, who failed to get their own candidate into the job, and the persistence of the after-shocks. These included the resignation from parliament of the defeated prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and
The condemnation of China last week by Nauru’s President Baron Waqa at the Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting may have been bolstered by Taiwan’s substantial investment in that tiny Pacific nation of 13,000 people. Nauru is one of six Pacific countries to have diplomatic relations with
After changes of leadership and of government in Canberra, those of us who work on Pacific island issues are usually inclined to be optimistic. We hope that the incoming Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister might care more about the Pacific, might be inclined to spend more time in the
Australia can probably thank China’s amorphous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for helping push over the line the bilateral trade agreement that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will claim as his first diplomatic triumph on Friday.
The key breakthrough in the agreement is set to
In August 2013, when military judge Colonel Denise Lind sentenced Private First Class Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning to 35 years in jail, she never described Manning as a whistleblower. In fact, she said Manning’s conduct:
was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to
Few can quibble with the accolades that Julie Bishop has received in recent days for the manner in which she performed the role of Australian foreign minister. The first woman to hold the position, she graced the world stage with a mixture of professionalism and poise, dignity and discipline. No one
It was just a week ago, before Scott Morrison came from nowhere to snatch the prime ministership, that Peter Dutton looked odds-on to be Australia’s next leader. Australia’s politics seemed to be shifting decisively to the right.
Major parties are getting weaker around the West, and Australia
Julie Bishop resigned as Foreign Minister on Sunday, just short of her 20th anniversary as member for Curtin in Western Australia, and her fifth as Foreign Minister. In the coming days, there will no doubt be numerous reflections and dissections of her time as Foreign Minister. Deposed Prime
Healing bitter internal party divisions after a week of political bomb-throwing will be an onerous enough task for Scott Morrison, newly anointed Prime Minister of Australia. That’s before running the country, let alone positioning Australia in the world, or dealing with Donald Trump.
The Australian government has officially blocked Chinese telecommunications firms, most notably Huawei, from providing equipment to Australia’s new 5G mobile phone networks, citing concerns over national security.
While the issue in question regards some of the world’s most sophisticated
Peter Dutton was standing beside Malcolm Turnbull at joint press conference in May when a journalist asked whether Australia would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as its US ally had formally done so the day before.
“No, our embassy will remain where it is,” Turnbull responded, as
Remember when Australia used to refer to its near neighbours in the region as the “arc of instability”? The leadership shenanigans on Tuesday will have given the BBC’s former Australia correspondent Nick Bryant an opportunity to update his description of Canberra as the “coup capital of the
It is tempting to look at the last 11 years of political leadership instability in Canberra and ascribe it exclusively to either the incompetence or malevolence of individuals.
The overarching story is that the major centre–right and centre–left parties in Western democracies each represent an
A week or so back, my phone flashed with a news alert. “Is Australia becoming a more racist country?” was the headline from CNN. This was days before a newly appointed senator stood up in the national parliament in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon and called for a “predominantly
The Department of Communications is now reviewing submissions on the issue of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia-Pacific region. This is timely. As always, communicating Australia’s views and voices to the Asia-Pacific region is important. And, more than ever before, finding effective
US President Donald Trump comes in for widespread criticism, but he has at least one well-placed Australian defender. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer says that for Australia, Trump has been better than Obama. On the whole, Trump has been “good for us”. This is seriously misguided.
There are approximately 340,000 people in Timor-Leste using Facebook. More than a quarter of them follow the Australian Embassy in Dili’s Facebook page. This number is growing. The figures from Papua New Guinea and Cambodia are similarly encouraging. Why?
Before answering, consider another
Australia’s international voice, once strong, influential and broadcast across much of the Asia-Pacific, has become little more than a croak into the ether.
Substantial cuts to funding, waning government commitment, changing national priorities, and digital disruption have resulted in Australia
Former senior Australian diplomat Geoff Raby’s substantial article written for the Asia Society and reproduced in the Australian Financial Review this week continues his “realist” approach to discussion of Australia’s foreign policy choices. It’s another piece
“Being in the Pacific, of the Pacific” was an aspiration announced by New Zealand’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau at a recent conference in Wellington. New Zealand’s Pacific identity has been a continuing theme of the Pacific reset policy&
It has been nearly two decades since the Council of Australian Governments agreed to a national framework to combat terrorism. Now, in the long shadow of the September 11 attacks, some of Australia’s convicted terrorists are nearing the completion of their custodial sentences. From 2019 onwards,
One of Jacinda Ardern’s early prime ministerial tasks was to head off some potentially bad optics in New Zealand’s most important bilateral relationship. After all, she was leading just the sort of government that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had said would be difficult to work with
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in Timor-Leste at the weekend, on her first official visit and the first by any Australian minister to the country in five years. Bishop arrived with the promise of a beatific “new chapter” in the two nations’ previously fraught
In this rather strange ABC News article that appeared on Friday, it is reported that “senior figures in the Turnbull government” claim that Washington could bomb targets in Iran as early as next month, and that Australia would assist in target identification.
Last month, a secret deal was revealed between Taiwan and Australia to send asylum seekers from Nauru to Taiwan for medical treatment. In Australia, the news has added to the controversy surrounding offshore detention centres, a crucial debate given reporting of yet another
Few people are as qualified as Peter Varghese to draw up a timely, sound, and realistic blueprint to build a dynamic yet sustainable economic partnership between India and Australia.
Unlike the case with China, an expanded trade and investment relationship with India will enhance Australia’s
Passage to India
Two statistics in the new report to the Australian Government on the future economic relationship with India underline how this is going to be a battle of perceptions even before anyone gets to the policy ideas.
The first is a crony capitalism index, which estimates
Peter Varghese’s independent report on Australia’s economic strategy for India, released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week, sounds a confident note for the future of the relationship. Although the focus of the report is trade, geopolitical alignments are one of three
It didn’t even make the news in Australia, but two weeks ago India announced it will now allow Indonesian tourists to visit without having to apply or pay for a visa.
This development allows Indonesian nationals to choose India, in addition to all the ASEAN nations, as a holiday destination
China has loomed large in the Australian economy for two decades. Be it the demand for iron ore or coal, or the education, property, and tourism markets, the Australian economy has boomed with China’s wind in its sails.
As China is now the world’s second largest economy, its global
The Australian Embassy in Washington has been promoting “100 Years of Mateship” between Australia and the US in the lead-up to the centenary of the Battle of Hamel in the First World War, which has been commemorated this week.
The Embassy has come up with a list of 15 eminent
He fainted on me. Big bloke, my local guide on Nauru, who in the sunbaked heat took me Topside on the island to steal a look at the refugee camp among the scraggy rocks known as the pinnacles. And down he went.
Nauru was happy for reporters to visit the country then. In 2013, I was one of the last
The Australian Government is in the process of developing its second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The whole-of-government policy is designed to guide the national implementation of the suite of eight UN Security Council resolutions that identify women’s security as a
Recent months have seen controversy swirling around Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, the national security risk it may or may not pose to Australia, and its involvement with the nation’s legislators.
Amid these concerns, it is important to consider the company in its
The Australian Government will soon unveil contentious national security legislation granting law enforcement exceptional access under warrant to the encrypted data of suspected criminals. Getting the regulatory approach wrong could leave Australians exposed to a greater security risk, or left
Almost two years have passed since the US was represented in Australia by a permanent ambassador. It is now conceivable that Australia will receive a Presidential visit before it gets an ambassador.
This is an unprecedented interregnum.
It is tempting to observe that this is a pretty
Efforts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence Australian politics have made headlines since 2017. In recent months, similar attempts have been at the centre of German debates.
While geographically distant, Australia and Germany are well suited to address this challenge jointly,
One of the worst human rights abuses in recent times is occurring in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. The Chinese Communist Party has rounded up possibly one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities in purpose-built concentration camps where they are subjected to
On 9 May, the United Nations Conciliation Commission (UNCC) concerning the Timor Sea dispute between Timor-Leste and Australia released its final report. This was the first time such a form of compulsory dispute resolution had been invoked, with the proceedings initiated in April the year
What’s at stake in the “China influence” debate? According to one view, China’s rise, if unchecked, will leave Australia a mere vassal state, while the United Front Work Department rends the fabric of our democracy from within.
Viewed another way, Australia’s future
According to the caricature in the popular media, Chinese international students in Australia are devoted agents of the Chinese Government. They are “brainwashed from birth” and, in this compromised state, pose a threat to Australian universities and the values they espouse.
In this context,
Australia’s not-so-old tendency to avoid tension that could jeopardise our economic and trade relationship with China had the unfortunate effect of making China dismissive of Australia’s regional interests.
For too long, too few of us thought hard, if at all, about what a region deterred by
The government has announced budget support for Australia’s first paved runway in its Antarctic territory, as part of a modernisation program for its Antarctic bases.
Of all the Antarctic-related investment opportunities available to them, the government has chosen to pursue a business case for
With government investment in higher education continuing to decrease, Australian universities are becoming more and more financially reliant on international student fees. As has been the case for a number of years, students from the People’s Republic of China are the largest group by a wide
The current Royal Commission into Australian finance is uncovering headline-grabbing malpractices which have scandalised the community. These deficiencies will prove costly to the sector’s wealth and reputation. Because Australian finance largely avoided the dramas and tribulations experienced in
An ill-fated business deal, a major corruption case, and protestations from Beijing about the visit of a dissident made the year 2009 something of an annus horribilis for Australia’s relations with the People’s Republic of China. It also marked the collapse of the Labor–Liberal
Late last year in Australia, there was sudden interest shown in ballistic missile defence (BMD). Although the driver was North Korea’s missile testing, the real issue is China.
China’s latest ballistic missiles, combined with its new island bases, are steadily undercutting Australia’s