Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the
Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) presented its report on the Australia India nuclear cooperation Agreement on 8 September after ten of months deliberation. JSCOT's advice must be 'taken into account' though not necessarily acted upon.
The Kudankulam nuclear power plant in
The relationship between Australia and Indonesia's Foreign Ministers has progressed to 'text buddies', according to Julie Bishop's assessment of the thawing relations between the two countries. Bishop held 'warm and constructive' talks with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, over breakfast
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow.
Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact
Over the weekend an Egypt court found Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty on charges of operating in Egypt without a press licence and of ‘spreading false news’. Greste and Fahmy were given sentences of three years in prison; Mohamed was given three years
On 20 August 2015, the Lowy Institute hosted an address from Peter Varghese AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Varghese presented his perspective on key themes in Australia’s Foreign Policy
In a new Lowy Institute Paper, former ONA analyst Ken Ward makes the case for 'more realistic' expectations for the Australia-Indonesia relationship.
He writes that despite years of Australian governments prioritising the relationship, it continues to be marked by tensions and crises. The recent
Ken Ward is to be congratulated for a straight forward and sober analysis of the Australia-Indonesia relationship. In his own matter of fact style, Ken takes us through a complex relationship and provides unique understanding and insight.
His core point is that the Australia-Indonesia
Maybe it's just the title – Condemned to Crisis? – that gives Ken Ward's book such a downbeat despairing tone, as if the accident of geography has locked us in an unhappy marriage with Indonesia and there is not much we can do about it.
Of course we should be realistic: we won't ever have the
The great strength of Ken Ward's Condemned to Crisis? is that it confronts head-on some of the false constructs surrounding Australia-Indonesia relations. Although many of the arguments have been made by other Indonesia experts over the years, Ward's call for a more realistic approach to the
It is hard to avoid a sense of déjà vu when one looks at Indonesia-Australia relations today. Our fundamental strategic interests mostly converge – from regional and maritime stability to managing China's growing power – even if our policy preferences diverge in various issue areas. And
Papua New Guinea has reacted to Australia's recent decision to establish a diplomatic post in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville by banning Australian travel to the province. This spat is proving to be an irritant not only for the friendly relationship between Canberra and Port Moresby, but also
The commander of Indonesia's armed forces, General Moeldoko, has strong views about criticism of the abusive 'virginity tests' imposed on female recruits and the fiancées of military officers. 'So what's the problem? It's a good thing, so why criticize it?' he told reporters in Jakarta on 16 May
By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Phillipa Brant, Research Associate.
The Pacific Islands region has been spared any serious impact from cuts to the Australian aid program revealed in budget documents released yesterday.
Australia's bilateral program
The recent contributions on the 1951 Refugee Convention from Khalid Koser and Jane McAdam are heartening. It is good to read rational and reasoned discussion by two experts on the international refugee regime and the challenges it faces.
If timing is anything to go by, Khalid Koser has hit the
At a time when international cooperation on refugees is most sorely needed, countries are instead resorting to increasing unilateralism. Australia is at the forefront. Retreating inwards by trying to seal off borders to people in search of protection is both unrealistic and unsustainable.
In this Analysis, Khalid Koser argues that the implementation of the 1951 Refugee Convention is failing the interests of both states and refugees. Koser argues that Australia is well-placed to lead an international effort for reform.
Photo: Getty Images/Scott Fisher
The differences between the recent crises of boat arrivals in Europe and Australia are far greater than their similarities. There is not a civil war brewing 200km from Australian territory, and neither is the worst refugee crisis in the last half century being unleashed within striking distance.
Australia's approach to digital diplomacy is second-rate and entirely inadequate for a nation that sees itself as 'a top 20 country'. Despite an expanded social media presence, Australia continues to lag far behind other countries – large and small – that are investing serious resources into
After a decade of swimming against the tide, the Australian Government is slowly engaging in the world of digital diplomacy.
The term 'DFAT the Dinosaur' no longer applies, a label slapped onto our foreign affairs department in 2010 after a series of public refusals to incorporate the internet
In this Analysis, Howard Bamsey and Kath Rowley argue that any failure to pay proper, high-level attention to the current international climate change negotiations raises several risks to the national interest. Strong, constructive engagement in those negotiations by Australia would serve climate
For many Australians, Laos is a scenic, off-the-beaten path, holiday destination for adventurous travellers.
Relatively few know that it's also a repressive one-party state with a long record of restricting basic rights, and imprisoning or forcibly disappearing critics or citizens who dare to
On 3 March, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, 'We must use the celebration of International Women's Day to highlight the plight of women still fighting for freedom and equality, for when that is achieved it will be for the betterment of us all.'
That fight is ongoing in the Asia-
As we learned from a recent Lowy Institute poll, 62% of Australians oppose the use of the death penalty in the case of Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia. But what do Indonesians think about the case?
While I have yet to find a similar survey of Indonesian public
ISIS and submarines are the two big fashionable defence and national security concerns at the moment. When combined, they make it evident that there is need for a considerable rethink about how Australia approaches defence and security.
Today we seem stuck around notions of fighting an sea-air
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is close to the make-or-break stage. It will either get US Congressional blessing soon or lose momentum and slip from the agenda. So it is surprising how little public debate there is in Australia about its important ramifications. For an excellent exception, see
To everyone's surprise, it was announced on Monday that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop intends to travel to Tehran in April 2015. The visit isn't about the nuclear negotiations with Iran. After all, while Australia would rather not see Iran go nuclear, it isn't exactly a foreign policy
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of a Royal Commission to consider Australia's, and specifically South Australia's, possible future role in nuclear energy.
He has invited comments on the terms of reference of the Commission, which are to be finalised in March
When Chancellor Angela Merkel's gave the annual Lowy Lecture in November the day after the end of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, The Guardian (UK) called it a 'major shift in European geo-politics.'
Now we know why.
In a recent Financial Times series on the West's relations with Russia, the Times
The Australian parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will soon review the proposed treaty between Australia and India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, signed by Prime Ministers Abbott and Modi in New Delhi on 5 September 2014.
A 1984 cartoon on Australia's
On 24 December 2014, two decades of campaigning and several years of negotiations culminated in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entering into force as an internationally legally binding instrument, having been ratified by 50 countries.
The ATT aims to provide a minimum international benchmark for
A scientist and WMD expert with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), Dr Robert (Bob) Mathews, has been honoured by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for his contributions to chemical weapons disarmament in a ceremony on 1 December in The Hague.
As haggard negotiators left the UN climate change conference in Lima in the early hours of Sunday morning, many observers noted the contrast between the political acrimony that characterised the final days of these tortured discussions and the sense of optimism that many felt going into the talks
In response to the invitation of the Foreign Minister to make a formal submission on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Consular Strategy 2014-16, Alex Oliver outlined the strains on the Department from the increasing consular workload, and proposed measures to address some of the
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course which I run at ANU's National Security College, students were asked to write a post on a contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by Sophie Wolfer was judged the best of those submitted.
The end of a 40-year
Tom Allard recently reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that Australia and East Timor are ready to restart talks on the maritime boundary between the two countries, with all its complications of petroleum revenues and history. The tradition is to keep these talks under wraps, but Allard's article
Thirty years ago to the week, New Caledonia was torn apart by violent protests. The pro-independence FLNKS boycotted an election and town halls were burned throughout the country. It provoked a four-year long civil war euphemistically known as 'the events'.
At first, Australia supported the Kanak
Narendra Modi has just concluded his first visit to Australia, the first by any Indian prime minister in 28 years. Combined with Prime Minister Abbott's visit to India in September and multilateral interactions at the East Asia Summit and G20, this marks an unprecedented level of engagement between
A few months ago I stood on a beach in Tarawa, the most populous of islands comprising the Micronesian nation of Kiribati. It's long and thin sliver of land where you can walk from one side of the island to the other in minutes. It has a population density up to twice that of Sydney or New York, but
By Justin Brown, acting Deputy Secretary of DFAT with responsibility for consular, passports, corporate administration and information management. He has been Australia's High Commissioner to Canada, Ambassador for the Environment and Deputy of Australia's Mission to the European Union in Brussels
The debate about whether Australia should join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has gone beyond the realm of economic development and investment to hit at the core of Australia's apparent security dilemma.
The initial concern revolved around the governance arrangements and whether
It is certainly fitting to examine Gough Whitlam's foreign policy record and considerable achievements. However, in seeking to whitewash the controversy over Whitlam's role leading up to Indonesia's brutal invasion of East Timor in December 1975, Gary Hogan's piece does us all a great disservice.
As commentators rightly eulogise Gough Whitlam's foreign policy achievements, most of the attention has focused on his grand outreach to communist China and the independence of Papua New Guinea. These two acts were conspicuous hallmarks of Whitlam's game-changing diplomatic moments.
A 1979 Peter
A few times over the past year, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has referred to Australia as a 'top 20 nation' or a 'top 20 country'. She prefers this to the standard description of Australia as a middle power, a term she has mostly avoided. As she responded to the Sydney Morning Herald's
In July 2014, Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Chris Baggoley, assured us that the risk of the deadly Ebola virus spreading to Australia from West Africa was very low. At that stage, cases of this most recent outbreak of the disease had been confined to West African countries and in particular