Wednesday 25 Apr 2018 | 01:53 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
  • 24 Apr 2018 16:00

    Public holiday: Anzac Day

    Publishing will be light on Wednesday.

  • 24 Apr 2018 14:00

    Attack of the Twitter bots

    A surge in social media followers across Asia has raised questions about self-censorship.

  • 24 Apr 2018 10:30

    Britain’s new Pacific presence

    The UK announced three new diplomatic posts in the Pacific, bringing a new voice to regional strategic discussions.

Australian Perspective

Shifting power balances are creating uncertainty about the existing regional order and Australia’s place in it. As one of the most globalised countries on the planet, Australia is highly dependent on an effective and active international policy. It is a Western nation surrounded by populous and booming economies in Asia and the Pacific, but has enormously important bonds with nations like the USA and the UK from which it is geographically isolated. The Lowy Institute interprets Australia’s place in the global and regional order, examining the complex ways in which Australia engages with its neighbours, partners and the evolving international system. The work of the Lowy Institute traverses Australia’s foreign policy, defence, intelligence and security, its diplomacy and overseas network, the ANZUS alliance, Australia’s trade, overseas development assistance, and its relationships in Asia and the Pacific.

The secret life of Wyatt Roy

The former Member for Longman's surprise visit to Iraq is drawing plenty of criticism. The ALP's Penny Wong was perhaps the most savage, advising him that Iraq was not a 'place for people to act out their boyhood fantasies', while the foreign minister was also willing to criticise her former

Witnessing an opaque Pacific power shift

Today the Lowy Institute’s Melanesia program launches a major update to the Institute’s flagship research mapping project on Chinese Aid in the Pacific.*  The map now contains a decade of Chinese government aid activities in the Pacific Islands region, making it a valuable resource for

Australian leadership needed to scale the refugee summit

On 19 September, a UN high-level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants is expected to endorse an outcome document that commits states to negotiating a 'Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework' and separately a 'Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration', for

Syria: The gift that keeps on giving

The official announcement today that the government would refuse a US request for additional assets to be deployed in the Middle East against Islamic State came as little surprise. These types of requests rarely come out of the blue, and it is likely that Washington was aware of what Canberra’s

Turnbull in Jakarta: Relationship reheat

Malcolm Turnbull's visit to Jakarta this week did not signal any drastic changes for the direction of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, but it did leave relations considerably warmer than before. So warm, in fact, that both the prime minister and his Indonesian counterpart were forced to remove

Why no tears will be shed for Australia's knights and dames

So Tony Abbott's revival of knights and dames has proved a short lived thing, with newly installed PM Malcolm Turnbull moving quickly to axe the contentious honours. It's a move likely to be greeted with relief at home and bemusement abroad, given it is less than two years since knights and dames

Digital diplomacy is not the same as digital outreach

Recently Jonathan McClory from UK consultancy Portland Communications, along with Facebook's government outreach manager Katie Harbath, skilfully entered the five-year long debate on the Australian Government's digital diplomacy capabilities. It's a welcome move – the more individuals and

DFAT: Not perfect, but in our national interest

A few days ago a suggestion was made on Crikey that DFAT, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, should be scrapped. I was tempted to ignore it, because as far as I can tell, the author, Jason Murphy, based his call largely on the fact that he just doesn't like free trade agreements

Diagnosing Asia's Australian problem

For decades, there has been a familiar refrain: Australia has an Asia problem. We don’t engage enough with Asia, or understand its languages or diverse cultures. From Ross Garnaut in the 1980s to the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, the narrative has been that if only Australia could

TPP: Not worth the risk

After marathon talks, the Trans Pacific Partnership has been sealed. The stage is now set for some fantastic battles to get this through national legislatures. I'll leave it to others to count the numbers. I've written previously about my concerns regarding the TPP, and agreements like it. I won't

UN Security Council bid: How Australia should sell itself

It's leaders' week at the UN. The 70th Session of the General Assembly is open for business under the Presidency of Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark. General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon is presiding over his penultimate session; next year he will be replaced by an 'Eastern European woman,' if Russia's

Australia makes another tilt at the UN Security Council

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just announced that Australia will bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30. That's 15 years from the end of our last Security Council seat (2013-14). But it compares against the 27 years between our fourth and fifth outings at the Security Council.

Turnbull's new cabinet is great news for the Pacific

On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government. Steven Ciobo

Is Russia's growing intervention in Syria a game changer?

The latest analysis of the Syrian conflict from the Institute for the Study of War provides a detailed examination of what it describes (correctly) as a game changer. Assuming its analysis of the military calculus is sound, the questions that remain unanswered relate to the extent to which the

Australia-South Korea 2+2 delivers ambitious agenda

One week ago – a long time in politics – the South Korean and Australian foreign and defence ministers held a '2-2' meeting in Sydney. This high-level biennial conclave for the first time included a detailed Blueprint for progressing the bilateral defence and security partnership. That the

Reader riposte: Australia-India nuclear deal

By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of

Waiting for the Fed to move

Global financial markets are on tenterhooks waiting for the US Federal Reserve to decide when to start raising the Fed funds rate – the short-term interest rate which sets the datum for many other interest rates. The media have reported this in portentous tones, exploring every possible downside

Australia's foreign policy and refugee resettlement

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

Syria: It's what isn't being said that's of interest

The Government's announcement yesterday that it would conduct air strikes inside Syria is notable more for what it didn't say than what it did. It was long on rhetoric, but short on detail, and lacked any semblance of strategic vision or acknowledgment of the potential impact on the situation inside

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