Conversations: Foreign policy and the Hawke legacy
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Conversations: Foreign policy and the Hawke legacy

In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, journalist and biographer Troy Bramston speaks to Lowy Institute Director of Research Hervé Lemahieu about the foreign policy of Bob Hawke.

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In 1983, Australia elected a government quite unlike any it had seen before led by the charismatic former union leader Bob Hawke. In office, Hawke formed close personal relationships with some unlikely international partners – the US Republican President Ronald Reagan, the UK Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev, among others. Along the way, Hawke's government tackled international trade reform, oversaw an overhaul in relations with China and led the way in regional institution building. Does Hawke’s foreign policy legacy still have relevance for Australia today? Or is it a foreign policy tradition from a bygone era?


Troy Bramston is a senior writer and columnist with The Australian newspaper, for which he has written since 2011. He was previously a columnist with the Sunday Telegraph. Troy is the author or editor of ten books, including Robert Menzies: The Art of Politics (2019) and Paul Keating: The Big-Picture Leader (2016). Troy co-authored The Truth of the Palace Letters (2020) and The Dismissal (2015) with Paul Kelly. He was the co-winner of the Australian Book Industry Award for The Dismissal. His biography of Paul Keating was a finalist for the Walkley Award, shortlisted for the National Biography Award and longlisted for the Australian Book Industry Award. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.


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Areas of expertise: Strategy and geopolitics; global governance; Australian foreign policy; Southeast Asia; Data analysis