Short posts from Lowy Institute experts on what they regard as the most important international policy issue of this campaign. See the Election Interpreter 2013 archive for the whole series.

Australia needs to get ready for the risks as well as the opportunities of an Asian Century: that should be the crucial international issue this election.

This means bringing our economy, our society, our defences and our diplomacy up to speed with the changes and dangers across Indo-Pacific Asia. These range from China's economic troubles to potential armed confrontation between China and other countries. If we are not prepared to invest scarce resources in making Australia more influential and less vulnerable, we might as well stop pretending to be a nation with serious plans for its future.