Last Sunday's launch of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper was (we think) the biggest event the Lowy Institute has hosted in its almost ten-year history. 31 Bligh St was positively bursting at the seams as we hosted the Prime Minister, her senior cabinet ministers (Wayne Swan, Bob Carr, Craig Emerson, Peter Garrett), former PM Bob Hawke, members of the diplomatic community, our Chairman Frank Lowy AC, board and corporate members, and a 70-strong media pack.
With TV anchors reporting live from Bligh St ahead of the event, the room was buzzing with camera crews and snappers jostling for position hours before the PM arrived. ABC 24 and Sky covered the event, with our own Milton Osborne in the ABC's Ultimo studio providing analysis as the White Paper was launched. Post launch, the PM recorded interviews from our Boardroom with SBS's Lee Lin Chin and ABC's Mark Simkin, while Lowy scholars Rory Medcalf and Linda Jakobson were busy giving both national and international press their initial views.
We live tweeted from the event with the hashtag #AsianCentury. This was quickly picked up by the twitter community, even trending for a short while. Hashtracking.com tells us that #AsianCentury generated 1030 tweets, reaching an audience of 770,631 in the first 24 hours following the launch. There are reports of many references to the White Paper on China's leading social media service Weibo.
After the launch, Michael Fullilove caught up with the PM for a quick video discussion on how the Asian Century will affect Australia's foreign-policy choices. The PM reflects on how her recent trips to Asia (2.00 min) has informed her thinking, the White Paper recommendation to expand Australia's diplomatic network (3.40 min) and how Australia's membership in the G20 and UN Security Council supports our efforts in Asia (4.52 min).
In a year of mounting tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Professor Hugh White's book, The China Choice, is a timely and important contribution to international policy debate.