Half of all Australians were born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas, and Australia is home to more than 250 ancestries and 350 languages. The new Labor government has invoked Australia’s multiculturalism as a part of our national identity in its recent engagement with the region. But what is the role of Australia’s multiculturalism in foreign policy? Are diversity and diasporas a source of soft power and engagement? Our panel examined how Australia’s multiculturalism can inform foreign policymaking chaired by Dr Jennifer Hsu, Research Fellow in the Lowy Institute’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program.
Panel guests include:
Dr Melissa Phillips is a Lecturer in Humanitarian and Development Studies in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. She has previously worked for the United Nations and international NGOs in South Sudan, North Africa, and the Middle East, and recently co-edited Understanding Diaspora Development: Lessons from Australia and the Pacific.
Jason Chai is the Director of Market Access and Government Affairs for Cochlear Asia-Pacific. He is a former Australian diplomat and has worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as at senior government levels, including as a Chief of Staff to a Victorian Minister of Trade and Investment.
Alfred Deakin Professor Fethi Mansouri holds a research chair in Migration and Intercultural Studies and the UNESCO Chair for comparative research on cultural diversity and social justice. He is the founding Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. He is the editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies and since 2010 has served as an expert adviser to the United Nations on cultural diversity and intercultural relations.
Recorded on 10 Aug 2022
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is becoming increasingly important to Indian, Japanese, Australian and American efforts to balance Chinese power and extend the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.
Its strategic importance to Australia was underscored this May when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the Quad leaders’ meeting in Tokyo his first foreign engagement as Prime Minister. At this special event, the Lowy Institute’s Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove discussed the Quad’s evolving role with leading thinkers from two other Quad countries:
- Dr Samir Saran, President of India’s Observer Research Foundation.
Dr Saran curates the Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual flagship platform on geopolitics and geo-economics, and is the founder of CyFy, India’s annual conference on cybersecurity and internet governance. Samir has authored four books, including The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative with Shashi Tharoor, and Pax Sinica: Implications for the Indian Dawn with Akhil Deo.
- Dr Kori Schake, Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
Dr Schake was the Deputy Director-General of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. She has had a distinguished career in government, working at the US State Department, the US Department of Defense, and the National Security Council at the White House. She has also taught at Stanford, West Point, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, National Defense University, and the University of Maryland.
Recorded on 17 June 2022
Moscow’s escalating confrontation with the West means that Russia is now more reliant on China, geopolitically and economically, than at any time in the two countries’ history. What are the implications arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the most serious conflict in Europe since the end of the Second World War? What impact will the war in Ukraine’s have on the evolution of the Sino-Russian partnership, which has assumed pivotal importance — not just for the outcome of the war, but for the future of global order?
On 26 May 2022, the Lowy Institute hosted this event with Dr Bobo Lo, Nonresident Fellow to mark the launch of his Lowy Institute Analysis Paper Turning point? Putin, Xi and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Dr Lo’s address was followed by a conversation with Hervé Lemahieu, Director of Research of the Lowy Institute and audience questions.
Dr Bobo Lo is a Nonresident Fellow with the Lowy Institute and is an independent analyst on global affairs. He is an Associate Research Fellow with the Russia/NIS Center at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and has written extensively on Russian foreign and security policy, with a particular focus on Sino-Russian relations. Dr Lo is a former diplomat and served as Deputy Head of Mission at Australia’s Embassy in Moscow. He is the author of Russia and the New World Disorder, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Pushkin House Prize and was described by The Economist as the ‘best attempt yet to explain Russia’s unhappy relationship with the rest of the world’. His most recent book is A Wary Embrace: What the China-Russia relationship means for the world. He holds an MA from Oxford and a PhD from Melbourne University.
US National Cyber Director Chris Inglis addressed the Lowy Institute on the role of cyber in US strategy and the outlook for international cyber cooperation to build resilience and counter threats. Afterwards, he spoke in conversation with Research Fellow Ben Scott, Director of the Australia's Security and the Rules Based Order Project.
Read more: Foreign espionage: An Australian perspective
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS Director-General Paul Symon addressed the Lowy Institute on the past, present and future of foreign espionage from an Australian perspective. After the speech, Mr Symon spoke in conversation with Dr Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute.
Paul Symon’s military career spanned 35 years and culminated in the rank of Major General. He served as the Deputy Chief of the Australian Army from late 2008 until 2011, and from 2011–14 was Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation. In mid-2015, Paul left the military and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was appointed Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service on 18 December 2017.
Read more: Foreign espionage: An Australian perspective
The Solomon Islands – China security pact has sent shockwaves across the Western world, with analysts from Australia to the United States arguing that the deal represents a fundamental shift in geopolitical dynamics in Australia’s immediate region. But what does the agreement mean for Solomon Islands and the Pacific? What impact will it have on Australia’s interests in Solomon Islands? And what does it signal for the future and stability of the Pacific region? Jonathan Pryke, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program, chaired this discussion between three experts on the issue.
Dorothy Wickham is a highly experienced media and communications specialist with an in depth understanding of Pacific islands politics, cultures and effective communication practices. Dorothy was a longstanding host of what was RAMSI’s national radio talkback program Talking Truth and Managing Editor of One News Television, founding editor of social media site Melanesia News Network, and coordinator of Cchange – Solomon Islands. Dorothy is a trusted voice in Solomon Islands and the Pacific.
James Batley is a Distinguished Policy Fellow in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University in Canberra. He joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1984. In the early part of his career he was posted to Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. From 1997-1999 he was Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands. From 1999-2002 he was the head of Australia’s diplomatic mission in East Timor, becoming Australia’s first Ambassador following that country’s independence in 2002. From 2004-2006 he served as the leader of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and from 2007-2009 he was Australian High Commissioner to Fiji (and Permanent Representative to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat). In Canberra Mr Batley worked in a range of senior positions including Deputy Director-General of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Graeme Smith is a fellow at the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs. He was awarded his PhD in 2008 for work that explored the motivations of China’s local officials as they attempted to implement an agricultural extension program in rural Anhui. His current research explores China’s investment, migration, military engagement, technology and aid in the Asia Pacific, with projects in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Timor Leste, Thailand and Vietnam. He has a particular focus on how Chinese infrastructure contractors adapt to and influence the business and political environment in Pacific Island states. He has an emerging research stream on the geopolitics of PRC private Internet companies as they look to invest in the region, including TenCent’s role in the Australian election, Baidu’s efforts to expand into Southeast Asia and Huawei and ZTE’s lobbying efforts in the Pacific. Graeme teaches The Politics of China in the Coral Bell School and hosts The Little Red Podcast with former NPR and BBC journalist Louisa Lim.
This event was broadcast on Thursday 5 May 2022.
The May 21 election has been branded by some commentators as a ‘khaki election’, one in which national security and foreign policy issues will be pivotal in deciding the result. The Coalition government has questioned the ability of the Labor Party to manage increasingly tense relations with China, and its commitment to higher defence spending. But do national security issues sway votes in Australia, and in what circumstances? And how do voters see the relative strengths of the two parties on national security? Richard McGregor, the Lowy Institute’s Senior Fellow for East Asia, chaired this discussion between three experts on the issue.
Brian Loughnane, Federal Director of the Liberal Party for 13 years from 2003, is one of Australia’s most experienced political campaigners. An adviser to federal and state government ministers, he ran four federal campaigns for the Liberal Party. He is also tied into global networks as Deputy Chairman of the International Democrat Union, an alliance of centre-right political parties.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers and authors on social trends. She has led research at Essential Media and Vox Populi and was a director at Ipsos Australia. She now heads her own research and consultancy firm working with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication. Rebecca was a broadcaster with the ABC and is on the Executive Board of the NSW branch of the Australian Labor Party.
Tony Mitchelmore, the founder of Visibility, a leading strategic communications firm, is a veteran of 12 state and federal elections. He has also advised state and federal political leaders of both major parties on research, messaging and communications.
The event was broadcast on Thursday 5 May 2022.
In April 2022, the Lowy Institute launched a new opinion poll on Indonesian attitudes to the world and foreign policy. The poll offers unique and fascinating insights into how the citizens of one of Asia’s most important rising nations perceive their neighbours, US-China competition, the major threats facing Indonesia, and Indonesia’s position in this increasingly contested world. It has been a decade since the Institute last surveyed Indonesian public opinion. To discuss the poll and its findings, the Institute hosted an online panel event which was chaired by Natasha Kassam, Director of the Institute’s Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Program, alongside Ben Bland, Director of the Institute’s Southeast Asia Program, Dr Evan Laksmana, a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore and Dr Lina A. Alexandra, Head of the Department of International Relations at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.
The United Nations’ declaration of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) raises a critical issue: Indigenous languages are in an endangered state. The UN’s declaration is hoped to spur preservation and promotion of them and curb the tide of extinction. Papua New Guinea holds more Indigenous languages than anywhere else in the world. Current estimates of its living languages are between 830 to over 850, but that number is in steady decline as Papua New Guinea’s communities become more mobile and interconnected. Yet, while extinction to local languages remains a severe problem in Papua New Guinea, in 2020, a new language was added to its list – and there’s potential for more. Jessica Collins, the Lowy Institute’s Research Fellow for the Aus-PNG Network and Pacific Islands Program, talks with four experts about language, diversity, and cultural identity in Papua New Guinea. The panel includes Dr Kilala Devette-Chee, Senior Research Fellow and Program Leader of the Education Research Program at the Papua New Guinea National Research Institute; Dr Sakarepe Kamene, Head of Linguistics and Modern Languages at the University of Papua New Guinea; Adjunct Professor Craig Volker, of The Cairns Institute, James Cook University; and Dr. Lidia Federica Mazzitelli, post-doctoral researcher at the Slavic Institute, University of Cologne and scientific consultant at the Australian National University.