Australia is known as a great export nation, but one of its least successful and most tenacious exports has again surfaced this week. In a video that appears to have “gone viral”, an Australian tourist in Bali terrorises locals – fly-kicking a motorcyclist off his bike, assaulting a man in his
For all the back-and-forth Hugh White has generated with his latest book, How to Defend Australia, in a national preoccupation with the China question, little serious discussion has been devoted to how to defend Australia’s southern front and cope with China’s increasing Antarctic footprint.
Washington has asked for Australian support to participate in a coalition maritime Persian Gulf security force. The request was formally announced as part of Sunday’s AUSMIN talks.
It is the type of request that Australia would prefer not be made. Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the
A new call to split trade negotiation from diplomacy in Australia has once again underlined how the rise of China has unsettled traditional frameworks for making policy about economic and security interests.
The divide between neo-liberal economic policy approaches
The World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju clearly won gold in the race for sporting headlines these last few days. Just like the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last year, it seemed South Korea had once again become a perfect stage for a world class mix of sport and politics.
This time, however,
Over the past few months, sugar has featured prominently in India’s political and economic discussion. Countries such as Australia, Brazil and Guatemala are upset with the Indian government’s subsidies to its sugarcane farmers, alleging in a claim to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that the
One evening every June for more than 20 years, a “Pacific Night” reception has featured as a mainstay of the diplomatic circuit in Washington DC. It is organised largely through the New Zealand embassy, and also sponsored by the Australian embassy and other Pacific island countries. This year,
In the first parliamentary sitting week following Australia’s recent election, a bill to amend the Migration Act was introduced and tabled in the House of Representatives. This follows the introduction of similar legislation in late 2018, which expired at the end of the previous parliament. With
Analysis of the Lowy Institute Poll of Australians’ international perspectives reveals a remarkable resilience in the level of support for Australia’s alliance with the United States. This year, 72% of Australians considered the alliance either “very” or “fairly” important for Australia
Once confident predictions that the world’s population will reach 11 billion by the end of this century are beginning to be debunked. It is now appears more likely that the global population will hit a ceiling before reaching nine billion by mid-century, and then begin to decline.
“I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best”, wrote Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century. Maya Angelou improved on that in the last century: “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between”. Hugh White in his latest book How to Defend Australia
When I was a correspondent for the Financial Times in Jakarta, I often commiserated with my Australian media peers. While they worked hard to carve out time to shed light on the complexities, depth and wonder of Indonesia, they would inevitably be sucked into covering the latest high-pitched row
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a longstanding commitment to achieving gender equality. We have made great progress supporting women in leadership and it is a point of pride that many high performing women have served in key positions, including as ambassadors to three of
Book Review: How to Defend Australia, by Hugh White (La Trobe University Press, 2019)
Defence commentator Hugh White never shouts from the rooftops, and his new book How to Defend Australia is written in the same measured tone that has long driven his more strident critics crazy. Yet if White
It may be distasteful to some, but there is no escaping the need for political elites. The trick, particularly in a democracy, is for those elites to carry a sense of legitimacy.
Australians are disconnected from politics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they differ from politicians in their
Among many interesting findings in this year’s Lowy Institute Poll, one new question produced a particularly striking result given Australia’s debate over how to navigate the looming tech cold war between the US and China.
44% said “protecting Australians from foreign state intrusion”
When it comes to “stepping-up” in the Pacific, Australians get the what, they get the who, and they get the why. But they still have a long way to go before they’re convinced that spending more on foreign aid is in the national interest.
Attitudes towards the Pacific revealed in the
The Australia women’s national soccer team bowed out of the Women’s World Cup this past weekend following a dramatic loss to Norway on penalty kicks. It was the end of a rollercoaster campaign, with the highlight coming from a comeback victory against a Brazilian side led by Marta – whose goal
The latest Lowy Institute poll indicates that Australians are increasingly concerned about climate change and its implications. Three figures are particularly telling.
First, and perhaps most striking, Australians have identified climate change as the most critical threat to Australia’
It’s not exactly the best time to be releasing an opinion poll. In the wake of the 2019 election, there are fair questions about why we poll any more. But today we launch the Lowy Institute’s annual poll and it is still deeply revealing about Australian attitudes on foreign policy.
Ambiguity in foreign policy is no bad thing, and on Iran, the only certainty Donald Trump has displayed after a week of heightened tension was his weekend declaration that “the only one that matters is me”.
So the debate is on, hawks versus doves, over messages and intentions. Was
Bangladesh is in the process of transforming itself from the global poster-child of poverty into a middle-income country with one of the strongest economies in Asia. This creates opportunities for Australia that should be pursued as part of a more comprehensive engagement with the country.
China has dominated Australian media over the past week. Warships, baby milk formula, Hong Kong protests, the US China trade war, the list goes on. Politicians, academics, commentators and journalists are all weighing in.
Confusing at the least, damaging at the worst, the result is chaotic
The Royal Australian Navy is about to take two highly capable guided missile frigates out of service. But they are not just surplus equipment, but they are important strategic assets that Australia can use for continuing strategic benefits. We should think seriously about giving them to our
The recent federal police raids against the ABC and News Corp raised the issue of state control, not only of the free press, but of public institutions. The Australian Army was the object of stories at the centre of investigations into the ABC, but the army can also be the subject of discussions of
When US President Donald Trump and former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull held their infamous, protocol-smashing phone call in the president’s first week in office in January 2017, largely lost in the international headlines about the exchange was the actual topic of conversation. Now,
Later this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will travel to Osaka for the annual G20 Leaders’ summit, and he will no doubt want to make his mark following his election triumph. Advocating for the reform of the international energy architecture would be a good place to start, given the rapidly
Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells’ opinion piece published on Friday in The Australian criticising the government over the visit of Chinese naval ships to Sydney is rather extraordinary. A few observations:
Less than three weeks after the election, we are witnessing the first
When the Australian Defence Force first dispatched its flotilla known as the “Indo-Pacific Endeavour”, the then Defence minister Christopher Pyne touted the regional drills as Australia’s “premier international engagement activity” designed to “enhance partnerships”. But what lies
On Sunday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Marise Payne will be Minister for Foreign Affairs in his post-election cabinet. Selected to take over the portfolio last year after Julie Bishop’s resignation (and reportedly at her recommendation), Marise Payne had just eight months in the
Lost amid the recent federal election, a new Russian ambassador to Australia was appointed. On 20 May, Dr Alexey Pavlovsky presented his diplomatic credentials to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. The photo-op and ensuing discussion on Russia-Australia ties was buried in the flurry of the election,
The Bhartiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Narendra Modi has secured his second term as India’s Prime Minister with a landslide victory in the 2019 general elections. He spearheaded the long drawn out election campaign by labelling himself as India’s watchman, while the opposition criticised him for
Watch enough sport in Australia and the so-called “Americanisation” of culture is readily apparent. In Australian rules football, where contract arrangements increasingly follow the example of US sports, commentators often slip from referring to resting players on the bench or the pine to being
Not everyone who was hoping for a Labor victory took the loss well. But if, as the sore losers claimed, the unexpected return of the centre-right Morrison Government shows that Australians are racist, greedy, mean-spirited and stupid, then it must have come over the electorate rather quickly.
To start, I think it’s pretty likely that Labor will win on Saturday, meaning a change of government in Australia. So my comments will be based on that assumption.
In broad terms, a Labor government is not going to present any major challenges to the US alliance and its central role in
For American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, the test of a great intellect was the ability to “hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time.” By this measure, Australian foreign policy has been very smart for decades.
Australian leaders have long used a duality to describe and guide our
Two of the world’s democracies on either side of the Indian Ocean will see their elections culminate this weekend. Australians will go to the polls on Saturday, while Sunday marks the final day of India’s staggered voting season.
On the face of it, there is little to link the two elections:
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong’s efforts to set out a vision for Australia’s foreign policy on Asia, embodied in Labor’s “FutureAsia” plans, are admirable. The specific focus of fostering knowledge of and engagement with Southeast Asia is welcome.
A key part of
Australians will choose a new national government on 18 May in the context of two underlying trends: a record number of independents already now in office across the country and a political cycle that points to a Labor victory.
The below chart of elected members of parliament across the
To mark Mother’s Day on Sunday, The Interpreter invited contributors to write about their mothers who shaped world politics or were shaped by it.
Too often the “immigration debate” focuses on numbers, questions of infrastructure and congestion, and at its worst a sense of threat to “
Former prime minister Paul Keating pinched a moment in the international spotlight this week after calling for a clean out of “nutters” in Australia’s intelligence agencies. But this off-script detour aside, Australia’s election hasn’t exactly captivated the attention of the rest of the
Are the boats back? Once again a reliable fear of “uncontrolled” immigration has been invoked in an Australian federal election. This time current Prime Minister Scott Morrison has framed “border control” as a question of “congestion-busting” in major cities – and instead of the usual
Racism and hate speech have certainly been much discussed in Australia and the area seems to have become a grey area for many politicians who see it as too prominent and entrenched to openly oppose. These trendlines bump against real issues of free speech at one end, and the bizarrely invoked “
Adaptation to climate change was for a long time considered as an abstract issue for the future, something that would need to be worked out later by someone else. Adaptation, in short, is a process of preparing to live with a changing climate where most of our definitions of typical weather and
The Irish campaign to gain access to the E-3 visa in the United States has roared back to life. Currently, Australia is the only country with access to the 10,500 E-3 visa slots. Yet Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who led a delegation of US legislators on a visit to
This week, diplomats from Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will gather in Malaysia for the 31st ASEAN-Australian Forum. Even with the Australian government so keenly focused on the upcoming federal election, the meeting is an opportunity to discuss ASEAN’s role in tackling
The Australia Indonesia free trade agreement presents an opportunity to strengthen relations between the two countries, but is Australia ready?
Talks about a free trade agreement with Indonesia have been long standing, and the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was
The fate of perhaps as many as 70 children born to Australian mothers and caught up in the Iraq-Syria conflict has been the focus of Australian media attention. There are calls for them to be repatriated on the grounds that they should not be tarred with the same brush as their parents.
On a cool May afternoon in Canberra seven years ago, then foreign minister Bob Carr was hot with indignation about the case of Julian Assange. The family and supporters of the Wikileaks founder had complained long and loud that Australia was not doing enough to help one of its citizens facing legal