Monday 08 Aug 2022 | 10:44 | SYDNEY
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If you had 30 minutes with the PM, what would you ask?

“Right. So I’m going to pretend that you are the recently voted upon Prime Minister?” Exactly, I reply, smiling across the screen to Dorcas Makgato, High Commissioner for Botswana to Australia. Her Excellency – titles are boring, she laughs – has kindly agreed to an online interview for

Our man in Washington

Book review: Diplomatic: A Washington memoir, by Joe Hockey with Leo Shanahan (Harper Collins 2022) In September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott as leader of Australia’s Liberal party, and consequently as the country’s prime minister. Turnbull immediately told Joe Hockey that he

Insights from Africa as China stumbles in the Pacific

Earlier this month, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded a 10-day tour of the Pacific, touching down in Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, as well as Timor-Leste (skipping Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands, which maintain relations with

Public holiday reading: the Queen’s Birthday

Publishing will be light on Monday for the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in Australia (the present occupant on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II, was actually born on 21 April). By coincidence of timing, this holiday follows soon after the decision by the new Labor government to appoint for the

Southeast Asia: Gender parity is not gender equality

The Philippines has made considerable strides in wage equality between men and women in recent years. So too in the areas of female participation in politics and female education attainment. The Philippines ranked 17 out of 156 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender

We’re taking a break

The Interpreter team is having a break for the Easter public holidays in Australia. Publishing will be light on Friday and Monday, but we will be back to normal on Tuesday

Saving democracy from Russian rage

Much is being written about Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and much more will surely be said in the months and years ahead of this potentially epoch-defining event. But some of the most insightful and almost prescient analyses were made well before the conflict, such as in Larry Diamond’

The curious case of Blenheim Reef

A remote sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean, known as Blenheim Reef, is hitting the international news. The Mauritian government has sponsored an expedition to the reef to embarrass Britain in their long-running dispute over ownership of the Chagos Archipelago – which is home to the US

US monetary policy: the ripple effect

Book Review: The Lords of Easy Money: How the Federal Reserve Broke the American Economy, by Christopher Leonard (Simon & Schuster, 2022) A book focused on the failures of American monetary policy in the post-GFC period would have a tiny readership, confined to academics and

Mauritius sets sail to Chagos

On Tuesday, Mauritius made good on a long-standing threat to Britain and sent a boatload of officials to visit the Chagos Archipelago without permission. This action has placed Britain, which administers the disputed island territory, in a very difficult position. Touted by Mauritian Prime

Cold front: Antarctica and its military future

Book Review: The Future of Antarctica: Scenarios from Classical Geopolitics, by J McGee, D Edmiston and M Haward (Springer, 2022) For a place that is agreed by treaty to be used only for peaceful purposes, scientific investigation, and conservation as well as use of its living resources, a lot of

History lessons from “The Great Crash”?

In J.K. Galbraith’s entertaining 1954 account of the stock-market collapse of 1929 The Great Crash (re-released by Penguin in paperback last year), the celebrated economist took delight in recording the madness of crowds, responding to the lure of easy wealth. Galbraith observed that, unlike

That 70s show for an Interpreter 2021 favourite

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. More recommendations and reflections. –Eds A reader got in touch this year to recommend Christian Caryl’s Strange Rebels. The book charts the remarkable

Ear worms for The Interpreter’s 2021 favourites

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. Watch for more recommendations and reflections in the days ahead. –Eds Nobody ever accused me of being an early adopter of new tech. At least a decade

Red obsession: The Interpreter’s 2021 favourites

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. Watch for more recommendations and reflections in the days ahead. –Eds Staggering, saturated to the eyeballs in whiskey and cheap ale, a pair of untidy out

Twenty years of BRICS

It is 20 years since Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill invented the BRIC economic grouping – Brazil, Russia, India and China – with South Africa added later to make up the BRICS. He celebrated this anniversary with a self-congratulatory article in the Financial Times, expressing his

Regulate against the machine

Book review: We, the Robots? Regulating Artificial Intelligence and the Limits of the Law, by Simon Chesterman (Cambridge University Press, 2021) From Tesla’s self-driving cars that can comfort your dog, to OpenAI’s large language model that writes decent essays and code, more and more

9/11: A President reacts on a day of fear and anger

Twenty years on, there are many different ways to remember 9/11. Many rightly focus on the families of the victims, as Jennifer Senior does in her remarkable article in The Atlantic describing the way grief echoed through the lives of a single family. The Lowy Institute has released a new

Did 9/11 change our world?

We asked six experts, “Did 9/11 define our world? If so, how? If not, what did?” After each of their responses to these questions, editor Lydia Khalil challenges the experts with questions that delve deeper into their rationales and reasons

Debating the alliance

Book review: Emma Shortis, Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States (Hardie Grant, 2021) Depending on your perspective, Australia’s China debate might be relatively sophisticated, or resemble shell-churned ground in a war zone. Either way, it’s noisy and

Australia and LGBTQI rights

Less than a month into his term, US President Joe Biden issued a Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Persons around the World. Biden’s foreign policy focus on LGBTQI rights confirms that it is now time for Australia to step

Why politics and pandemics don’t mix

Book review: Michael Lewis The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (W. W. Norton & Company, 2021) Way back in October 2019, before most anyone had heard of Covid-19, a group of experts from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and The Economist Intelligence

China debate not just a matter of hawks and doves

Book Reviews  Peter Hartcher Red Zone: China’s Challenge and Australia’s Future (Black Inc., 2021)David Brophy China Panic: Australia’s Alternative to Paranoia and Pandering (La Trobe University Press, 2021) If you wanted to give a political outsider a sense of

What to do after the Taliban take-over

I am not an emotionally detached observer of Afghanistan. The country was once my second home, and I still have friends and colleagues there. Frankly, I am gutted – it is hard to erase the kind of images that emerged from Kabul airport on Monday. Nor should we, this is what desperation looks like