Friday 14 Dec 2018 | 20:55 | SYDNEY
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Australia jostles over its Iran policy

If news reports are believed, Australia will on Saturday formally recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital while leaving its embassy to remain in Tel Aviv in an announcement to be made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. If other news reports are believed, such a shift will be against the

The true cost of fast fashion

This article is based on episode 10 of the Good Will Hunters podcast, featuring an interview with Clare Press, sustainability editor-at-large at Vogue Australia.  It’s known as “fast fashion”, clothes cheap to buy, yet costly to make, if the true labour and environmental

How Australia should deepen ties with India

Ties between India and Australia have always been a little constrained – and unsurprisingly so, as traditionally there has been little to connect the two countries. For its part, Australia has for decades sought to have a better relationship with India, one that extends beyond shared democracy,

Steady but slow in Australia-Japan security cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Darwin was rightly billed as historic and “deeply symbolic”. It also delivered some substance, with the announcement of important deals on the financing of regional infrastructure and on deepening cooperation on maritime security. It did not

Review: lessons for Australia and Britain from Iraq War

Book review: Blunder: Britain’s War in Iraq, by Patrick Porter (Oxford University Press, November 2018). Clausewitz famously pointed out that war is a continuation of politics or policy by other means. Hannah Arendt wrote that “policy is the realm of unintended consequences”. Patrick

Barley and bases: China stings Australian farmers

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced on Monday that it would immediately start a year-long anti-dumping probe into imported barley from Australia. China is Australia’s largest export market for barley. In 2017, two-thirds of the Australian crop – 6.48 million tonnes, worth US $1.5 billion

Australia finds itself at a Pacific crossroads

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the establishment of the multibillion-dollar infrastructure development bank for the Pacific, the overriding sentiment was that this pivot to the South Pacific was designed to curb the rising Chinese presence in the region. But is this renewed

Chipping away at trust in democracy

With a series of state elections due and the federal election looming, there are important lessons that Australia needs to learn from the tone of US politics. In particular, there is a responsibility for Australia’s political leaders to act in ways that ensure, and do not undermine, the integrity

Abe’s visit to Australia: raising the stakes

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is scheduled to visit Australia this week on the heels of attending the ASEAN Summit. While there have been regular prime ministerial exchanges between Tokyo and Canberra throughout Abe’s long leadership tenure, there will be more at stake than usual on this

Signalling a whole-of-Australia approach to China

One of the most challenging aspects of Australia’s bilateral relationship with China is finding new ways to signal our interest in the big issues that are shaping the future of the region – a task almost as difficult as deciding amongst ourselves what those issues are. The signalling of

Bourke Street: debating terrorism

The violence in Melbourne’s Bourke Street last Friday is still being investigated as a terrorist incident and, as with all terrorist incidents, the media and public are rightly eager for information. While the authorities have been as open as they can be, this early in the process there

Where the new US envoy fits in the ambassadorial type

Arthur Culvahouse will be the next US ambassador to Australia. At last, the “diplomatic insult” that so worried former Nationals leader, deputy prime minister and later ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer has been put to rest. As the Washington Post notes, Culvahouse, a lawyer by training,

Labor’s ambitions in the Pacific

Speeches on foreign policy made by prospective Prime Ministers or prospective Foreign Ministers in Australia are a bit like bingo games for foreign policy analysts. We listen (or read the transcript) eagerly to determine how many of the various recommendations we have all been making to the

“Would you like thanks with that?”

I think we are in danger of reaching “peak veteran”. Former defence minister and Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson has called for people to publicly thank the military and veterans community and their families for their service, a campaign backed by News Corporation along with

Melbourne joins the Belt-and-Road

Most maps of the Belt and Road Initiative, the People’s Republic of China’s signature international policy program, have sweeping arrows connecting China with almost all corners of the world. Yet even the most ambitious of these do not have any link to Australia’s most cultured city, Melbourne

Bill Shorten takes on the world

On the polls, Australia’s long-time Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten will be prime minister by the middle of next year. So a major speech on a future Labor government’s foreign policy, delivered on Monday at the Lowy Institute, was an important set of signals on Australia’s direction in a

Friends like these … allies and the Pence speech

Vice President Mike Pence’s speech was tasty red meat for anyone desiring a more confrontational US policy toward the People’s Republic of China. Pence’s speech reflects a strengthening bipartisan consensus in Washington, and suggests that a long-term policy of competition and confrontation

Australia’s Israel-Palestine conflict

Labor was quick to pounce on a “desperate” Scott Morrison to accuse him of breaking “bipartisan foreign policy” after the prime minister flagged the prospect that Australia could recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Which is true enough on the specifics. But broad questions

Encryption does not create privilege

Australia’s Director-General of Security, Duncan Lewis, has published his urgings in support of a bill before the federal parliament to impose obligations on communication service providers to facilitate investigative access to encrypted communications. Formerly, such a public participation by

Australia-PNG: relationships are what matter

Papua New Guineans tell each other with pride and excitement that the eyes of the world will be upon them 40 days from now, when they host the APEC Leaders Meeting in Port Moresby on 17-19 November. They are not fazed that Donald Trump won’t be there. His representative, Mike Pence, is

Japan’s advice to Australia to co-exist with China

Japan’s Shinzo Abe now ranks as one of the region’s most experienced prime ministers, and will likely meet with Australia’s newest leader, Scott Morrison, in November. China’s growing influence in the region is a topic both leaders must discuss, given that the prosperity and stability in

Indian migrants in Australia find political voice

As a doctoral student exploring theory and creative practice of diasporas in the mid-2000s, I ended up making a documentary about Indian migrants in Adelaide (titled, I Journey Like a Paisley). There was little academic or popular literature on the matter then. A few years later, the racist

Time to fill the big hole in US-Australia ties

“We want to know to whom should we talk”, asked one South American diplomat in frustration at staffing problems in the US State Department. The question underscores, again, the failure of the Trump Administration to adequately staff its foreign service. This failure is not merely a curiosity,

Not just a pretty place: Australia’s soft power

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's (DFAT) soft power review comes at a time when information is rising as an instrument of foreign policy. DFAT faces new challenges and therefore needs a renewed vision and mission for its soft power. The review is sorely required. In orthodox

Spilt milk: protecting exports during drought

Drought is an unavoidable hazard of farming in Australia. As the economic pressure mounts from the current drought in northern New South Wales and Queensland, there is increasing stress on farmers in the region, including in the dairy industry. The federal government has stepped in with

The case for a foreign aid tsar

The Australian aid program has always laboured under multiple and competing objectives, both implicit and explicit. This was identified in the 1997 Simons Report on foreign aid, commissioned by the Howard Government, into what was then a separate agency, AusAID: The managers of the aid

We already have an agricultural visa

It’s not all that often the National party – the junior member of the Coalition government – has an obvious influence over Australia’s relations with its neighbours. But a push for a new agricultural visa by the Nationals and supported by the lobby-group National Farmers Federation is

What Canberra’s turmoil means for foreign policy

The latest eruption of political infighting in Canberra was unusual for the ineptitude of its instigators, who failed to get their own candidate into the job, and the persistence of the after-shocks. These included the resignation from parliament of the defeated prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and

PNG: new friend versus old, APEC and polio 

The condemnation of China last week by Nauru’s President Baron Waqa at the Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting may have been bolstered by Taiwan’s substantial investment in that tiny Pacific nation of 13,000 people. Nauru is one of six Pacific countries to have diplomatic relations with

Regional security dilemma in the Pacific

After changes of leadership and of government in Canberra, those of us who work on Pacific island issues are usually inclined to be optimistic. We hope that the incoming Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister might care more about the Pacific, might be inclined to spend more time in the

Economic diplomacy: Indonesia, trade deals and TPP

Development lesson Australia can probably thank China’s amorphous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for helping push over the line the bilateral trade agreement that Prime Minister Scott Morrison will claim as his first diplomatic triumph on Friday. The key breakthrough in the agreement is set to

Australia right to question Manning visa

In August 2013, when military judge Colonel Denise Lind sentenced Private First Class Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning to 35 years in jail, she never described Manning as a whistleblower. In fact, she said Manning’s conduct: was of a heedless nature that made it actually and imminently dangerous to

Julie Bishop: buffeted by headwinds

Few can quibble with the accolades that Julie Bishop has received in recent days for the manner in which she performed the role of Australian foreign minister. The first woman to hold the position, she graced the world stage with a mixture of professionalism and poise, dignity and discipline. No one

No, Australia has not caught the Trump bug

It was just a week ago, before Scott Morrison came from nowhere to snatch the prime ministership, that Peter Dutton looked odds-on to be Australia’s next leader. Australia’s politics seemed to be shifting decisively to the right. Major parties are getting weaker around the West, and Australia

Julie Bishop and her place in the history books

Julie Bishop resigned as Foreign Minister on Sunday, just short of her 20th anniversary as member for Curtin in Western Australia, and her fifth as Foreign Minister. In the coming days, there will no doubt be numerous reflections and dissections of her time as Foreign Minister. Deposed Prime

The world won’t wait for Scott Morrison

Healing bitter internal party divisions after a week of political bomb-throwing will be an onerous enough task for Scott Morrison, newly anointed Prime Minister of Australia. That’s before running the country, let alone positioning Australia in the world, or dealing with Donald Trump. The

Huawei in Australia: the 5G fear

The Australian government has officially blocked Chinese telecommunications firms, most notably Huawei, from providing equipment to Australia’s new 5G mobile phone networks, citing concerns over national security. While the issue in question regards some of the world’s most sophisticated

How Peter Dutton changes Australian foreign policy

Peter Dutton was standing beside Malcolm Turnbull at joint press conference in May when a journalist asked whether Australia would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, as its US ally had formally done so the day before. “No, our embassy will remain where it is,” Turnbull responded, as

Prime Ministerial persistence: Australia vs PNG

Remember when Australia used to refer to its near neighbours in the region as the “arc of instability”? The leadership shenanigans on Tuesday will have given the BBC’s former Australia correspondent Nick Bryant an opportunity to update his description of Canberra as the “coup capital of the

Malcolm Turnbull: ruling the void

It is tempting to look at the last 11 years of political leadership instability in Canberra and ascribe it exclusively to either the incompetence or malevolence of individuals. The overarching story is that the major centre–right and centre–left parties in Western democracies each represent an

Wisdom of strangers: tackling racism in Australia

A week or so back, my phone flashed with a news alert. “Is Australia becoming a more racist country?” was the headline from CNN. This was days before a newly appointed senator stood up in the national parliament in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon and called for a “predominantly

Diplomacy in the post-broadcasting era

The Department of Communications is now reviewing submissions on the issue of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia-Pacific region. This is timely. As always, communicating Australia’s views and voices to the Asia-Pacific region is important. And, more than ever before, finding effective

Who has been best for Australia: Trump or Obama?

US President Donald Trump comes in for widespread criticism, but he has at least one well-placed Australian defender. Former foreign minister Alexander Downer says that for Australia, Trump has been better than Obama. On the whole, Trump has been “good for us”. This is seriously misguided. Let

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