Saturday 30 May 2020 | 05:20 | SYDNEY

Australia in the World

Lowy Institute all at sea

Yesterday, six Lowy Institute research staff spent the day aboard the guided missile frigate, HMAS Sydney, at the invitation of Captain Peter Leavy. Our thanks to Captain Leavy and the incredibly hospitable crew of Sydney for a memorable day. We witnessed gunnery practice, at-sea refuelling, fighter

The election without an incumbent

The foreign affairs dimensions of Australia's election will rest on personalities and the past as well as the predictions offered in declared policies. The past is the foundation for large areas of bipartisan agreement for significant areas of foreign policy. Here stand the monoliths such as

Reader riposte: What hubris?

Will Clegg is a research analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Defense and Foreign Affairs correspondent for Government magazine. The views expressed here are his alone: I'm very interested to see Sam Roggeveen concurring with Jason Thomas' assessment that 'defeating an

Defence Minister Lowy speech

Defence Minister John Faulkner has just left the Lowy Institute, having delivered a speech about Afghanistan. A transcript will be posted as soon as possible, and there will be audio and video available next week. Afghanistan has hotted up as a debate topic on The Interpreter just lately (and

Fiji: Attack of the blimps

Putting the journalistic boot into the Australian Government is standard operating procedure in Canberra. The dangerous bit can be praising our leaders. That way lies the label of lick-spittle and lag. To say something complimentary about Australian policy in the South Pacific is to add a

Reader riposte: Our Afghan war

John Hardy is a PhD student in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU: Ashley Townshend offers three reasons for Australia's continued involvement in Afghanistan: alliance management, the preservation of a global rules-based order and the negative regional and global consequences of a

Food for Thought - Michael Wesley presentation

Mineral resources play a role in international affairs that far outweighs the attention paid to the sector by policy makers and strategic thinkers. Modern societies are becoming ever more dependent on mineral resources but increasingly less self-sufficient in their production, making access to

FDI: Less restrictive than we used to be

During the recent debate  over Australia's response to Chinese foreign investment, many references were made to the OECD's index of foreign direct investment (FDI) regulatory restrictiveness.  That index measures the restrictiveness of a given country's policy towards FDI on a scale of 0 (no

Australia outplays Fiji Supremo

Australia doesn't get everything it wants in dealing with the arc of islands in the neighbourhood, a reality many Australians seem to miss. Count the new Prime Minister among those subject to the odd regional reality check. East Timor has just given Julia Gillard a quick and painful demonstration of

Australia Afghan war

Following the death of Private Nathan Bewes, the sixth Australian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan in little over a month, the public is again asking what the war is all about. Reacting to these concerns, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has trundled out a familiar policy one-liner, declaring

When (Middle) East meets (south) west

Little noticed in Australia was the inaugural Arab League Pacific Islands summit held in Abu Dhabi in late June. This earlier post highlighted the UAE's interest in the South Pacific in trying to secure votes for its candidacy to house the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy

Rudd gets kudos from Korea

I enjoyed the story Sam linked to concerning German bemusement about Kevin Rudd's sudden downfall. Last week, I was in Seoul and ran into very similar sentiments from senior government and ruling party people I met. There was a clear sense that they firmly believed Rudd had been good for

Julia Gillard de Gaulle moment

It has taken me a couple of days to realise that, so far as boat arrivals are concerned, Prime Minister Gillard is working from the Charles de Gaulle playbook. Yes, that Charles de Gaulle, French President 1959-69. Of all the many speeches de Gaulle made over the years, none, including the

APc myth-making

I was surprised to find that The Interpreter is being used to foment yet another face-saving myth about the ill-fated Asia-Pacific community initiative. In his reply to Andrew Shearer's post, Carl Ungerer claims 'even Andrew couldn't disagree with the fact that Rudd at most initiated that

A Rudd-y drover dog

The idea of 'The Kevin' as Defence Minister throws off so many sparks it deserves to be cranked up and contemplated. The suggestion from Nick Bisley shows his usual sharp intelligence, but I had not suspected him of having this touch of twisted genius. Defence is too important a portfolio ever

Dust settles on Lowy aid conference

As previously reported here, the Lowy Institute hosted a unique international conference in Sydney on 16-18 June: Advancing innovative development and aid strategies in the Asia-Pacific: Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals. The conference was supported by AusAID and the Myer Foundation

Defence loses yet another minister

And so, with the retirement announcement from Senator John Faulkner, Australia is set to lose yet another Defence Minister. When the next government is sworn in, we will have our eighth Defence Minister since the Howard Government took office in 1996. Has any other department — let alone one

Reader riposte: Gusmao lever

Andrew R. responds to Sam's post of this morning: Interesting, Sam, interesting indeed, but while PM Gillard gets to neutralise (however temporarily) a ticklish election issue, what does Gusmao get? Oh...riiiiight...that thing the East Timorese want. Well hey, maybe the refugees could

Gillard and the ghost of Tampa

Labor polling, focus groups and backbench MPs are all sending clear sentiments to the new Prime Minister. And Julia Gillard is echoing those messages back to the voters with all the force she can muster. From opposition, Labor won the 2007 election by sticking closely to John Howard on key issues

Did Labor just hand Gusmao a lever?

The conventional wisdom about Prime Minister Gillard's tactics — that, prior to calling an election, she is 'clearing the decks' of potentially weak issues which the Opposition could use to hurt the Government — seems convincing. First there was the resources rent tax, yesterday we saw the

Ramos-Horta on the East Timor solution

As Sam pointed out earlier today, Julia Gillard's 'East Timor Solution' to the asylum-seeker issue is far from a done deal. President Ramos-Horta of East Timor issued this statement this afternoon. It's critical stuff, diplomatically couched: Dili, 06 Jul (PPR): President José Ramos-Horta

First impressions of the Gillard speech

Julia Gillard has just finished her first major speech as Prime Minister, delivered to a large (and remarkably patient — the PM was almost an hour late) Lowy Institute audience. Here's  a copy of the speech, which was focused almost entirely on boat people and border protection, and not on

The Australia-India Strategic Lecture

It is striking to hear an Indian analyst identify why India should take a leading role in cooperating with China in the Indian Ocean, a line contrary to some of the more defensive and fearful arguments coming out of New Delhi's security commentariat.  'The Indian Ocean: Navigating Beyond Rivalry

Friday funny: Glory days of Oceania

For Australian TV viewers, one of the unexpected pleasures of this FIFA World Cup has been 'Santo, Sam and Ed's Cup Fever!' on SBS. Some of their work reminded me of the debate we staged recently on the effect Australia's various football codes have on our regional reputation. Rugby Union and

Reader riposte: Soldier Z

Warren Reed writes: I don't know whether this reply will get through in your system but I want to tell you (as a former National Serviceman in the Australian Army) that I think Soldier Z's letter is brilliant. It's exquisitely articulated, is succinct in the extreme and expresses the sentiments

Gillard big challenges

In the AFR yesterday (the original version of my op-ed is here), I argued that Kevin Rudd's foreign policy was generally impressive, given the length of his tenure in the office of prime minister. Rudd committed his fair share of sins, but he also had a good log of achievements, in particular the

Token: Australian debate about Afghanistan

Soldier Z is a serving member of the ADF with operational experience in Afghanistan. This June, Australians were confronted with the return of five of its young treasures, killed in action fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Again, and in increasing numbers, Australians are asking why their sons

Rudd in Asia: One last kick in the guts

Speaking in Jakarta recently, I remarked that ASEAN had kicked to death Australia's quest for an Asia Pacific Community. The senior Indonesian analyst sitting next to me immediately interjected: 'Kicked to death by Singapore.' At the time, I reflected I might be guilty of a Tony Abbott-style oral

Advancing Innovative Development and Aid Strategies in the Asia-Pacific: Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region is mixed. Asia is generally progressing well while the Pacific is lagging behind, and in several cases countries are in fact regressing. Since the signing of the Millennium Declaration in 2000 there has been a lot of

The RSPT and sovereign risk, again

I noted some time back that an important part of the sovereign risk element of the Resource Super Profits Tax, at least as far as the miners were concerned, was the potential demonstration effect of a higher resource tax take on other countries which might follow Australia. Well, to the extent

Rudd: Bewildering in Asia

Some commentators are being too gentle on former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's foreign policy legacy. Or is it too soon to speak of a legacy? Rumours and hints that he will replace Stephen Smith as foreign minister continue to circulate – and if this does indeed transpire, we will see a strenuous

Fiji: Limits to 'Look North' policy

Matt Hill is a Lowy Institute intern and New Zealand Freyberg Scholar pursuing a Master's in Strategic Studies at ANU. Fiji's so-called 'Look North' policy predates Commodore Bainimarama military-led regime, but there is little doubt that attempts to engage with China have gained traction in the

Asia literacy: Rudd false promise

People like me, who believe passionately that Australia needs to take seriously the study of Asian languages, can only see Kevin Rudd's demise as a huge lost opportunity. For the two-and-a-half years of the Rudd Government, we had a Prime Minister who had invested enormous time and effort in

A foreign policy to-do list for PM Gillard

New Prime Minister Julia Gillard will have a lot on her plate in coming weeks. Foreign policy probably isn't at the top of her list. But Kevin Rudd's peremptory replacement is an opportunity to get Australian international policy back on track, in ten simple steps: Make a sustained case to the

Interview: Gillard in the world

I just sat down with Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Wesley to discuss Kevin Rudd's foreign policy legacy, and what we might expect from Prime Minister Gillard (the first time I have written that phrase; it will take some getting used to). Michael argues that Rudd can look back on a

The Rudd foreign policy legacy

How to write on the foreign policy legacy of a Prime Minister who governed like a state premier and was disposed like a premier no longer dominating the nightly news? Kevin Rudd had the finest foreign policy qualifications of any of Australia's 26 national leaders. Yet less than one term in office

Gillard rise: What will the world say?

It's over. Australia has a new Prime Minister. As a rule, Australian politics gets pretty modest international media coverage, but with this leadership change coming so close to the G20 summit, Rudd's absence is going to be noted by foreign leaders and the foreign media. That Rudd was a driving

Justifying Afghan role a hard sell

In an opinion piece in The Age newspaper, Anthony Bubalo argues that Australia's defence force commitment in Afghanistan has bipartisan political support, while polling shows that public attitudes are increasingly against a continuing involvement. The government, Bubalo argues, has failed to present

Our missile defence conundrum

Back in December 2007 I wrote that 'no proposed Australian missile defence system would be able to protect the continent'. That remains true, but not because the Government or Opposition are in principle opposed to the idea of protecting the Australian homeland. Rather, it is because there has

Waiting for ASEAN

Having seen off Kevin's Rudd's vision for the Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia has to confront a tougher task. ASEAN must decide which of its own creations it will anoint to sit atop the Asia Pacific concert. Is it to be the ASEAN-plus-eight or is it to be the East Asia Summit? A previous column 

The mystery behind Australia 100 JSFs

Confession number one. Rodger, blame me. I think I may be the culprit who came up with that suspiciously round number of 100 JSFs. It goes back to the 2000 Defence White Paper. One of the key questions we wrestled with ten years ago was how much money to allow in the long term Defence

Rugby Union as soft power

Like Rodger Shanahan, I also believe Graham Dobell gives Rugby League way too much credit in terms of its regional impact and influence. Outside of parts of northern England, League is only taken seriously in two Australian states and PNG. The Pacific nations are far more interested in Rugby

Defence suspiciously round number

I'm always a bit suspicious when big public policy projects have round numbers attached. While ministerial and political statements love round numbers, nature and real project management normally don't. Which brings me to the number 100. When I was in Army HQ in the late 1990s, the new

Rugby Union: Regional front-rower

I always like reading Graeme Dobell's posts and I would like to add some comments to his latest on regional footballing diplomacy. But before I do, I must admit my sporting bias — I am an unabashed Rugby Union tragic. While there is no doubt that there are large numbers of players of Pacific

Regional benefits of footy diversity

The World Cup is the extended moment when football becomes the crucible and the metaphor for international relations. No consolation in that thought for the Socceroos as they tend the wounded after the German blitzkrieg. The Australians can now live the truth of the neat observation in The

Crime of aggression: Agreement in Kampala

Tobias Hanson attended the ICC Review Conference on behalf of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. This post is written in his personal capacity. Earlier posts here and here. After decades of discussions that have culminated in two weeks of intense debate in Kampala, States

The sources of Kevin Rudd conduct

The more we get to know Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the more enigmatic he seems. In the latest Quarterly Essay, David Marr portrays the Prime Minister as a man whose distinctive mindset and behaviour stems in large part from the pain and loneliness of a childhood shaped by a recurrent sense of

Whaling: Prospects for ICJ success

Donald Anton is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University College of Law. Part one of this blog post can be found here. Success for Australia's legal proceedings against Japanese whaling in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is by no means certain. Even less certain is