Monday 27 Jun 2022 | 13:02 | SYDNEY

Australia in the World

An update on Domingos Soares

Domingos Soares with Mark Cooper (photo courtesy of Fundasaun Mahein). On 17 February Gordon Peake told Interpreter readers the story of Domingos Soares, an elderly Timorese man who claimed to have fought alongside Australian soldiers in World War II. At the time, Mr Soares\' case had received

New Zealand shrinks its diplomatic service

Dr Richard Grant is Executive Director of the Asia:NZ Foundation. He was previously New Zealand\'s Ambassador to Germany and to France, and High Commissioner to the UK and to Singapore. Readers of The Economist of 18 February would have seen the reference to the similar size

The Gillard-Rudd show

With the governing Labor Party\'s leadership tension now resolved, a few observations about how this mess looks from an international perspective: To repeat a point I made after Julia Gillard won the prime ministership in June 2010, bafflement will surely be the overwhelming feeling among

Friday funny: The Labor War

Before the \'What people think I do\' meme completely exhausts itself, here are the Gillard and Rudd versions, courtesy of the SMH\'s The Pulse

Wesley: Rudd neglected region

The Australia Network\'s Jim Middleton interviews Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Wesley. The interview begins with an assessment of Kevin Rudd\'s performance as foreign minister, and then goes much broader

History echoes in new Defence review

The US is hastening out of two wars and rethinking its defence interests in Asia, while Australia realigns the alliance and moves more military might to the north and west of the continent. With all that in flux, two ex-Defence Secretaries, Ric Smith and Allan Hawke, are well placed to produce one

5-minute Lowy lunch: Jamie Briggs MP

  For our latest 5-minute Lowy lunch, I interviewed one of Australia\'s newest and youngest MPs, the Liberal Member for Mayo, Jamie Briggs. Jamie won the by-election for Mayo in 2008 after the retirement of former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. Yesterday, Jamie delivered an impassioned

On Kevin as Foreign Minister

Before the political firestorm consumes every ounce of oxygen in Canberra, let\'s consider Kevin Rudd\'s foreign policy performance. As Foreign Minister, his work rate was prodigious. The ambition nearly as high. The self-confidence and the sense of conviction never flagged. The intensity was

The Tele changes its tune

It wasn\'t too long ago that Kevin Rudd\'s penchant for international travel was front-page fodder for Daily Telegraph. In fact, twice in 2011 the Tele indignantly told its readers that the then-Foreign Minister was spending altogether too much of the public purse talking to

Spy review: The epistemological puzzle

Well, Sam is absolutely right, of course, to say that a key issue was not addressed either by the published \'Overview\' of the Government\'s Intelligence Review, or by my op-ed about it: do we spend too much on intelligence overall?  It is an important question, because it is quite

Understanding Asia: A job for spies?

In the Fairfax press today, Hugh White criticises the recently released Cornall-Black Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community for its \'breathless endorsement of the status quo\'. But although Hugh takes on a few debatable assumptions that seem to underpin the

Good posture: A new Defence blueprint

On the top tier of Defence Department reports, where White Papers reside, there are also a few reviews that reshape the way Defence thinks, plans and builds. Defence does reviews by the dozens. Those that rise to the level of lasting blueprint are rare. The canny pair of warhorses, Ric Smith and

Timor-Leste: Everybody needs good neighbours

Jim Della-Giacoma is South East Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group. Early in 2010, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was sitting in Kabul with some diplomats who had served in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. \'Is it true\', he asked, \'that Indonesia just walked away from

Global Times: On the record

Last week I blogged about how I had been misrepresented by China\'s Global Times newspaper. So it was fascinating and pleasing to see this follow-up article yesterday, written by the junior Global Times editor who had handled the original story. One observer suggests this apology is quite a

PM must be mindful of symbolism

Rawdon Dalrymple is a former Australian ambassador to Israel, Indonesia, the US and Japan. At a time when the Government has announced its intention of taking steps to enhance our capacity to engage with Asia, and has appointed a task force to make recommendations, it is interesting to wonder

Commercial objectives in foreign aid

\'There you are, sir. Will that be cash or credit?\' (Photo by Flickr user Royal Australian Navy.) For some, the international aid program should be a matter of pure altruism, driven solely by the development objectives of poor countries. Commercial objectives, furthering the interests of

Global Times: What I really said

Never trust what you read in the papers: that was one of my first lessons as a trainee journalist on an Australian bush newspaper many years ago. It held true yesterday when I discovered an article in The Global Times, China\'s Communist Party tabloid. It appeared to be an opinion piece under my

A meagre intelligence review

The Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community is thin gruel. A hungry critique of the report prepared by Robert Cornall and Rufus Black would be that it tastes more like an insider\'s review than an independent inquiry. Yes, complaints about the food value of the

Australia MIA in PNG

Like Alexander Downer, I think the Australian Government should pay more attention to the political crisis in Papua New Guinea. I\'ve been uncertain about what Canberra can practically do, but here\'s a suggestion: it\'s time for Australia to play its strongest card. So far, we have played a weak

What Somare and O'Neill hath wrought

Papua New Guinea has just paid an economic price for its political instability, with Standard and Poor\'s downgrading its credit rating from B- to B-. The short-lived military mutiny created headlines around the world. It was enough to convince the ratings agency that there was now increased

The looming transformation of the ADF

Listening to the three service chiefs speak at the Seapower Conference* yesterday, three things seem clear. Firstly, the ADF of five years from now will look very little like the one we have today. Secondly, the service chiefs are well aware of the challenge they face in transitioning the

What happened in PNG yesterday?

Yesterday\'s military mutiny in Papua New Guinea ended peacefully, with no civil unrest or loss of life. The mutiny, carried out by retired Colonel Yaura Sasa, was instigated by Sir Michael Somare\'s camp in an attempt to have Somare re-installed as Prime Minister. The

Three questions on the Asian Century

Since some of my colleagues have been  setting out their thoughts on the Asian Century White Paper, I thought I might chip in with my two cents. I have three opening questions. 1. Shouldn\'t we try to go beyond old-school geography? Granted, we know that there\'s lots of

Disclosure needed in subs debate

Henry Ergas has a sensible rebuttal in today\'s Australian of last week\'s piece by Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith arguing that a nuclear-propelled submarine option would erode Australia\'s defence self-reliance. Ergas points out, quite rightly, that the criteria of defence self-

Navy held hostage to politics

Remember Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36? It seems the federal Opposition doesn\'t. That\'s the boat which was boarded in 2009 by Royal Australian Navy crew operating under Operation Resolute, the Navy\'s contribution to Australia\'s border protection. During the boarding a suspected illegal

'Asia' White Paper makes no sense

Stephen Grenville seems to have misunderstood the purpose of my post on American and Chinese power and the Gillard Government\'s \'Asian Century\' White Paper. I certainly did not intend to downplay Asia\'s importance. Even further from my mind was reopening what John Howard aptly calls

Putting Australia on Asia dance card

Rawdon Dalrymple is a former Australian ambassador to Indonesia, the US and Japan. Stephen Grenville has had more than forty years of engagement with Asia starting with his embassy posting in Jakarta in 1968. He has also been a Deputy Governor of the RBA and has more recently advised

All aboard for the submarine debate

ASPI\'s analysts have compared the cost of the future submarine project to the planned National Broadband Network (NBN). The NBN debate has been public and vociferous. The Government and Opposition\'s dueling policies are detailed and their champions conduct near-constant briefings to all who will

Submarine debate runs silent

There may be a comprehensive argument for why Australia\'s future submarine should be a home-designed, home-built evolution of the Collins Class, but today\'s Kokoda Foundation report (subscription needed to see the whole thing) hasn\'t provided it. While the report summarises well 

Oz still a wallflower at Asia party

Andrew Shearer represents a long tradition in Australian diplomacy, of viewing Asia through the prism of our relationship with the US. No serious commentator is suggesting that Australia should focus on Asia to the exclusion (or even downgrading) of our US relationship; everyone agrees that keeping

Rudd Asia Society speech

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd\'s recent speech to the Asia Society is a lucid and bracingly matter-of-fact treatment of the challenges presented by the rise of China. Plain English is not the Foreign Minister\'s strong suit, so when he does deliver a speech that is direct, easily

Rudd mixed messages on Indonesia

Of course it\'s good to see the Foreign Minister deliver his \'wake up to Indonesia\' call to Australian businesses to seize the opportunities in Southeast Asia\'s fastest growing economy. But while the Minister is urging businesses to act, his Department\'s Travel Advisory is telling them not to

'Presidential' foreign policy in Australia

At the risk of sounding pedantic, the centralised foreign-policy-making system Andrew refers to in his post was not created by Prime Minister Rudd, but rather was inherited from his predecessor John Howard. In a chapter in the latest Australia in World Affairs collection, I describe this as

Whither realism?

In the links last week I highlighted a survey of US international relations (IR) scholars. One question particularly leapt out: \'Which of the following best describes your approach to the study of IR?\'. While a colleague has noted that you\'ll never hear the word \'constructivism\' inside the

PMs and the national security apparatus

One of the signature foreign policy moves of the Rudd Government was carried out in Canberra. Rudd centralised foreign and defence policy creation, not just into his department (PM&C), but in his office, including creating a new National Security Adviser as the PM\'s point man. Yet it seems

2011 end of year message

Dr Michael Wesley, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute, sent an end of year message to friends and supporters of our work in 2011, and offered some thoughts on what to watch out for in 2012

Reader riposte: Big and little truths on uranium

Richard Broinowski writes: My apologies for getting some details wrong in my broadside about pro-nuclear bias at Lowy, and to those I might have offended. But none of the corrections weaken my general observation, which Peter Burnett strengthens: blog postings are ephemeral, whereas the

Too many are drowning in search of sanctuary

Dr Khalid Koser is Head of the New Issues in Security Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and a non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. While I\'m pleased that the lunchtime talk I delivered last week at the Lowy Institute has been cited in the past few days, I deeply

A trade deal without China

Much thought has been devoted to the choices and chances confronting Australia because of potential tensions between the US alliance and the trade bonanza with China. How diabolical would it be, however, if Australia manages to align itself against China both in its traditional alliance stance but

Reader riposte: PNG home-grown constitution

John Ballard, a Visiting Fellow at ANU, writes: Andrew Farran isn\'t aware of the fact that PNG, unlike almost all other post-colonial regimes, produced a home-grown constitution. The Constitutional Planning Committee and first Somare Government worked on this over a period of two-and-

Defence cooperation: What does Beijing want?

Wilson Chau is a Lowy Institute intern. His Security Challenges essay on this topic recently won the Australian Defence Business Review Young Strategic Writers prize. The deepening of the Australia-US alliance during President Obama\'s visit last month was widely seen as directed at China,

Reader riposte: Australia and the PNG crisis

Andrew Farran writes: RE: PNG deadlock: it is strange, is it not, that a parliamentary majority does not suffice to gain and hold government? What became of the Westminster system in PNG? I concede that the constitution is very confusing — a colonial legacy (we did not trust them to

Reader ripostes: Uranium expertise and emotion

Three reader ripostes on our uranium debate. Below, Jasmin Craufurd-Hill and Michael Angwin. But first, Peter Burnett: Lowy Institute staff seem to get very defensive when people criticise their role, as in the recent policy debate over nuclear issues (a similar trait was

More on our uranium debate

Regarding Richard Broinowski\'s reader riposte: I never claimed we ran an \'unemotional\' debate on uranium sales to India. That word never appears in my post. I made no claims of impartiality, in fact I said explicitly that our scholars argue energetically for their own points

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Stop the boats

We\'ve been getting inquiries from the media and the political world about yesterday\'s presentation by Dr Khalid Koser on Australia\'s unauthorised boat arrival problem, and for good reason. You can listen to the full presentation here. Koser is a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute 

India doesn't need Australian uranium for weapons

John Carlson is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute and the former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office. One of the objections to supplying uranium to India is that it will free up India\'s own uranium for its nuclear weapons program. This argument is

Great moments in cultural diplomacy

Australian faces (though not always our accents) are prominent in American film and television. But when they show up in our own region, it\'s worth noting, particularly if the face in question belongs to the Third Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Here\'s Adelle Neary performing on

Busan: A good result for Australia

As the last of the cleaners leave the Busan auditorium, which last week accommodated a record-breaking crowd of 3000 attending the fourth international high level forum on aid effectiveness, the big question being kicked around by development wonks now is, 'Was it worth it?' As I explained in

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