Wednesday 22 May 2019 | 11:46 | SYDNEY
What's happening on

What NAFTA renegotiation means for Australia

It was always part of the Trump agenda to do something about the North American Free Trade Agreement (‘one of the worst deals ever’) covering the US, Canada and Mexico: the outcome is renegotiation rather than the threatened termination. The Office of the United State Trade Representative has

A Home Affairs Ministry: Details to follow

While responses to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement on 18 July about the creation in 2018 of a Home Affairs Ministry ranged widely, the fact is that the decision has been made. But the announcement was short on detail and unclear in some areas, and the challenge now is to understand

India-Australia relations: Getting over the Quad blues

Last week the Indian warships INS Kamorta, INS Shivalik and INS Jyoti arrived in Western Australia’s port city of Fremantle to participate in a bilateral exercise. The military drills came close on the heels of a controversial decision by New Delhi to reject Canberra’s request for observer

Back in focus: The United Nations Command in South Korea

Following his recent speech at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis was asked a question about North Korea. This excerpt from his answer should be of interest to Australians, among others: We obviously work very, very closely with the United Nations Command.

Belt and Road PPPs: Opportunities and pitfalls

China’s push for the new normal has seen its local governments convert to public-private partnerships (PPPs), long-term contracts between a private party and government to provide a public asset or service. More than 12,000 such projects worth around US$2 trillion have kicked off since public

Four Corners sees the Party-state in all the shadows

Last night ABC TV aired a Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation into China’s power and influence in Australia that promised to uncover 'how China's Communist Party is secretly infiltrating Australia'. The program traced the stories of various individuals and their ties to China and concluded we

When will Australia acknowledge a changed America?

Since the election of Donald Trump, a great deal of faith  – naturally enough – has been put in the very occurrence of encounters that Australian ministers and prime ministers have had with their American counterparts. Whether it be introductory calls that both Ministers Bishop and Payne

AUSMIN: For the US, a refreshingly ‘normal’ meeting

The Australia-US Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN) on Monday was noteworthy for how normal it was. The meeting stood in stark contrast to the recent NATO Summit, where President Trump managed to raise more questions about the American commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance than he answered. In

Incident at Three Pagodas Pass

After decades of strained bilateral relations, Australia’s defence ties with Myanmar are gradually being restored. The office of the Defence Attache (DA) in the Australian embassy in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), which closed in 1979, was reopened in 2014. This coincided with a port visit by HMAS

Australian refugee policy: Twists in the tale

On the airwaves this week, Australia’s Immigration Minister Peter Dutton continues to describe asylum seekers who are yet to submit their protection applications as 'fake refugees'. The Minister’s comments ignore the fact that government policy actually prevented these 7500 people from applying

Australia, Vietnam, the diaspora and generational change

Australia's Vietnamese diaspora is a remarkable element in the fast-evolving relationship between the two countries. Hanoi and Canberra are both doing what they can to help Australian Vietnamese to forge and strengthen links that can pay enormous dividends in trade and tourism. This latest chapter

Book review: PNG, Australia’s Northern Shield?

Given the general gloom that seems to dominate contemporary Australian perceptions about Papua New Guinea’s ability to govern itself, it is refreshing to learn how mournfully doubtful successive Australian Cabinets in the late 1960s through to PNG’s independence in 1975 were about our former

Onus on Turnbull to remember Sri Lanka’s Victims

This week, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is visiting Australia. Besides growing economic cooperation, apparently 'enhanced cooperation on development and sport' between the two nations is on the agenda. But let’s hope that beyond friendly cricket matches, Prime Minister Malcolm

For Australians, is PNG a partner or an obligation?

Papua New Guinea will commemorate 40 years of independence from Australia this year. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is using the anniversary to promote the changing nature of Australia's relationship with PNG. In a speech earlier this week she said:   There are challenges and

Lowy poll shows that values matter in foreign policy

The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll reveals a great deal about Australian attitudes towards China, both in terms of our bilateral relationship, but also how China fits into our broader sense of economic and political security alongside other actors such as the US. It would appear that values and ideals

The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll: What does it all mean?

The 2015 Lowy Institute Poll was released this morning. It's the eleventh annual Lowy Institute Poll. It goes without saying that every year there are some fascinating results which shine a light on how Australians feel about critical foreign policy issues. With our established tracking questions

Data retention scheme has majority support from Australians

New Lowy Institute polling released today shows that the Australian Government's data retention ('metadata') laws, which passed the parliament last night, have the support of a clear majority of Australians. When asked whether 'legislation which will require Australian telecommunications companies

Australians shifting on climate change

A month ago my colleague John Connor wrote an op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald welcoming the fact that for the first time in years, climate change was a major story coming out of the Lowy Institute's poll of public attitudes to international affairs. Expectation for leadership on the issue was up

Young Australians talk about the value of democracy

Since Fergus Hanson first polled Australians on the value of democracy in the 2012 Lowy Institute Poll, our findings about how Australians, particularly young Australians, view democracy have variously provoked astonishment, bewilderment, disbelief, worry and frustration. Our 2014 Poll, released

Can women lead? Australians think so

Comments by Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard this week have invigorated the debate on women and leadership. Clinton's recently released book Hard Choices made news in Australia for the condemnation of the 'outrageous sexism' experienced by Gillard. In response, the former Australian prime

How the Lowy Institute Poll works

In conjunction with the release of the 2014 Lowy Institute Poll, Lowy Institute Poll Director Alex Oliver has recorded a podcast which explains the methodology used in the survey. Alex speaks  with Sol Lebovic, who has provided independent advice and technical support to the Lowy Institute over

A larger Australia? Sure, but for what, exactly?

I'm going to focus on one aspect of Michael Fullilove's National Press Club address, neatly summarised in his conclusion: Australia has a choice. Do we want to be a little nation, with a small population, a restricted diplomatic network, a modest defence force, and a cramped vision of our future

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