Wednesday 30 Sep 2020 | 06:37 | SYDNEY
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Australian Diplomacy

Devaluing DFAT

The launch of the 2020 Defence Strategic Outlook prompted some observers to argue that Australia should boost the firepower of its diplomacy as well as its defence force. They reminded us that DFAT’s budget for diplomacy had been shrinking for decades, a trend documented in other assessments. Then

How is an advanced Australia faring in the Asian century?

China’s barley tariffs have thrust the challenges of trade into the headlines with a prominence rarely seen in the popular Australian media. Although a crucial basis of national prosperity, the “trade” side of Australia’s international engagement has seemingly always had a lower profile than

Notes on representing Australia in Papua New Guinea

Jon Philp, who commenced as Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea early this month, is the 16th to serve as Australia’s lead diplomatic representative in Port Moresby. I know from experience that the role is unlike any other in the Australian foreign service. The incumbent has the

On China, principles vs pragmatism

The escalating protests in Hong Kong, the detention of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun on trumped-up charges, and the appalling treatment of ethnic Uighurs have resulted in renewed calls and pressure on Australia to act on human rights issues with China. While this is noble, human rights

From fill-in to full-time Foreign Minister

On Sunday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Marise Payne will be Minister for Foreign Affairs in his post-election cabinet. Selected to take over the portfolio last year after Julie Bishop’s resignation (and reportedly at her recommendation), Marise Payne had just eight months in the

Australian energy diplomacy

Successive federal governments have declared Australia to be an “energy superpower”. The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper is the most recent example, highlighting the size of Australia’s exports of coal and liquefied natural gas. Yet Australian foreign policy has often overlooked energy

Is there a model Human Rights Council member?

Australia was not the only country to waltz onto the UN Human Rights Council last week with only cursory scrutiny of its human rights record. In fact, most of the Council’s current and incoming members have failed in some way to live up to the 'highest standards in the promotion and protection

Using economic diplomacy to reduce financial risks in Asia

If Australia’s economic future lies in Asia, then managing the risk of financial crises in the region should be a top concern. Especially as any crisis could also have significant geopolitical consequences. In an analysis for the Lowy Institute, Barry Sterland looks at what Australia can do

Digital diplomacy’s downsides

It was only a few years ago that e-diplomacy was being heralded as an unalloyed force for good. This 21st Century form of statecraft would bring transparency and openness to the closeted world of international affairs. Governments that colonised the internet would come to enjoy a strategic edge,

Can economic and security analysts find a lingua franca?

This post is part of a debate on Australia’s foreign policy White paper 2017. Click here for other debate posts. When Foreign Minister Julie Bishop put economic diplomacy at the centre of Australian international relations in 2014, I suggested this might just be a canny way for a globe-trotting

Seeking clarity in Australian foreign policy

In August, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Turnbull Government would produce a new foreign policy white paper. The Minister described it as a 'philosophical framework to guide Australia's engagement, regardless of international events'. The world is changing so fast it is

Digital diplomacy @DFAT

A week ago Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched its first digital media strategy and accompanying blog. It's about time. Digital diplomacy is expanding, the pace of change is picking up, and DFAT - which spent two years developing this strategy - is late to the party. The

Embassies can shape policy

In conjunction with this week's launch of the Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index, we present a series of pieces on the role and continued relevance of embassies. Embassies — and their derivatives, high commissions and consulates — are significant instruments of government, and as for

Turnbull in Jakarta: Relationship reheat

Malcolm Turnbull's visit to Jakarta this week did not signal any drastic changes for the direction of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, but it did leave relations considerably warmer than before. So warm, in fact, that both the prime minister and his Indonesian counterpart were forced to remove

DFAT: Not perfect, but in our national interest

A few days ago a suggestion was made on Crikey that DFAT, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, should be scrapped. I was tempted to ignore it, because as far as I can tell, the author, Jason Murphy, based his call largely on the fact that he just doesn't like free trade agreements

UN Security Council bid: How Australia should sell itself

It's leaders' week at the UN. The 70th Session of the General Assembly is open for business under the Presidency of Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark. General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon is presiding over his penultimate session; next year he will be replaced by an 'Eastern European woman,' if Russia's

Australia makes another tilt at the UN Security Council

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just announced that Australia will bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30. That's 15 years from the end of our last Security Council seat (2013-14). But it compares against the 27 years between our fourth and fifth outings at the Security Council.

Turnbull's new cabinet is great news for the Pacific

On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government. Steven Ciobo

Australia-South Korea 2+2 delivers ambitious agenda

One week ago – a long time in politics – the South Korean and Australian foreign and defence ministers held a '2-2' meeting in Sydney. This high-level biennial conclave for the first time included a detailed Blueprint for progressing the bilateral defence and security partnership. That the

Reader riposte: Australia-India nuclear deal

By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of

Australia's foreign policy and refugee resettlement

Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the

Meet Julie Bishop's 'text buddy', Retno Marsudi

The relationship between Australia and Indonesia's Foreign Ministers has progressed to 'text buddies', according to Julie Bishop's assessment of the thawing relations between the two countries. Bishop held 'warm and constructive' talks with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, over breakfast

Australia–Papua New Guinea relations: Could do better

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Papua New Guinea: Keep calm and muddle through?

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact

Greste, the West and 'the republic of darkness'

Over the weekend an Egypt court found Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty on charges of operating in Egypt without a press licence and of ‘spreading false news’. Greste and Fahmy were given sentences of three years in prison; Mohamed was given three years

Address by Peter Varghese AO - An Australian world view: A practitioner's perspective

On 20 August 2015, the Lowy Institute hosted an address from Peter Varghese AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Varghese presented his perspective on key themes in Australia’s Foreign Policy

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