Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Denise Fisher

Denise Fisher is a Visiting Fellow at ANU's Centre for European Studies. Denise was an Australian diplomat for thirty years, serving in Australian diplomatic missions as a political and economic policy analyst in Rangoon, Nairobi, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Washington DC before being appointed Australian High Commissioner in Harare (1998-2001), accredited to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and Malawi; then Australian Consul-General in Noumea, New Caledonia (2001-2004). She is the author of France in the South Pacific: Power and Politics (2013).

Articles by Denise Fisher (30)

  • When the diplomatic tap was turned off

    In conjunction with the recent launch of the Lowy Institute's Global Diplomacy Index, we present a series of pieces on embassies and embassy experiences. There’s nothing like seeing what life is like without a fully functioning embassy to make you realise that embassies still matter.  They matter first and foremost because of the unique channel of communication between governments that they represent.
  • New Caledonia: Slow progress on defining its future

    The latest meeting of those charged with steering New Caledonia into its next stage of governance went some small way to resolving sensitive political issues but also demonstrated just how deep divisions run regarding the possibility of independence. The Committee of Signatories that met in Paris last week is the steering group of the Noumea Accord which, by building on previous Accords, has presided over 28 years of peace in New Caledonia.
  • France claims its place in the South Pacific

    With global attention on Paris this week for the Global Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP), France has hosted another event on the eve of that meeting which has regional signfiicance.  Convening the France-Oceanic Summit with Pacific Island leaders, French President Francois Hollande identified France as 'fully a country of the Pacific' through its territories there, and linked assistance with a call for full membership for its territories in the Pacific Island Forum.   After a hiatus of
  • Trouble in New Caledonia over links with China

    Nickel mine at Thio, Southern Province, New Caledonia Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images In August the economy of the nickel-rich French territory of New Caledonia ground to a halt as truck drivers set up barricades preventing movement at strategic points around the main island. The drivers called for new exports of raw nickel to China to save their jobs, after local authorities had sought to prevent exports beyond New Caledonia's existing customers Australia and Japan.
  • French elections reverberate in New Caledonia

        You might wonder whether the result of the recent second round of French departmental elections – with Nicolas Sarkozy taking credit for the UMP's win of 67 departments, trouncing Francois Hollande's Socialists, who got 34 – has anything to do with Australian regional interests. History has shown the destabilising effect that events in France can have on the French Pacific territories, our near neighbours, particularly New Caledonia just off the Queensland coast.
  • New Caledonia: Australia's benevolent disregard

    Imagine that the most senior leader of one of Australia's neighbours resigns suddenly during a visit by a minister. And that this follows an election where the winners cannot agree on allocating a key economic portfolio, a street protest where two policemen are shot and a boozy lunch where a senior political adviser is murdered. Now imagine that none of this is even mentioned in an Australian newspaper. Noumea, New Caledonia. (Flickr/lagrandeterre.)
  • Elections for the future of New Caledonia

    On Sunday 11 May elections were held in New Caledonia. They will have a big impact on the future of the French territory. These were the final elections under the 1998 Noumea Accord. This Accord, building on the 1988 Matignon Accords, put an end to bloodshed over demands for independence. They endorsed a democratically elected local Congress and postponed an independence vote to some time between 2014 and 2019.