Articles on Australian foreign affairs

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Indonesia is the neighbour that makes Australians feel uneasy but also want to get on with. shutterstock

How can we fix Australia’s Indonesia anxiety?

The annual Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth (CAUSINDY) to be held in Bali this week is an initiative that can help change negative attitudes towards Indonesia.
Malcolm Turnbull campaigned on promises of a stable government – but given the Coalition’s slim victory, this may not be possible. Paul Miller/AAP

Views from abroad: how does the world see Australia’s political instability?

To understand how Australia's political uncertainty is being seen elsewhere, we reconvened our panel of experts from the UK, US, Indonesia and NZ to respond to the election results.
AAP/Mick Tsikas

What is Turnbull’s take on foreign policy?

For anyone who has been following Malcolm Turnbull’s progress as prime minister, his much-anticipated speech to the Lowy Institute contained few real surprises, other that the fact that it was inevitably…
Defence diplomacy will not substantially transform the overall picture of Asia’s ongoing political cleavages. AAP

The 2016 white paper must get it right on defence diplomacy

The coming defence white paper presents an opening for the Turnbull government to place its stamp on national security priorities and to align planning and policy settings with its strategic vision.
Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull’s predecessor as prime minister, enjoyed a close relationship with his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe. AAP/Ian Waldie

Turnbull aims to retain ‘closest friend’ tag in first Japan visit

Australia looks set to continue to confront its core foreign policy dilemma: balancing relations between its largest trading partner, China, and its key security partners, the US and Japan.
Australia’s traditional reliance on multilateralism and alliances won’t be enough to negotiate the geopolitical rivalries of the Asian century. EPA/Barbara Walton

In Australia’s third century after European settlement, we must rethink our responses to a new world

For the past two centuries, Australia got many of the big calls on global engagement right. In our third century, there are worrying signs that we have not fully grasped what the rise of Asia means.
AAP/Ian Waldie

The ANZUS ascendancy (continued)

What J.K. Galbraith famously called the conventional wisdom is a powerful thing to behold. There are few better local examples than the belief that the military alliance with the US is vital for the security…
AAP/Dean Lewins

Being a good international citizen

With the possible exception of North Korea, there aren’t too many countries that don’t like to think of themselves as “good international citizens”. For states such as Australia, it’s ostensibly one of…
One of four koalas on loan to Singapore Zoo, where they were unveiled to the public on Wednesday May 20. Qantas Airways

Koalas, platypuses and pandas and the power of soft diplomacy

Four female koalas have just made their debut in front of an adoring public at Singapore Zoo – the latest in a long line of animals used for diplomatic purposes, going back to Winston the platypus.
Australian aid can make a difference to the lives of millions – but there are few votes and little media interest in it, so it’s an easy target for budget cuts. John Bransby/Department of Foreign Affairs

A fair budget? Not for the poor losing Australian aid in record cuts

Foreign aid will fall to close to 90 cents in every A$100 of federal government spending in the 2015 budget -- its lowest level ever.
Iranians, who celebrated in the streets of Tehran following this month’s nuclear agreement, are keen to rebuild relations with the West. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Julie Bishop can reach out to Iran now that confrontation has failed

By reaching out to Iran, Australia can help end a long stand-off with the West that prevented solutions to many of the world's most dangerous problems, including Syria's civil war and Islamic State.
Australian has moved swiftly to fly relief aid and personnel to Vanuatu but has been less responsive to Pacific Islanders’ pleas to act on climate change. AAP/Dave Hunt

Vanuatu disaster exposes limits of Australian internationalism

While Australia’s leaders express concern for the people of Vanuatu, the welfare of poor states is a commitment from which Australia is walking away.

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