Articles on Australian foreign affairs

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Tony Abbott’s visit to India will focus on the sale of uranium more so than a shared love of cricket. AAP

Abbott’s visit to take Australia-India relations beyond cricket

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott will visit India this week, his first trip to the country since Narendra Modi took office. On the agenda will be a range of issues important to India and Australia…
Does Tony Abbott’s justification for Australian involvement in Iraq amount to a legal basis for our commitment? AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is legal – for now

The humanitarian missions by the Royal Australian Air Force in Iraq are in accordance with international law, despite a confusing statement by Iraq’s ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh. But continued…
The real issue in the Australia-Indonesia relationship is not what SBY has just done, but rather what incoming president Joko Widodo will do. EPA/Tanaya Pramudita Raras

Spying pact is SBY’s last foreign policy gasp – now for Jokowi

It’s not a good sign when parties cannot even agree on what they have just put their signatures to. On Thursday, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa…
The signing of the code of conduct closes the rift between Australia and Indonesia over spying. AAP/Office of the Foreign Minister

Intelligence code of conduct saves face for SBY with added benefits

Australia and Indonesia have agreed on a code of conduct on intelligence co-operation, with Australia pledging never to use its spy agencies in ways that could harm Indonesia’s interests. Today’s signing…
Tony Abbott’s responses to Indonesian concerns about spying suggested a weak understanding of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s different cultural milieu. EPA/Tanaya Pramudita

Cultural intelligence key to future of Australia-Indonesia relationship

The official result in Indonesia’s presidential election contest between Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto is still some days away, with both claiming victory. But no matter who the next president is, there…
With coups in Thailand and troubles elsewhere, Australia exists in a fragile regional environment where it is expected to play a leading role in peacemaking. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Peacemaking should be at the core of Australian foreign policy

Australia’s neighbourhood is currently a hotbed of fragility and conflict, with tensions in the South China Sea, a military coup in Thailand and civil rights abuses against Rohingya in Myanmar. But to…
The Australian government has unquestioningly embraced Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s nationalistic defence policies. EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Abe’s Australia visit comes in the wake of constitutional controversy

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe will today address a joint sitting of the Australian parliament as part of his tour of Oceania. This rare honour comes in the wake of his cabinet’s controversial decision…
Shinzo Abo’s visit to Australia this week, three months after Tony Abbott visited Tokyo, comes at a time of alarm in Asia about a shift in Japan’s defence policy. EPA/Franck Robichon

Japan and Australia join forces in Asia’s Brave New World

In his second stint as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe seems in a hurry. His sudden fall from power in 2007 has left him with a strong sense of the need to get things done quickly. He has embarked on…
There is scant evidence that ‘aid for trade’ programs have any impact on lifting the poorest people globally out of poverty. EPA/Yahya Arhab

Does ‘aid for trade’ really help reduce poverty?

Even before assuming office, foreign minister Julie Bishop was clear on the Coalition’s approach to foreign aid: “aid for trade” was touted as the primary strategy of the Coalition’s aid program. Last…
Until George Brandis’ comments last week, Australia’s position has been to recognise East Jerusalem as ‘occupied by Israel’. AAP/Alan Porritt

Brandis out of step with international consensus on East Jerusalem

Under questioning at a Senate estimates hearing, federal attorney-general George Brandis revealed that the Abbott government does not consider East Jerusalem to be “occupied”. Brandis later put out a statement…
Malcolm Fraser’s new book, Dangerous Allies, is one of the most original and timely contributions to Australia’s foreign policy debate, which tends to be sterile and predictable. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

Book review: Dangerous Allies by Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser occupies a rather unique place in Australia as someone who has, at different times, managed to incense both ends of the political spectrum. If nothing else this is indicative of someone…
Australia’s new foreign aid priorities and level of funding suggests we are now failing in our moral obligation to help the most vulnerable overseas. AAP/Department of Defence

Budget exploits our indifference to the suffering of foreigners

While the Abbott government’s first budget has been widely criticised for its aggressive cost-cutting measures, the largest single reduction – a A$7.6 billion cut to Australia’s Official Development Assistance…
Australia under the Abbott government has so far been treated to a succession of foreign policy gaffes, including with Indonesia. EPA/Adi Weda

The state of Australia: our international standing

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may have been Australia’s ‘best friend’ in southeast Asia, but not any more. EPA/Adi Weda

Abbott spurning Indonesia’s invite confirms relationship troubles

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision not to accept Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s invitation to meet at the Open Government Partnership forum Yudhoyono is chairing in Bali…
The world – including Australia, home to a large South Sudanese diaspora – is watching the spiralling violence and humanitarian crisis in the country with concern, worry and dread. EPA/George Mindruta

Peace efforts in South Sudan: could Australia play a bigger role?

The recent civil conflict in South Sudan, which has led to the deaths and injury of thousands of people, rising tension between tribal groups and political instability, might at first instance appear far…
What has the international response been to China establishing an Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea? EPA/Hiroya Shimoji

China’s ADIZ and Australia’s commitment to America’s Asian order

Last week, China announced the creation of a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, encompassing the disputed Senkaku Islands. The move has significantly escalated tensions…
Tony Abbott’s interview with the Washington Post has revived Abbott’s problem of loose lips - but this time, it’s on the international stage. AAP/Matthew Newton

Abbott’s belligerence: putting in the boot or kicking himself?

The words won’t rank with the oratorical flourishes of great leaders but I can’t remember Churchill or Roosevelt describing anybody as “wacko”. When prime minister Tony Abbott uttered this word in an interview…
The UN Security Council’s sanctions regime processes are in need of reform. Can Australia make any effective changes during its presidency of the Security Council? EPA/Justin Lane

Security Council sanctions: can Australia make a difference?

For the United Nations Security Council, sanctions are an important instrument in addressing threats to international peace and security. They usually take the form of controls and bans on travel, trade…
Crisis talks: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, September 2009.

FactCheck: did Kevin Rudd help create the G20?

“I think people are all excited about the fact that when the G20 is hosted in Australia next year, the G20 Finance [Ministers] will be meeting here in Cairns in far north Queensland… of course, that exists…

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