Foreign Affairs

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While Julie Bishop stays on as foreign minister, domestic political calculations might be less of a factor in policy if the government can put dire opinion polls behind it. AAP/Lukas Coch

Can foreign policy be freed from populist politicking?

Australia will benefit if a Turnbull government pursues a foreign policy agenda attuned more to regional and global goals and developments, and less to domestic political challenges.
The Abbott government’s instinct on foreign policy is to approach it through the lens of domestic politics. AAP/Lukas Coch

Global pressures expose the limits of Australian foreign policy

The pressure the Abbott government faced over the Syrian refugee crisis hints at a broader trend. Global political dynamics are now exposing a credibility deficit in Australian foreign policy.
AAP/Ed Jones

Australia’s twin track diplomacy

It has become commonplace to observe that Australian policymakers face a major challenge trying to reconcile the strategic and economic aspects of foreign policy. But while we might have become used to…
A Chinese government image of soldiers on one of the built-up Spratly islands.

Exposing US hypocrisy on South China Sea island reclamation

The US is considering using warships and helicopters to pressure China into scaling back construction in the Spratly islands. But why is there one rule for China, and another for other nations?
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.
Australia’s ability to influence China will largely depend on how it engages with China’s complex and growing diplomatic machinery. Shutterstock

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy.
The emergence of China as a 21st-century superpower has already had profound impacts on Australia. As China reshapes the balance of power, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but globally, its influence…
Tony Negus with Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier in 2014. AAP/Alan Porritt

Former police chief gets plum diplomatic post

Tony Abbott is appointing the former chief of the Australian Federal Police, Tony Negus, as Australia’s new high commissioner…
In his first visit to Australia as prime minister, Narendra Modi emphasised the opportunities in improving ties with India. AAP/Lukas Coch

Shared values, common interests: Modi’s mantra in Australia

For the roughly 450,000 people of Indian origin in Australia, the highlight of Narendra Modi’s first visit as Prime Minister of India to Australia was his address at an Indian community reception in Sydney…
Media reporting on the costs of Australia’s Security Council bid has overlooked several significant issues. EPA/Andrew Gombert

Did aid ‘buy’ African votes for Australia’s Security Council seat?

In the lead-up to Australia’s election to the United Nations Security Council in 2012, much of the media focused on the costs and value of the campaign. In particular, it was claimed Australia “bought…
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…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann face a difficult sell for the Abbott government’s tough first budget. AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal budget 2014: political experts react

The Abbott government is hoping an A$11.6 billion infrastructure spending package, combined with a $20 billion medical research fund, will help soften the blow of widespread tightening of health and welfare…
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…
The comments from right-wing Zionist organisations in response to claims by Bob Carr that they exercise undue political influence actually tell us a great deal about their lobbying work. EPA/Abir Sultan

Broadening the context of Australia’s ‘Zionist lobby’

Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s recently released memoir, Diary of a Foreign Minister, discussed in-depth the influence of Melbourne branches of the so-called “Zionist lobby” over policymaking. Late…
Bob Carr ‘obviously revelled being back in the middle of the action’ in his 18 months as foreign minister, says former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans. AAP/Alan Porritt

Gareth Evans: ‘Bob learned early self-deprecation is for dummies’

Bob Carr took on the job of Australian foreign minister believing, as he doesn’t hesitate to tell us in his Diary of a Foreign Minister, that it was highly unlikely that he would be there for very long…
Signing a Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan was the highlight of Tony Abbott’s whirlwind northeast Asia trip, which also took in China and South Korea. EPA/Kimmasa Mayama

Abbott’s Asia trip comes off – for now

Prime minister Tony Abbott’s diplomatic and trade mission to northeast Asia can be hailed as a success. Overall, it met its main objectives. The trip has strengthened the already deepening relationship…

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