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Analysis and Comment (42)

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…
Bob Carr, pictured at the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, has set off a debate with his criticism of the pro-Israel lobby’s influence. EPA/Abir Sultan

Pro-Israel lobby stronger than it admits, weaker than Carr claims

Former foreign minister Bob Carr’s stunning claims about the pro-Israel lobby influence raise timely questions about its advocacy in Australian politics. What is the lobby Carr refers to? And how significant…
Achieving a free trade agreement with China would be a major achievement for the Abbott government given the obstacles currently in the way. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Japan and free trade create twin challenges for Abbott in China

Despite the misgivings of the sceptics, prime minister Tony Abbott’s high-profile, potentially high-risk trade mission to northeast Asia could be a triumph. The free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan is…
Tony Abbott will ink a free trade agreement with South Korea on his upcoming visit there as bilateral ties between the two nations continue to expand. AAP/Alan Porritt

Meeting in the middle: Australia and Korea in the Asia-Pacific

Australia and South Korea are separated by geography, history and culture, but have much in common. They are democracies; their economies are open to the world; and they are allies of the United States…
Tony Abbott has declared Japan, under prime minister Shinzo Abe, as Australia’s ‘best friend in Asia’. But this might come at a cost as Abbott seeks to close a FTA with China. EPA/Mast Irham

Abbott’s pursuit of Japan risks a free trade agreement with China

Prime minister Tony Abbott will be hoping the Japanese leg of his ambitious trade trip to northeast Asia can replicate the success of securing a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The close relations…
Rather than axing the Australia Network, the government should rethink our soft diplomacy strategy in spreading Australia’s message to countries such as Indonesia. EPA/Adi Weda

Lost in transmission: the Australia Network, soft power and diplomacy

According to reports, the Abbott government is considering scrapping the ABC’s Australia Network in the May budget to save money, ending its role in “soft diplomacy” efforts in the Asia-Pacific region…
Defence advocates are arguing that military spending should be increased to an arbitrary target of 2% of GDP. But should it actually be cut? AAP/Department of Defence

What is the right level of defence spending for Australia?

Some aspects of foreign policy are as important to big business as the rest of the population in relation to national security. Australians generally want to avoid war, so substantial capacity for preventive…
Reports from Jakarta suggest Indonesia may be moving to review all aspects of its relationship to Australia. EPA/Adi Weda

Australia-Indonesia spy standoff more than just ‘gestural’ politics

The revelations that Australia was spying on its “best friends” in Indonesia have rocked Indonesia-Australia relations. Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has withdrawn the country’s ambassador…
Who holds the upper hand in the Australia-Indonesia relationship? The power may be shifting Indonesia’s way if recent events are anything to go by. EPA/Romeo Gacao

Stretching the friendship: Australia, Indonesia and the ‘good friend’ narrative

How far can friendships stretch? Two months ago, the rhetoric of the Indonesian and Australian governments was centred on the countries being good friends. Until last week, from the Indonesian perspective…
Indonesia foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has criticised Australia over allegations of spying, but will it actually adversely reflect our relationship? EPA/Bagus Indahono

Spying ‘scandal’: another challenge to the Australia-Indonesia relationship?

For anyone interested in Australia-Indonesia relations, nothing so characterises the phenomenon as a car on a roller-coaster. Any rise is followed inevitably by a fall. The ride is never boring, and in…
Australia sends more foreign fighters to Syria than any other western nation - including suspected suicide bomber ‘Abu Asma al-Australi’. What problems does this pose? Twitter/@AbuSiqr

Is it a problem that Australia sends the most foreign fighters to Syria?

A married Queenslander using the nom de guerre “Abu Asma al-Australi” featured as a suicide bomber in a promotional video released by the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jahbat al-Nusra earlier this month. He…
Increased levels of Australian aid to Africa demonstrates the positive effects aid can have on a region. EPA/Kate Holt

Why is Australian foreign aid so important?

For politicians subject to democratic accountability in today’s media-soaked world, two issues are particularly difficult to deal with. One is the future and the other is global development. More often…
Should new prime minister Tony Abbott make his first impression on a world stage with a trip to the UN for Leaders' Week? AAP/Andrew Gombert

New York is Jakarta: why Tony Abbott should attend Leaders’ Week at the UN

Foreign minister Julie Bishop’s austerity announcements over the weekend make it clear that she will attend Leaders' Week at the United Nations later this month. But it is still not clear whether Australia’s…
West Papuan refugee Amos Wainggai is on board the Freedom Flotilla, headed for Papuan shores from Australia. What will it mean for our relations with Indonesia? AAP/Cleo Mary Fraser

What will the West Papua flotilla mean for Australia-Indonesia relations?

Given the extreme sensitivity with which the issue of West Papua is viewed in Indonesia, the “Freedom Flotilla” heading from Australia to the Indonesian-controlled territory is sure to create tension…
It’s smart of Abbott to prioritise Australia’s relationship with Indonesia but can he leave his ‘Anglosphere’ past behind? EPA/Adi Weda

‘Anglosphere’ or regional friend? Abbott’s foreign policy future

Many foreign policy observers are apprehensive about the election of Tony Abbott. A key concern is that his government may be liberal in name only and that we may see a return to the sorts of policies…
No matter who wins the federal election on Saturday, they will need to look beyond just the challenges at home in their term in office. AAP/Auspic

Election 2013 Essays: Australia and the world

Election 2013 Essays: As the federal election campaign draws to a close, The Conversation asked eminent thinkers to reflect on the state of the nation and the challenges Australia - and whichever party…
Whoever wins the federal election on Saturday will also be able to serve as president of the UN Security Council during Australia’s month-long stint. EPA/Peter Foley

This Saturday, Australians will finally elect a president

Australia is now President of the United Nations Security Council. Throughout September, Australia will set the council’s agenda and chair its meetings. But what will this Saturday’s federal election result…
Australia holds the Presidency of the UN Security Council throughout September. The Syrian crisis is sure to provide an immense challenge during this tenure. EPA/STR

Will Australia make the most of its Security Council presidency?

As the federal election calls Australian attention to matters domestic, our diplomats are preparing for one of their most demanding briefs. On September 1, Australia becomes President of the United Nations…
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…
Australia’s foreign aid commitments play an integral role in the nation’s ‘soft power’ and regional security. Marion Doss

Why soft power is so hard: the impact of aid cuts on regional security

Amidst the controversy over Julie Bishop’s Guardian interview earlier this week, many of the interesting facts about foreign policy under a putative Coalition government were lost. Notably, the opposition’s…
There are reports of up to 200 Australians joining up to fight with Syrian rebel groups like Jabhat al-Nusra, which may pose a threat to security at home. Jabhat al-Nusra

Australians fighting in Syria: what is the threat at home?

The Syrian insurgent group Jabhat al-Nusra’s recent pledge of allegiance to al-Qaeda, alongside reports of Australians fighting in the insurgency, highlights a security threat to Australia. According to…
Campaigners say the Australian government should take a stronger stance against Chinese occupation and human rights abuse in Tibet. EPA/Narendra Shrestha

Self-immolation and human rights: why we need to talk about Tibet

In the past week, the number of Tibetan self-immolations in protest against the Chinese occupation has risen to 111 since 2009. Despite the increasing numbers of Tibetans self-immolating and general unrest…
Australia has won a seat at the table; but how much is it actually worth? EPA/Andrew Gombert

A misunderstood victory: Australia and the security council

It took a herculean effort, a lot of lobbying and much cash, but Australia has now, with a certain degree of surprise, netted a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for two years, starting in…
Part of the Kuta tourist strip that was destroyed by the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people - including 88 Australians - were killed. AAP/Dean Lewins

Remembering the Bali bombings ten years on

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings. Although more than 120 Australian civilians have been killed by terrorists overseas since 2000, and the embassies in Jakarta, Iraq and Phnom…
The coalition needs to tread more lightly when it comes to Indonesia. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Attention Tony Abbott: Indonesia wants collaboration, not confrontation

In his budget reply speech last week, opposition leader Tony Abbott said Indonesia was to be a “vital partner in Australia’s future”. He’s right, and for now, at the government-to-government level, Australia-Indonesia…
The Australian government faces a difficult task in balancing relationships with China and the US. EPA/Minoru Iwasaki/Pool

What the Huawei case tells us about the Australia, US, China nexus

The recommendation by intelligence agency ASIO that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei be banned from tendering in the National Broadband Network because of cyber security concerns, raises serious…
Despite President Barack Obama’s charms, Australia must focus on China. AAP Image/ Scott Barbour

The US or China? Australia can’t afford to make mistakes

Australia’s recent fleeting love affair with President Barack Obama notwithstanding, Australia’s future lies with China and the North, not the Pacific and the East. This is not simply a matter of economics…
Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest in November last year was a very significant step towards reform in Burma. EPA/Mizzima News

The world can do much more to help Burma change

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is cautious, but says we are seeing the first signs of change in Burma, but the government there still needs to do more for its people. He is correct in saying “It is in our…
A warm welcome for the President from Julia Gillard and the Governor General, but Australia should take care not to give too much away to the Americans. AAP/Stuart McEvoy.

Special relationship? Why Gillard needs to talk tough with Obama about US military base

It’s third time lucky for President Obama. He’s cancelled his trip to Australia twice before, but now he has finally made it to Canberra. Julia Gillard has struck up a friendship with the US President…
Australia would do better to shed light on Indian affairs. Media coverage of the country is dominated by corruption scandals, terrorism or cultural festivals like Diwali. EPA/Sanjeev Gupta

Connection with India vital to Australia’s future

CHOGM As Julia Gillard chairs the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Perth, she would do well to pay special attention to her Indian colleague at the table, Vice-President Hamid Ansari. Brian Stoddart…

Research and News (1)