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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…
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…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed to improve relations with Indonesia through a new studies centre based in Australia. EPA/ADI WEDA

New Indonesian studies centre to improve ties with our northern neighbour

As part of his first trip to Indonesia as prime minister, Tony Abbott yesterday announced the establishment of an Australian…

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