It is simply impossible to ignore China-related news stories in Australia this week, and so Allan and Darren do their best to grapple with the twin bombshell stories of a Chinese defector and asylum seeker, Wang “William” Liqiang, who claims to have information on the activities of Chinese intelligence, and a (now-deceased) individual, Nick Zhao, who reported to ASIO that he was approached to run for the Australian federal parliament. Along the way, a recent speech by former Prime Minister Paul Keating is brought into the conversation, as well as the denial of visas to two Australian parliamentarians to visit China. The episode finishes with an update on the situation in Hong Kong.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, and XC Chong also for research assistance and audio editing. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

60 Minutes, “Chinese spy spills secrets to expose Communist espionage”, 24 November 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdR-I35Ladk

Nick McKenzie, Paul Sakkal and Grace Tobin, “The moment a Chinese spy decided to defect to Australia”, The Age, 23 November 2019: https://www.theage.com.au/national/the-moment-a-chinese-spy-decided-to-defect-to-australia-20191122-p53d0x.html

“Chinese embassy says ‘self-proclaimed agent' Wang Liqiang is convicted fraudster”, ABC News, 24 November 2019: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-24/wang-liqiang-convicted-fraudster-says-chinese-embassy-canberra/11733102

Nick McKenzie, Paul Sakkal and Grace Tobin, “China tried to plant its candidate in Federal Parliament, authorities believe”, The Age, 24 November 2019: https://www.theage.com.au/national/china-tried-to-plant-its-candidate-in-federal-parliament-authorities-believe-20191122-p53d9x.html

“Statement from the Director-General of Security, Mike Burgess - response to reporting on foreign interference”, 24 November 2019: https://www.asio.gov.au/statement-director-general-security-mike-burgess-response-reporting-foreign-interference.html 

Paul Keating, “Speech delivered at the Australian Strategic Forum”, 18 November 2019: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/18/paul-keatings-speech-on-australias-china-policy-full-text

Dewey Sim, “Hong Kong protesters’ five demands meant to ‘humiliate’ government, won’t solve city’s issues: Singapore PM”, South China Morning Post, 17 October 2019: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3033279/hong-kong-protesters-five-demands-meant-humiliate-government

John Hawley, “Senator Hawley Delivers Floor Speech in Support of Hong Kong”, 23 October 2019: https://www.hawley.senate.gov/senator-hawley-delivers-floor-speech-support-hong-kong

Eryk Bagshaw, “Hong Kong's use of emergency law sparks warning from Payne”, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 October 2019: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/authorities-risk-inflaming-a-delicate-situation-in-hong-kong-20191006-p52y3g.html

Senator Marise Payne, “Statement on Hong Kong”, 14 November 2019: https://www.foreignminister.gov.au/minister/marise-payne/media-release/statement-hong-kong

Scott Morrison, “Radio interview with Neil Mitchell – 3AW”, 22 November 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/radio-interview-neil-mitchell-3aw-2

Anthony Galloway, “Marise Payne welcomes Hong Kong elections results”, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 Novembet 2019: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/marise-payne-welcomes-hong-kong-elections-results-20191128-p53exv.html

Mick Herron, Slough House Series (Goodreads page): https://www.goodreads.com/series/101326-slough-house

China Neican newsletter: https://neican.substack.com/p/welcome-to-china-neican

Allan and Darren kick off this week’s episode by covering a bad week for the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy at the ASEAN and East Asia Summit meetings in Bangkok. Meanwhile Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds delivered a constructive speech in Washington DC setting out a vision for precisely what the United States ought to be doing. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement appears set to become a reality, albeit without the participation of India. Staying with India, it is reported that former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell will become Australia’s next High Commissioner.

In a speech in Sydney last week, Foreign Minister Marise Payne raised the plight of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang while discussing the threats posed by technology to human rights, and Beijing was not pleased; is any criticism of China’s human rights record compatible with a working bilateral relationship? Finally, the two catch up on the news from northern Syria, with Darren asking whether the Trump administration’s withdrawal of troops and abandonment of the Kurds will cause long term problems for America’s credibility.

We invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj 

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, and XC Chong for research assistance. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Aaron Connelly on the ASEAN Meetings (twitter): https://twitter.com/ConnellyAL/status/1191639856268509185

Linda Reynolds, “Keynote Address, Hudson Institute, Washington DC”, 2 November 2019: https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/lreynolds/transcripts/keynote-address-hudson-institute-washington-dc

Ben Doherty, “Australia to join major Asia-Pacific trade deal RCEP but India holds out”, The Guardian, 4 November 2019: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/05/australia-to-join-major-asia-pacific-trade-deal-rcep-but-india-holds-out 

Joe Aston, “Barry O’Farrell to be Australia’s next ambassador to India”, Australian Financial Review, 3 November 2019: www.afr.com/brand/rear-window/barry-o-farrell-to-be-australia-s-next-ambassador-to-india-20191103-p536yl?btis

Marise Payne, “Ensuring security, enabling prosperity”, Speech at the United States Studies Centre, 29 October 2019: https://foreignminister.gov.au/speeches/Pages/2019/mp_sp_191029.aspx

“Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 30, 2019”: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1712002.shtml

Allan Gyngell, “From the bookshelf: ‘Meeting Saddam’s men: looking for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction’”, ASPI Strategist, 6 November 2019: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/from-the-bookshelf-meeting-saddams-men-looking-for-iraqs-weapons-of-mass-destruction/

Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, “Stop trying to raise successful kids”, The Atlantic, Decemer 2019: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/stop-trying-to-raise-successful-kids/600751/

The Ezra Klein Show, “The loneliness epidemic (Vivek Murthy)”, 10 October 2019: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/vox/the-ezra-klein-show/e/64496902

On this week’s episode, Allan and Darren look to have a broader discussion about China, anchoring the conversation around Allan’s recent article in Australian Foreign Affairs, “History hasn’t ended: How to handle China”. On the larger and longer term questions surrounding the Australia-China relationship, Allan argues that Australia indeed has an effective but under-appreciated way of approaching China, to weigh up interests and values and use those interests and values as stakes in our relationship with the PRC: foreign policy. Attempting to avoid the risk of engaging in what Prime Minister Morrison would term “over-analysis”, Allan and Darren discuss whether China is “different” to other great powers, if commentators are “overexcited” when it comes to China and what, if anything, the Australian government needs to do differently. Recorded on 21 October 2019, Allan and Darren also continue their recent history of disagreements in a discussion about free speech, China and the National Basketball Association.

We invite our listeners to email us: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, XC Chong for research assistance, and Martyn Pearce for technical support in studio. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant Links

Allan Gyngell, “History hasn’t ended: How to handle China” in the October 2019 issue of Australian Foreign Affairs: https://www.australianforeignaffairs.com/essay/2019/10/china-dependence

Roland Rajah, Alexandre Dayant, Jonathan Pryke, “Ocean of debt? Belt and Road and debt diplomacy in the Pacific”, Lowy Institute Analysis, 21 October 2019: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/ocean-debt-belt-and-road-and-debt-diplomacy-pacific

Adam Gopnik, “A thousand small sanities”, publisher page: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/adam-gopnik/a-thousand-small-sanities/9781541699366/

Yesterday (film), IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8079248/

Allan and Darren attempt their first “emergency” episode, recorded on Friday 4 October, the day after Prime Minister Morrison delivered the 2019 Lowy Lecture at the Sydney Town Hall. The conversation is structured around a commentary Allan wrote for the Lowy Interpreter that same day, in which he argues that the speech “marked a clear step away from the sort of Australian foreign policy articulated in the government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper and towards the worldview of Trumpism and Brexit”. Darren, in contrast, found a lot more than Allan to like in the speech, and explains why he saw evidence of a clear theory of the political causes behind the crisis afflicting the rules-based order. This is probably the most significant disagreement Allan and Darren have had in the history of the podcast, which makes for a lively conversation!

We invite our listeners to email us at australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj 

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing and XC Chong for research assistance. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Scott Morrison, “In our interest”, 2019 Lowy Lecture, Sydney Town Hall, 3 October 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/speech-lowy-lecture-our-interest

Allan Gyngell, “Scott Morrison strikes an anxious and inward-looking tone”, Lowy Interpreter, 4 October 2019: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/scott-morrison-lowy-lecture

Scott Morrison, Speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 23 September 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/chicago-council-global-affairs

Nick Bisley, “‘An ally for all the years to come’: why Australia is not a conflicted US ally”, Australian Journal of International Affairs 67(4) (2013): 403-418: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10357718.2013.803029

Tony Abbott, “Remarks at G20 Leaders’ Retreat”, Brisbane, 15 November 2014: https://pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/release/transcript-23959

In this special episode, Allan and Darren interview two of Australia’s currently serving ambassadors: Rod Brazier, High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, and Sara Moriarty, High Commissioner to Samoa. As Allan notes in his welcome, the podcast to date has not focused as much on “the role of the overseas network of Australian diplomatic posts, which provide the essential diplomatic transmission belt between Canberra and the world; articulating and advocating for Australian views and interests on the one hand, and interpreting and analysing the overseas country and its leadership for Canberra on the other”.

In a conversation recorded on 11 September 2019, Rod and Sara offer fascinating insight into the countries to which they are accredited, the strategic landscape in the region, and their roles as Heads of Mission in representing Australia. How do these countries see the world, and their place in it? How does Prime Minister Morrison’s concept of “family” diplomacy translate into diplomatic practice? Other topics covered include China growing presence, climate change, the recently commenced Pacific Labour Scheme, and digital diplomacy.

We invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, XC Chong for research assistance, and Martyn Pearce for technical support. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Roderick Brazier’s biography: https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-people/homs/Pages/high-commissioner-to-solomon-islands.aspx

Sara Moriarty’s biography: https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-people/homs/Pages/high-commissioner-to-samoa.aspx

On this week’s episode, Allan and Darren focus on Prime Minister Morrison’s official state visit to the United States this past week and his meetings with Donald Trump at the White House. What is a “state visit”, what could the PM hope to achieve, and what landmines did he need to dodge? In light of a rather extraordinary press conference in the Oval Office, how did Morrison perform overall? And who is Australia’s chief diplomat: the PM or the Foreign Minister? The conversation then turns to Iran and reports that three Australians are imprisoned, as well as the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities and what this means for Australia’s energy security. The episode concludes by covering the Fijian PM’s recent visit to Canberra and, in the week of the global climate strike and a UN climate summit in New York, how Australia’s position on climate change issues affects our multilateral diplomacy.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj 

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, and XC Chong for research assistance. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Trump holds bilateral meeting with Australian PM in Oval Office (video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leyogCcxEX4

Daniel Flitton, “Trump, Morrison, the media, and heading what you want to hear”, Lowy Interpreter, 23 September 2019: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/trump-morrison-media-hearing-what-you-want-hear

Ben Doherty, “Australia left with few diplomatic levers after three citizens detained in Iran”, The Guardian, 12 September 2019: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/12/australia-left-with-few-diplomatic-levers-after-three-citizens-detained-in-iran

Andrew Robertson, “Australia's fuel supplies vulnerable if Middle East conflict cuts supply”, ABC News, 19 September: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-19/australia-remains-vulnerable-to-running-out-of-fuel/11527492

Julie Suares, “JB Chifley: An ardent internationalist”: https://www.mup.com.au/books/jb-chifley-hardback

Shany Mor, “Nobody understands democracy anymore”, Tablet Magazine, 13 August 2019: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/289489/nobody-understands-democracy-anymore 

Allan and Darren kick off this episode by discussing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent overseas trip. The PM’s first stop was Vietnam for a bilateral visit. Although China loomed over proceedings, it was never directly called out - does this matter? And is it significant that Australia is becoming "mates" with a country with very different political values? Next was France, where President Macron had invited Morrison to be an observer at the G7 leaders’ summit. Was this a big deal, and what did we learn from the summit overall? Moving on, Australia has formally announced its participation in the US-led maritime security mission in the Persian Gulf, and Darren wants to know if this is purely about alliance management. Fourth, the two discuss the difficult situation in Kashmir, and consider Australia’s neutral response. Finally, the government sent its largest ministerial delegation to PNG for some years. Darren asks Allan about the issues in providing foreign aid as direct budgetary assistance, and the general state of the bilateral relationship.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

We thank AIIA intern James Hayne for his help with research and audio editing, and XC Chong for research assistance. As always, we’re grateful to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Prime Minister of Australia, “Joint Statement Between Viet Nam and Australia”, Media Release, 23 August 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/joint-statement-between-viet-nam-and-australia

Prime Minister of Australia, “More Action to Prevent Online Terror”, Media Release, 26 August 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/more-action-prevent-online-terror

Prime Minister of Australia, “Australia Joins International Maritime Security Construct in the Gulf”, Media Release, 21 August 2019: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/australia-joins-international-maritime-security-construct-gulf

The Economist, “When India’s government abuses power, the media cheer”, 22 August 2019: https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/08/22/when-indias-government-abuses-power-the-media-cheer

“Kashmir issue should be resolved bilaterally: Australian High Commissioner”, ANI News, 30 August 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVIJgIXTZPY

The Wandering Earth (imdb page): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7605074/?ref_=nv_sr_2?ref_=nv_sr_2  

Kate Knibbs, “A Pre–‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ Lesson on the Manson Family”, The Ringer (note, spoiler free): https://www.theringer.com/movies/2019/7/24/20708506/once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-charles-manson-family-sharon-tate

In the final of our recent series of interviews recorded in July, we speak to Clare Walsh, Deputy Secretary for the Global Cooperation, Development and Partnerships Group with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Clare’s large portfolio covers Australia’s global engagement, in particular our multilateral diplomacy, foreign aid program and thematic issues as diverse as infrastructure, climate change and gender.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Clare begins the interview by explaining her background: how she went from working in local government in Western Australia early in her career to the highest-profile international issues today. Allan then asks Clare to give her assessment on how “shaky” the international order is at present, invoking his fixation with the US’ threatened withdrawal from the Universal Postal Union! Darren follows up by asking how Australia conducts diplomacy within the order: how do we convince others to work inside the order to reform it, rather than walking away, and how do we engage with countries on areas of mutual interest when we might have major disagreements on other issues? 

The conversation shifts to human rights and development. What does it mean to “take up” a human rights issue, what’s the multilateral / bilateral balance in Australian diplomacy, and how useful are the large multilateral forums like the Human Rights Council? Does Australia’s involvement in infrastructure programs represent a broadening of what “development” means in 2019 and what aid programs are asked to do? What about working with partners who are relatively wealthier—how do Australia's development assistance programs differ? And how has the entry of new funders—whether other governments or non-government actors—change the landscape for Australia?

The conversation finishes up by zooming out. Allan asks what is distinct about what DFAT does (“what’s point of DFAT?”), while Darren asks about the securitisation of development and parallels to the familiar “economics vs security” debate.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to outgoing AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and Martyn Pearce for technical assistance in studio. 

Relevant links

Clare Walsh’s biography: https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-people/executive/Pages/biography-of-clare-walsh.aspx

In a full episode, Allan and Darren return to the perennial topics of Australian foreign policy—our relationships with the United States and China, with events of recent weeks offering yet another illustration of how complex and challenging these relations are. As a result of the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense visiting Sydney for AUSMIN in early August, Australia was asked to contribute to (another) military operation in the Middle East, a very controversial proposal for stationing US missiles in Australia was floated, and China came in for much American criticism. Was this Australia being “squeezed” by Washington, and how did the government handle it? Australia’s bilateral relationship with China is also making headlines, in particular because of Andrew Hastie MP’s op-ed in which he invoked a controversial analogy involving Germany and the Maginot Line. Meanwhile, duelling protests are being carried out on Australian soil regarding Hong Kong. Allan and Darren grapple with these questions, and finish the episode by covering PM Scott Morrison’s trip to Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum, which did not go as he would have hoped with climate change being the major fault line between Australia and its South Pacific family.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to new AIIA intern James Hayne for his help research and audio editing and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

“Joint Statement Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2019”, Media Release, 4 August 2019: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2019/mp_mr_190804.aspx

Andrew Hastie, “We must see China - the opportunities and the threats - with clear eyes”, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 2019: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/we-must-see-china-the-opportunities-and-the-threats-with-clear-eyes-20190807-p52eon.html

Simon Birmingham, “Interview on ABC insiders”, 11 August 2019, transcript: https://trademinister.gov.au/transcripts/Pages/2019/sb_tr_190811.aspx?w=97hIoZC4PHe7VC%2F%2F1w31%2FA%3D%3D

Kate Lyons, “Fiji PM accuses Scott Morrison of ‘insulting’ and alienating Pacific leaders” The Guardian, 17 August 2019: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/16/fiji-pm-frank-bainimarama-insulting-scott-morrison-rift-pacific-countries

Chernobyl, HBO series: https://www.hbo.com/chernobyl

The Golden Compass / Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119322.The_Golden_Compass

This episode we are pleased to present another interview with a senior Australian policymaker. Dr. David Gruen is Deputy Secretary, Economic at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Australia’s G20 Sherpa. David is an economist and has previously worked at the Australian Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia. The discussion therefore revolves around the economic dimensions of Australia’s place in the world and international affairs generally.

Allan begins the interview with David’s high-profile role as Australia’s G20 Sherpa. What does the Sherpa actually do, and what is David’s assessment of the recent G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka? Darren wonders whether the G20’s loose structure represents the most likely model of international cooperation in the 21st century, even if it’s not always effective.

The discussion then pivots to the global economy, where David offers some reflections on what has surprised him over the years, before addressing the specific tensions between the US and China and the question of decoupling. Darren asks for David’s perspective on the domestic sources of hostility to the rules-based order, and the conversation finishes on the topic of “economics versus security” in Australian foreign policy. David offers some novel and interesting insights, and highlights the efforts of his department to integrate advice that is grounded in these different perspectives more effectively into the policymaking process.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and Martyn Pearce for technical assistance in studio.

Relevant links

David Gruen, “The G20 at Ten: Past, Progess and Prospects”, Speech at the Lowy Institute, November 2018: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/g20-ten-past-progress-and-prospects

G20 Osaka Leaders’ Statement on Preventing Exploitation of the Internet for Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism: https://g20.org/en/documents/final_g20_statement_on_preventing_terrorist_and_vect.html

Jonathan Kearns and Philip Lowe, “Australia's Prosperous 2000s: Housing and the Mining Boom”, Research Discussion Paper 2011-07, Reserve Bank of Australia, December 2011: https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2011/2011-07.html

Philip Tetlock, “Expert political judgment”, Goodreads Overview: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/89158.Expert_Political_Judgment

David Gruen, “Collective animosities or cooperation?”, Speech at Symposium discussing ‘Asia’s Response to the Trade War’, Tokyo, December 2018: https://www.pmc.gov.au/news-centre/pmc/keynote-speech-dr-david-gruen-collective-animosities-or-cooperation

Ben Bernanke, “When growth is not enough”, Speech at the European Central Bank Forum, June 2017: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/es_20170626_whengrowthisnotenough.pdf

Mark Davis, “Outside the bubble”, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 September 2009: https://www.smh.com.au/business/outside-the-bubble-20090918-fvgm.html

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