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

This episode we present an exclusive interview with Paul Symon AO, Director-General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, ASIS. As Australia’s “top spook”, Paul is the only member of his organisation who can legally be identified. Indeed, the existence of ASIS was not publicly acknowledged until 1977 and not brought under formal legislation until 2001.

This is a great privilege for us because this is the first time Paul has ever given a public interview.

Bearing in mind “the inevitable paradox inherent in publicising the achievements of an organisation whose activities are, by design, secret”, Allan commences the interview by asking Paul to describe what ASIS does (in a general sense), why Australia needs it, and to describe some of its achievements. Paul then speaks to the vital question of how the Australian public can be confident that ASIS is acting in ways consistent with our law and values given it operates in secret. Other questions include how ASIS decides what information to collect, how it manages technology in the 21st century, how it conducts risk assessments, and its work with both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Five Eyes Partnership. Darren asks a personal question about the intersection of publicly available information and secret information in the context of public policy debates. The discussion finishes on the topic of recruitment – how can Australians come to work for ASIS and what kind of people are sought?

Paul’s answers are fascinating and really offer remarkable insight into a unique (and normally very secretive) organisation.

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

Paul Symon’s  biography: https://www.asis.gov.au/About-Us/Message-from-DG.html

ASIS homepage: https://www.asis.gov.au/

“The most interesting job in the world”: http://www.morehumanintelligence.com.au/

On this week’s episode, Allan and Darren kick things off with an in-depth discussion of Australian Prime Minister’s Scott Morrison's recent foreign policy speech, delivered a few days before his attendance at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka. Darren asks Allan to situate the speech in Morrison’s trajectory as Prime Minister, and to describe how speeches like this are prepared. The substance itself was especially fascinating, including China’s apparent new status as a “great and powerful friend”, Morrison’s argument that the post-war order has been an important protector of state sovereignty, and his claim that Australia retains agency to shape international affairs.

The second item on the agenda is the results from the latest Lowy Institute poll of the Australian public’s attitudes towards foreign policy and international affairs. As the founding Executive Director of the Lowy Institute under whose leadership the poll was first developed, Allan outlines why he saw such a poll as being necessary and what we have learned from it over time. The latest results include generally positive sentiments towards the United States (excepting Donald Trump), but increasing scepticism towards China. Finally, the two finish with the seemingly gloomy outcomes of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, although Darren attempts to use game theory to try retain a glimmer of optimism.

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 in-studio technical support this week.

Relevant links

Scott Morrison, “Where we live”, Asialink-Bloomberg Address: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/where-we-live-asialink-bloomberg-address

Lowy Institute Poll 2019: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/lowy-institute-poll-2019

Shiro Armstrong, “The rules-based economic disorder after Osaka G20”, East Asia Forum: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2019/06/30/the-rules-based-economic-disorder-after-osaka-g20/  

Merriden Varrall, “Temper our optimism: the message from the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka”, Lowy Interpreter: http://m.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/temper-our-optimism-message-g20-leaders-summit-osaka

Hugh White, “How to Defend Australia”, book review by Sam Roggeveen in the Lowy Interpreter: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/book-review-hugh-white-s-how-defend-australia

Arthur C. Brooks, “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think”, The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/work-peak-professional-decline/590650/

Allan and Darren commence this episode by discussing the enormous protests in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law. How has Australia viewed Hong Kong’s trajectory prior to and following its handover to the PRC in 1997, and up to the present? Is it surprising that the Hong Kong government backed down, and what do these events tell us about Hong Kong’s future? Do other governments, including Australia’s, have any capacity to shape what will happen?

The Shangri-La dialogue is next on the agenda. Allan begins by explaining what it is and why it is relevant to watchers of Australian foreign policy. Then, the major theme of this year’s dialogue--growing anxiety at US-China competition--is covered through the lens of the opening address by the host, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. To what extent do Lee’s remarks accurately diagnose the problem, and reflect the mood of the region?

Finally, as tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Darren asks Allan for an Australian perspective, and they both wonder whether the mercurial Trump needs a traditional “off-ramp” to get the United States out of this crisis. 

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, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Tyler Cowen. “What Hong Kong’s Freedom Means to the World”, Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-06-12/hong-kong-protests-show-the-limits-of-economic-freedom

Marise Payne, “Statement on protests in Hong Kong”: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2019/mp_mr_190612a.aspx

Milia Hau, “Britain failed Hong Kong”, Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/12/britain-failed-hong-kong/

Lee Hsien Loong’s opening address to the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lee-hsien-loong-speech-2019-shangri-la-dialogue-11585954  

Florence Parly, “Speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue”: https://in.ambafrance.org/French-Defence-Minister-Florence-Parly-s-speech-at-the-Shangri-La-Dialogue

We are very excited to bring you a special interview this episode with Rebecca Skinner, Associate Secretary of Australia’s Department of Defence, and therefore one of the most senior women working on Australia’s national security. It is a wide-ranging conversation that covers topics including the nature of the Associate Secretary role, civil-military relationships inside the department, the never-ending question of reform, gender issues, and contrasts between private and public sector organisations. Allan and Darren also pose big picture questions on the disrupted strategic environment and how to better integrate Australia’s national security community. On the lighter side, the $400 ash tray from the TV show “The West Wing” and (perhaps) its Australian equivalent – a flute – also come up.

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 setting up this episode.

Relevant links

Rebecca Skinner’s biography: http://defence.gov.au/leaders/MsRebeccaSkinner.asp

The West Wing: “Four hundred dollar ashtray”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R9kH_HOUXM

It’s been a busy few weeks in Australia and the world, and in a full episode Allan and Darren begin with the restrictions announced by the Trump Administration on the sale of technology to Huawei, and what this means for US-China competition. They pivot closer to home to Papua New Guinea and the resignation of its Prime Minister. Next, they reflect upon four election results: Australia, India, Indonesia and the European Union, and then turn to the announcement of two new Australian Ambassadors to the United States and the United Nations, both ex-politicians. Finally, Allan remembers Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

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 Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Darren Lim and Victor Ferguson, “Huawei and the decoupling dilemma”: https://www.lowyinterpreter.org/the-interpreter/huawei-and-decoupling-dilemma

Angus Grigg, Lisa Murray and Jonathan Shaprio, “Revealed: PNG PM Peter O’Neill’s ‘very bad’ Oil Search deal”: https://www.afr.com/news/policy/foreign-affairs/revealed-png-pm-peter-o-neill-s-very-bad-oil-search-deal-20190523-p51qhk

BBC Brexitcast podcast episode, “From Tusk ‘til Dawn”: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07bf8pv

Allan Gyngell, “Bob Hawke and Australian foreign policy”: https://www.lowyinterpreter.org/the-interpreter/bob-hawke-and-australian-foreign-policy

Review of The National album, “I am easy to find”: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/may/17/the-national-i-am-easy-to-find-review

Thaddeus t. grugq, “A kompromat mystery”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/a-kompromat-mystery-29caa1fd94a2 ;

“Kompromat of solace: Timeline”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/kompromat-of-solace-timeline-fbdd33c4a75c ;

“Kompromat of solace: Operations”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/kompromat-of-solace-operations-408d1e1480b6

With the Australian federal election happening on Saturday 18 May, in this episode Allan and Darren follow the practice of all government departments in preparing an “incoming government brief”: a document presented to the new (or returning) minister for each department, for the purpose of providing a descriptive overview of what the department does, and highlighting the most important issues facing that particular portfolio as the new term commences.

Allan and Darren’s brief contains three “chapters”. Chapter 1 is on the structure of national security and foreign policy making, and the discussion turns on the best way of coordinating decision-making given the complex challenges faced in Australia’s international relations. Chapter 2 is on Donald Trump, where Allan and Darren largely agree on the impact of the Trump presidency on the world so far, but diverge slightly in their resulting degree of pessimism. Chapter 3 is on China, where the disagreement is more on the quality of Australia’s policy response to this most difficult set of policy dilemmas. Along the way, the two discuss recent events relating to Iran, the White House’s contrasting approaches to diplomacy, the second Belt and Road Forum and the US-China trade war.

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, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

“Morrison says 'no difference' with Bishop on China relationship”, SBS News: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/morrison-says-no-difference-with-bishop-on-china-relationship

Tyler Cowen, “How real news is worse than fake news”, Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-05/how-real-news-is-worse-than-fake-news

Adam Tooze, “Is this the end of the American century”, London Review of Books: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n07/adam-tooze/is-this-the-end-of-the-american-century

Tanner Greer, “The utterly dysfunctional Belt and Road”, Scholar’s Stage Blog: http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-utterly-dysfunctional-belt-and-road.html

Andrew Batson, “The Belt and Road is about domestic interest groups not development”: https://andrewbatson.com/2019/05/02/the-belt-and-road-is-about-domestic-interest-groups-not-development/

Nadege Rolland, “Beijing’s response to the Belt and Road Initiative’s ‘pushback’, Asian Affairs (currently free to access): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03068374.2019.1602385?scroll=top&needAccess=true&

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