Allan and Darren commence with an update on the novel coronavirus, now called Covid-19. How should we evaluate China’s handling of the outbreak? Given the struggles of some democratic systems—the United States in particular—is an authoritarian approach best for public health crises? Allan attended a recent speech by Labor parliamentarian Tim Watts on the health of Australia's democracy, and Watts' argument resonates here. Staying in Australia, the Morrison government has been on the front foot regarding Covid-19, getting out ahead of the World Health Organisation in declaring a pandemic—have we lost trust in the WHO, and what does the global response tell us about international cooperation more generally?
The conversation turns to ASIO, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the first annual threat assessment delivered by Director-General Mike Burgess. How does Allan feel about ASIO “coming out of the shadows” like this and what are some of the drawbacks of establishing an annual statement? Is this a positive thing for Australia’s democracy? Should DFAT be looking to do something similar?
Finally, Prime Minister Morrison recently hosted the Indonesian President Joko Widodo and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for separate bilateral visits. Allan offers his thoughts on the state of both bilateral relationships while Darren asks: are Australia and Indonesia in a bit of a holding pattern right now, and does Allan have any advice for PM Ardern to get traction on the deportation issue, currently a major source of tension?
As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj
We thank outgoing AIIA intern Isabel Hancock for her help with research and audio editing, and XC Chong for research, and also welcome incoming AIIA intern Maddy Gordon. Thanks also to Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.
Elizabeth Pisani, “The unpalatable lesson of coronavirus: dictatorships can be effective”, Prospect Magazine, 28 February 2020: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/the-unpalatable-lesson-of-coronavirus-dictatorships-can-be-effective-china-world-health-organisation
Australian Government, Biosecurity Act 2015: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2015A00061
Peter Hartcher, “How Australia defied global health authority on coronavirus”, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February 2020: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/how-australia-defied-global-health-authority-on-coronavirus-20200228-p545hr.html
Tim Watts, “Democracy and the authoritarian challenge”, Lowy Lecture Series, National Press Club, Canberra, 27 February 2020: https://www.timwatts.net.au/news/transcripts/lowy-lecture-series-democracy-and-the-authoritarian-challenge/
Lee Hsien Loong, “on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore”, 8 February 2020: https://www.pmo.gov.sg/Newsroom/PM-Lee-Hsien-Loong-on-the-Novel-Coronavirus-nCoV-Situation-in-Singapore-on-8-February-2020
Mike Burgess, “Director-General’s Annual Threat Assessment”, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, 24 February 2020: https://www.asio.gov.au/director-generals-annual-threat-assessment.html
“Address by His Excellency Mr Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia”, 9 February 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YnetrtC73M
ABC News, “Tensions rise between Morrison and Ardern over deportation of criminals”, 28 February 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGc2s9YCmGA
Andy Greenburg , Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hacker: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/597684/sandworm-by-andy-greenberg/9780385544405
Rory Medcalf, Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China Won’t Map the Future: https://www.blackincbooks.com.au/books/contest-indo-pacific
David Brooks, “The nuclear family was a mistake”, The Atlantic, March 2020: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-nuclear-family-was-a-mistake/605536/