January 9, 2019

Ep. 11: Dennis Richardson

In this very special episode of the podcast (the final recording of 2018), Allan and Darren interview Dennis Richardson, one of the most distinguished public servants in Australia’s history. Dennis is the only person to have served in the following positions: Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister (Bob Hawke); Director General of Security (including during the 9/11 attacks); Australian Ambassador to the United States; and Secretary to both the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence.

Dennis and Allan both joined the then Department of External Affairs as graduates in 1969 and, as you will hear, much has changed, and much is still the same! Dennis offers his thoughts on a wide-ranging set of issues including the centralisation and securitsation of foreign policy, an assessment of the United States under Trump, the “economics versus security” debate in Australia, and what qualities political leaders need to be successful in navigating today’s complex world.

A reminder: 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 give our warmest thanks to outgoing AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell for their stellar support in helping us launch the podcast. We also thank Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Stay tuned for new episodes in the weeks ahead!

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In the penultimate episode of Australia in the World for 2018, Darren interviews Danielle Cave and Tom Uren, both of whom work on cyber issues at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The conversation (recorded in late October) steers away from the current news of the day, instead taking a macro perspective on this emerging issue. What does the term “cyber” even mean? Why should Australian policymakers, and indeed ordinary Australians, care about the issue? What are the major policy areas where attention is needed? How should we resolve the tension between the need to regulate activity in cyberspace to improve the medium and its users’ welfare, versus the risks to free flows of information and exchange that increasingly interventionist and heavy-handed governments might pose?

In the realm of international affairs, what are the major sites of contestation between major powers in cyber? How does Australia’s vision of a “open, free and secure internet” contrast with notions of “cyber sovereignty” pushed by governments such as China’s? Finally, what do we now know about the risks posed by “disinformation” using cyber means, especially with respect to elections? How are the social media companies responding, and to what extent should governments involve themselves? What might Australia’s vulnerabilities be to cyber voter interference?

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

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Relevant links

Danielle’s bio: https://www.aspi.org.au/bio/danielle-cave

Tom’s bio: https://www.aspi.org.au/bio/tom-uren

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In this final current events-related podcast for 2018, Allan and Darren discuss the recent round of regional summits, including the ASEAN Summit, the East Asia Summit and the APEC meetings. The mid-November week of summitry captures very well the essence of the current rivalry between the United States and China, and the challenges this poses for Australia and other states in the region. Their discussion covers the significance of President Trump’s absence, contrasts the different approaches to leadership taken by the United States and China, and looks into why APEC members were unable to agree on a joint communiqué. The two also cover alleged “tantrum diplomacy” by the Chinese delegation at APEC, and also the joint announcement by the US, Australia and Papua New Guinea of an upgrade of the naval base on Manus Island. The podcast then looks forward to the G20 meetings in the context of a recent speech by Australia’s G20 Sherpa David Gruen, and finishes with an update on the Khashoggi killing, with Donald Trump again refusing to accept the conclusions of his intelligence agencies.

Important programming note: we have recorded two more podcasts (both interviews) that we hope to post in the next month. Moreover, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod{at}gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Relevant links

John Rogin, “Inside China’s ‘tantrum diplomacy’ at APEC”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2018/11/20/inside-chinas-tantrum-diplomacy-at-apec/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d08fe361d4e4

Peter Hartcher, “Frontline in US-China power struggles reaches Australia’s doorstep”: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/frontline-in-us-china-power-struggle-reaches-australia-s-doorstep-20181119-p50gvz.html

David Gruen’s speech at the Lowy Institute: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/news-and-media/multimedia/audio/david-gruen-global-economic-order-and-role-g20

Kai-Fu Lee’s book “AI Superpowers”: https://aisuperpowers.com/

Yuval Noah Harari in The Atlantic, ‘”Why technology favours tyranny”: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/10/yuval-noah-harari-technology-tyranny/568330/

The Binge Mode podcast by Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion: https://www.theringer.com/binge-mode

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It has been a busy few weeks for international affairs, and this week Allan and Darren cover three pairs of issues. To begin, a pair of foreign policy speeches by PM Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Next, the two discuss Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s first visit to China, pairing that with the Australian government’s raft of new initiatives for engagement with the South Pacific, what Darren is (affectionately) terming the “South Pacific Pivot / Rebalance”. The conversation also takes a quick detour into the State of Victoria’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Finally, a pair of elections—the US midterms and a new President in Brazil. 

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Relevant links

Scott Morrison’s speech at the Asia Society: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/keynote-address-asia-briefing-live-beliefs-guide-us

Bill Shorten’s speech at the Lowy Institute: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/foreign-policy-next-labor-government

Scott Morrison’s speech at Lavarack Barracks: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-australia-and-pacific-new-chapter

Paul Krugman in Foreign Affairs, “Competiveness: A dangerous obsession” https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/1994-03-01/competitiveness-dangerous-obsession

Ludovico Einaudi, “Divenire”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8SkX9CSJQo

ANU School of Politics and International Relations: US Post-Midterm Election Roundtable (held on Monday 12 November): https://bit.ly/2qKmzwB

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Allan and Darren cover four issues in this latest episode. They begin by discussing the announcement by Prime Minister Morrison, in the lead-up to the recent Wentworth by-election, that the government would review its long-standing policy regarding whether Jerusalem should recognised as the capital of Israel, as well as Australia’s support for the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. Next, using the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and Australia’s sanctioning of individuals in the Myanmar military as entry points, Darren asks Allan how governments balance competing interests on the question of human rights violations. Third, President Trump continues his battle international institutions, this time Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The podcast concludes by highlighting two areas of Australian diplomacy that have received relatively less attention: a new strategy to combat the death penalty, and the recent trade ministerial meeting in Canada—without either the US or China being invited.

 

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

 

Relevant links

 

Daniel Drezner on Trump and the Universal Postal Union: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/10/18/trump-administrations-brinksmanship-with-checks-notes-universal-postal-union/?utm_term=.9c9b150eb180

 

Launch of Australia’s Strategy for Abolition of the Death Penalty: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2018/mp_mr_181015.aspx

 

ANU School of Politics and International Relations: US Post-Midterm Election Roundtable (Monday 12 November, 6pm): http://politicsir.cass.anu.edu.au/events/us-post-midterm-election-roundtable

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Allan and Darren devote the bulk of this episode to Sino-US relations in the context of Vice President Mike Pence’s recent speech at the Hudson Institute. They discuss the primary audience for the speech and the significance of the fact that it was Pence, and not Donald Trump, who delivered it. Darren asks Allan to evaluate the “bet” the West made in the 1990s and early 2000s to try to integrate China into the US-led international order, Allan discusses the risks of trying to “other” China, and the two discuss alternative views inside China itself on how to interpret Pence’s speech. Finally, they analyse the speech through an Australian lens, in light Australia’s longstanding interest in keeping the US engaged in the region. 

Finally, Allan offers some reflections arising out of the excellent 2018 AIIA National Conference held on Monday 15 October.

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Relevant links

2018 AIIA National Conference highlights

Vice President Mike Pence's Remarks on the Administration's Policy Towards China 

Jeff Colgan and Robert Keohane in Foreign Affairs: The Liberal Order is Rigged

Chen Dingding in The Diplomat: 3 Types of Chinese Reactions to Mike Pence’s China Speech

Prime Minister of Australia The Hon Scott Morrison MP speech at Chinese-Australian Community Event

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In this fifth episode of the podcast, Allan and Darren begin by describing their recent overseas trips—Allan to Beijing, and Darren to Seoul.

The analysis of recent events opens with a focus on the recent leaders’ meetings at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Donald Trump made the most headlines by bringing his “America First” doctrine to the heart of global multilateralism, and Darren asks about the extent to which we should attach any significance to this fact. The discussion turns to Australia, and our new Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s UNGA speech and its contrast with Trump. While she was in New York, Senator Payne also met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, hopefully advancing the “reset” in bilateral relations that was kicked off by (former) Prime Minister Turnbull. Finally, Allan and Darren discuss New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “baby diplomacy” in New York, and the genuine soft power success it represents.

The discussion turns to the trade war between the US and China, which escalated in September with a fresh round of tariffs being imposed on both sides. Darren elects to play devil’s advocate, posing three arguments to Allan for why the trade war might actually be positive for Australia’s interests—one economic, one strategic, and one political. Allan dismisses each in turn!

Finally, against the background of the recent earthquake and tsunami that has devastated the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and the city of Palu in particular, the discussion briefly takes stock of the current state of the Australian aid program, given the downgrading of the portfolio from a ministerial position—the new Assistant Minister is Senator Anne Ruston.

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

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In this fourth episode, Allan and Darren discuss how the chaos that led to Scott Morrison replacing Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister may affect Australian foreign policy, both in terms of overall policy direction and how Australia is perceived abroad. They also discuss the impact of leadership change on Australia’s foreign policy bureaucracy, before reflecting on Julie Bishop’s legacy as foreign minister.

The other major event from the past few weeks was the Australian government’s effective ban of Chinese company Huawei from participating in the construction of the forthcoming 5G telecommunications network. Allan and Darren discuss the processes and inputs to this decision, including the role of the National Security Committee of Cabinet, as well as the Chinese reaction. 

The two then discuss new Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s trip to Indonesia, in particular why he would have chosen to travel so soon after becoming Prime Minister, and then finally they cover the White House’s decision for Donald Trump not to attend upcoming regional summits in Asia. 

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

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In the third episode of the Australia in the World podcast, AIIA National President Allan Gyngell and ANU academic Darren Lim discuss the efforts of Prime Minister (at the time of recording) Malcolm Turnbull to “reset” bilateral relations with China in a recent speech, and the topic of Australia’s soft power, in light of a review announced by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Allan and Darren then welcome the podcast’s first ever guest, Miles Kupa, to discuss Malaysia and Indonesia.

Miles Kupa has been Australia’s Ambassador / High Commissioner in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, as well as Deputy Head of Mission in Jakarta, Chief of Staff to Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

We give special thanks to AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler for her help in getting the podcast established. We also thank AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell our research assistant and Mani Bovell our audio engineer, Martyn Pearce of the Crawford School for technical support, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

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In the pilot episode of the “Australia in the world” podcast, the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) National President Allan Gyngell and the ANU's Dr Darren Lim discuss the rules-based international order and the priorities and challenges facing Australia as it seeks to shore up this key pillar of its foreign policy. The rules-based order was the subject of conference on Australia and the Rules-Based International Order held on 18-19 July organised by the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ANU Coral Bell School with the support of the Attorney-General’s Department. The conference brought together many of Australia’s leading foreign policy officials and thinkers discussed various aspects of the order.

Allan’s bio: https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/about-us/our-people/allan-gyngell/

Darren’s bio: https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/lim-dj

Allan Gyngell’s opinion piece on the rules-based order in the Australian Financial Review: https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/if-trump-just-quits-the-rulesbased-order--what-happens-next-20180723-h130ds

This episode is cross-posted with the AIIA's own channel.

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