Tag Archives: Australia

The regional battle for the heart and soul of Islam

Australia is facing a new regional challenge as its northern neighbours increasingly join a global trend towards a more fundamentalist form of Islam. While this shift in religious orientation does not present a direct threat to Australia – at least for the time being – it is already complicating Australia’s regional relationships. The Sultan of […]

Australia's foreign policy clumsiness is losing us the Asia-Pacific

After balking at its first diplomatic test over revelations of spying on Indonesia last year, there was still a reasonable expectation that the new government would quickly find its foreign policy feet. Julie Bishop as foreign minister was intended to present a firm but friendly policy face to the world, while Tony Abbott got on […]

Spying on Timor-Leste

It will take some months to play out, but Australia is finally before an international tribunal to determine whether or not it has acted legally over the division of the Timor Sea with Timor-Leste. At stake is the territorial boundary between Australia and Timor-Leste and, therefore, control of tens of billions of dollars’ worth of […]

Australia's big asylum seeker policy hole

Australia and Indonesia have worked hard over the past decade to build a strong bilateral relationship, seen as valuable by Indonesia and as critically important by Australia. That relationship is now in tatters. The Australian government has been at pains to explain to Indonesia that recent naval incursions into Indonesian territorial waters, intended to stop […]

Australia as a 'pivotal power', or just a middle one?

From his output, ASPI’s Anthony Bergin likes nothing if not to test ideas in relation to Australia’s strategic positioning. His recent proposition that Australia is not so much a ‘middle power’ but a ‘pivotal power’ is a case in point . http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/is-australia-a-pivotal-power/ Bergin’s argument is that the common strategic descriptor for Australia as a ‘middle […]

Woodside gas deal could redraw Australia-East Timor borders

Australia’s relationship with East Timor is at risk as the deadline looms on a hotly disputed and lucrative liquid natural gas project — with no resolution in sight. West Australian-based Woodside Petroleum has until February 23 to reach an agreement with the government of East Timor over the site of processing LNG or else the […]

Pointing the Finger – who are the dopers who are the organised criminals?

As Spain’s Operacion Puerto trial neared the end of its second week, the Australian Crime Commission has released a report that exposes what it calls widespread doping in many Australian sports along with links to organized crime involved in the supply of doping products and match fixing. This report follows up the USADA Armstrong case […]

Australia's strategic reorientation

Australia enters 2013 reconsidering its place in a strategically shifting world. Issues close to home have stabilised and, increasingly, considerations further from Australia are being written off as a lost cause. Australia’s peace-keeping commitment to East Timor has ended, with that country now charting an independent and, for the medium future at least, stable course. […]

Pacific Island states in the limelight

From a sleepy backwater, the South Pacific has been catapulted into the diplomatic limelight, with the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in the Cook Islands playing host not just to Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, but to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and a large delegation from China. All of a sudden, the Pacific island […]