Issues in Australian Foreign Policy: January to June 2013


  • Matt McDonald

    1. University of Queensland
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    • For their helpful comments on an earlier draft, I am grateful to Mark Beeson, Melissa Curley and Andrew Phillips.


  1. 1

    See, for example, Barrie Cassidy, The Party Thieves: The Real Story of the 2010 Election (Melbourne, 2011).

  2. 2

    Malcolm Farr, “Julia Gillard calls election campaign in challenge to Tony Abbott… and Kevin Rudd”, Herald Sun, 30 January 2013.

  3. 3

    See, for example, Henry Albinski, “The Role of Foreign Policy in Australian Elections”, Australian Outlook, Vol. 28, 2 (1974), pp.118–41; Murray Goot, “Neither Entirely Comfortable nor Wholly Relaxed: Public Opinion, Electoral Politics and Foreign Policy” in James Cotton and John Ravenhill eds, Trading on Alliance Security: Australia in World Affairs (Melbourne, 2007); Allan Gyngell and Michael Wesley, Making Australian Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2003); Matt McDonald, “Foreign and Defence Policy on Australia's Political Agenda, 1962–2012”, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 17, 2 (2013), pp.171–84.

  4. 4

    Charles Hawksley and Nichole Georgeou, “Issues in Australian Foreign Policy, July to December 2012”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 59, 2 (2013), pp.260–275.

  5. 5

    Indeed some suggested that once Australia's seat on the UN Security Council was achieved, Australia could safely backtrack on aid commitments to a range of states beyond the Asia-Pacific region. See, for example, Ean Higgins, “Collapse in Calypso aid now our UN seat is secured”, Australian, 17 May 2013.

  6. 6

    Joe Kelly, “Kevin Rudd states Australia's case for place on UN Security Council”, Australian, 1 June 2011.

  7. 7

    In Lenore Taylor, “Ten things to know about foreign policy under Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott”, Guardian, 3 June 2013.

  8. 8

    See Nick Bryant, “Australia's UN Moment”, The Interpreter, 5 September 2013.

  9. 9

    Lee Rhiannon, “Australia is Failing to Live up to its Responsibilities to Protect Women”, Guardian, 30 August 2013.

  10. 10

    Katrina Lee-Koo and Susan Harris Rimmer, “On the big table of the Security Council, Australia must champion the cause of women”, The Conversation, 15 May 2013.

  11. 11

    John Lee, “The Re-emergence of China: Economic and Strategic Implications for Australia”, Australian Economic Review, Vol. 45, 4 (2012), pp.484–7.

  12. 12

    Australian Trade Commission, “Australia's two-way trade exceeds AU$625 billion”, Austrade Data Alert, 13 February 2013), available at: <>.

  13. 13

    Of a vast literature in the field of international relations, debates were particularly prominent between so-called “Defensive” and “Offensive” Realists regarding the question of whether China would be a “status quo” or “revisionist” power. See, for example, Alastair Iain Johnston, “Is China a Status Quo Power”, International Security, Vol. 27, 4 (2003), pp.5–56; Charles Glaser, “Will China's Rise Lead to War?”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 90 (2011), pp.80–91; Scott Kastner and Phillip Saunders, “Is China a Status Quo or Revisionist State?”, International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 56, 1 (2012), pp.163–77.

  14. 14

    Hugh White, “America or China: one day we will have to choose”, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 May 2013.

  15. 15

    Department of Defence, Defence White Paper 2013 (Canberra, May 2013), p.11.

  16. 16

    On various dimensions of this relationship, see Michael Heazle and Michael Clarke, eds, Australia and China in a New Century, special issue of Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 66, 5 (2012); Andrew O'Neill and James Manicom, “Accommodation, Realignment, or Business as Usual? Australia's Response to a Rising China”, The Pacific Review, Vol. 23, 1 (2010), pp.23–44.

  17. 17

    Mark Kenny, “Gillard lands a big one with China deal”, Age, 10 April 2013.

  18. 18

    Ibid. Notwithstanding Hugh White's concerns about how this development might be viewed in Washington, see Hugh White, “Australia is now a pawn in US-China power plays”, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April 2013.

  19. 19

    Michael Fullilove and Alex Oliver, “Foreign service remains vastly underfunded”, Australian Financial Review, 22 February 2013, p.39.

  20. 20


  21. 21

    Alex Oliver, “Overstretched, under-resourced: DFAT has gone to ruin”, Crikey, 11 March 2013.

  22. 22

    Ibid.; Tim Colebatch, “Overseas travel booms as Australians shun home”, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 2013.

  23. 23

    For example, “Carr defends efforts to secure Bali 9 clemency”, ABC News Online, 5 May 2013; Patrick Durkin and Nick Lenaghan, “Court ruling backs Dubai detainees”, Australian Financial Review, 8 June 2013.

  24. 24

    In Taylor, “Ten things to know”; Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Australia's Overseas Representation: Punching Below our Weight? (Canberra, October 2012).

  25. 25

    Daniel Flitton, “DFAT seeks funding for UN Seat Bid”, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2012.

  26. 26

    See DFAT, Trade Matters 2012, available at <>.

  27. 27

    Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia in the Asian Century White Paper (Canberra, 2012), p.251; Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia's Overseas Representation.

  28. 28

    Australian Government, Australian Government Response to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Report (Canberra, 30 May 2013), p.3.

  29. 29

    In Taylor, “Ten things to know”.

  30. 30

    Samah Hadid, “Australia: The Sweeney Todd of foreign aid”, Guardian, 5 August 2013.

  31. 31

    Joe Kelly, “$1bn siphoned from foreign aid”, Australian, 15 May 2013; Karen Barlow, “Asia-Pacific watching foreign aid in Australia's budget”, ABC News Online, 15 May 2013.

  32. 32

    Lee Rhiannon, “The Aid Budget is not an ATM”, New Matilda, 16 May 2013.

  33. 33

    Australian Government, Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness (Canberra, April 2011).

  34. 34

    On this point, see Gemma Jones, “Australian aid flows to UN backers”, Daily Telegraph, 2 October 2012.

  35. 35

    OECD, OECD Development Cooperation Peer Review: Australia 2013 (Paris, April 2013) <>.

  36. 36

    In Barlow, “Asia-Pacific watching foreign aid”.

  37. 37

    In Judith Ireland, “Government again delays foreign aid goal”, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 May 2013.

  38. 38

    Judith Ireland and Bianca Hall, “Coalition slashes foreign aid as part of $9b savings measures”, Age, 5 September 2013.

  39. 39

    Brendan Nicholson, “Defence may get a small rise in budget”, Australian, 6 May 2013.

  40. 40

    ABC, “Defence cuts ‘tough yet manageable’”, ABC News Online, 4 May 2012.

  41. 41

    Australian Government, Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia's National Security (Canberra, January 2013).

  42. 42

    Andrew Phillips, “Defence White Paper: super-sizing Australia's strategic geography for the Asian Century”, The Conversation, 7 May, 2013.

  43. 43

    DoD, Defence White Paper 2013.

  44. 44


  45. 45

    Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Inquiry into the Importance of the Indian Ocean rim for Australia's Foreign, Defence and Trade Policy (Canberra: June 2013) <>.

  46. 46

    Rory Medcalf, “Breaking Down Australia's Defense White Paper 2013”, The Diplomat, 7 May 2013; Nicholson, “Defence may get a small rise in budget”.

  47. 47

    Greg Sheridan, “White paper a ‘disaster’ for defence”, Australian, 3 May 2013.

  48. 48

    Mark Thomson, “Two – the magic number”, The Strategist, 26 August 2013.

  49. 49

    Brendan Nicholson, “Coalition to boost defence funding”, Australian, 3 September 2013.

  50. 50

    Julia Gillard, “A dozen Growlers centerpiece of 2013 Defence white paper”, ABC Radio, “The World Today”, 3 May 2013.

  51. 51

    Andrew Carr, “Factcheck: is Defence spending down to 1938 levels?”, The Conversation, 3 September 2013.

  52. 52


  53. 53

    ABC, “Vote Compass: The most important issues to voters”, ABC Online, 9 August 2013.

  54. 54

    Alex Oliver, Australia and the World: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, Lowy Institute, 2013, p.9.

  55. 55

    On various dimensions of these questions, see Tim Dunne and Matt McDonald, eds, The Politics of Liberal Internationalism, special issue of International Politics, Vol. 50, 1 (2013); Mark Beeson and Matt McDonald, eds, The Politics of Climate Change in Australia, special issue of Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 59, 3 (2013).

  56. 56

    “Combet ditches carbon floor price in deal with Europe”, ABC News Online, 28 August, 2012.

  57. 57

    Ben Woodhead, “Rudd reportedly set to scrap carbon tax”, Australian Financial Review, 14 July 2013.

  58. 58

    See Matt McDonald, “Australia is not a climate laggard” in Daniel Baldino, Andrew Carr and Anthony Langlois, eds, Australian Foreign Policy: The Key Debates (Melbourne, forthcoming).

  59. 59

    In Peter Hannam, “Coalition faces carbon tax contradiction, report finds”, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 2013.

  60. 60

    Nick Perry, “Aust CO2 emissions hit 10-year low”, Australian, 11 April 2013.

  61. 61

    Coorey, “Majority oppose carbon tax”.

  62. 62

    Oliver, Lowy Institute Poll 2013, p. 11.

  63. 63

    Chris Johnson, “Most want to keep carbon tax: poll”, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July 2013.

  64. 64

    See, for example, Peter Christoff, “Climate discourse complexes, national climate regimes and Australian climate policy”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 59, 3 (2013), pp.349–67.

  65. 65

    On these points, see Beeson and McDonald, eds, The Politics of Climate Change in Australia.

  66. 66

    Bianca Hall, “Asylum seeker families eligible for release on bridging visas”, Canberra Times, 7 May 2013.

  67. 67

    Jane McAdam, “Eight reasons offshore processing is a failure”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June 2013.

  68. 68

    Oliver, Lowy Institute Poll 2013, pp.13–14.

  69. 69

    Ben Packham, “Gillard survives caucus backlash over asylum-seeker crisis”, Australian, 25 June 2013.

  70. 70

    Bianca Hall and Jonathan Swan, “Kevin Rudd to send asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Papua New Guinea”, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2013.

  71. 71

    See Janet Phillips and Harriet Spinks, “Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976”, Australian Parliamentary Library Research Paper (Canberra, 23 July 2013).

  72. 72

    See, for example, Graham Thom, “Houston Report a major setback for refugee rights”, ABC The Drum, 13 August 2012; Gerhard Hoffstaedter and Sara Davies, “Asylum solutions: we need a regional refugee compact”, The Conversation, 15 August 2013.

  73. 73

    Robert Manne, “Tragedy of Errors”, The Monthly (March 2013); John Menadue and Arja Keski-Nummi, “Parties prevaricate on asylum seekers…2. and boats keep coming”, Crikey, 11 June 2013.

  74. 74

    Christos Tsiolkas, “Why Australia Hates Asylum Seekers”, The Monthly (September 2013).

  75. 75

    “Vote Compass: The most important issues to voters”, ABC Online, 9 August 2013.

  76. 76

    Matt McDonald, “This is how we rise to the Asian century?” ABC The Drum, 6 August, 2013.

  77. 77

    Sid Maher and Peter Alford, “Kevin Rudd risks row with Indonesia”, Australian, 29 June, 2013.

  78. 78

    Taylor, “Ten things to know”.

  79. 79

    See, for example, Michael Fullilove, “Viewpoint: Where do Australia rivals stand on foreign policy?”, BBC News Asia, 28 August 2013.

  80. 80

    See Oliver, Lowy Institute Poll, 2013; Rory Medcalf, India-Australia Poll 2013 (Sydney, April 2013).

  81. 81

    McDonald, “This is how we rise to the Asian century?”.

  82. 82

    See Mark Beeson, “Anglosphere or regional friend? Abbott's foreign policy future”, The Conversation, 10 September 2013.