AIIA 2014 National Conference Session 1: Australian Foreign Policy

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    • 00:08

      LAURA KIMPTON: Good morning.Good.Everybody can hear me.My name's Laura Kimpton.I'm the National Vice President of the Australian Instituteof National Affairs.And on behalf of the institute, I'dlike to welcome you all here todayon this year's national conference, whichis on the subject of foreign policy priorities for a top 20nation.Unfortunately, the honorable Julie Bishop,

    • 00:30

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: Minister of Foreign Affairs, is unable to attendtoday's conference due to a new national security meeting.But we're very pleased that her parliamentary secretary,Senator the Honorable Brett Mason,will deliver the prepared speech on her behalf.Prime Minister Abbott had originallyasked MInister Bishop to represent him

    • 00:51

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: at this conference.So on this occasion, Senator Masonwill be delivering the speech on behalfof both the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister.While organizing today's conference,we have received strong support from both the Prime Ministerand Minister Abbott, and they bothsent their best for a most successful and constructive

    • 01:12

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: 2014 conference.We'll also welcome, in this first session, the HonorableRichard Marles, Shadow Minister for Immigration and BorderProtection.And Senator Scott Ludlam, from the Australian Greens,regretted that he was unable to accept our invitationto be here today.We're also delighted to welcome the ambassadors

    • 01:34

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: and high commissioners from 10 different countries,many of whom attended this conference last year.We also welcome all those who willcontribute to today's session.We're grateful for the time they'vespent in traveling and preparing for today's conference.The AWAA is fortunate to receive an annual grant

    • 01:55

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: from the Department of Royal Affairs and Trade,including for this conference.And we're pleased that a number of representativesfrom the Public Diplomacy and Strategic Planning Divisionsare with us today.And of course, we mustn't forget our members.The AWAA is the only membership based organization in our fieldwith branches in all state capitals and the ACT.

    • 02:18

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: We currently have 1,400 members, and I'mpleased to see that every branch is representedin today's audience.This conference follows a most successful inaugural event,which was held yesterday afternoonat our National Headquarters in Canberra.This was a master class series, wheresix of our honorary fellows spent time with about 50of our younger members from all over the country.

    • 02:41

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: These younger members are here yesterday,and we welcome the contribution whichwill be made by some of our future decision makers.I'm sure they'll have plenty of probingquestions for our speakers.These classes could not have happenedwithout the expertise of our fellows,and we welcome those who generallygave their time yesterday.They are joined today by some of our other fellows,

    • 03:02

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: several of whom will be presented with their awardsduring this morning.Also, later in the day, one of our Victorian members,Euan Crone, will announce the nameof four recipients of the 2014 Euan Crone Asian AwarenessScholarships.These awards for younger members of the AWAAfrom across the country, were instigated by Euan last year,

    • 03:25

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: following his attendance on several AWAAV studytours to Asia.Euan was inspired to create a fundto support these scholarships with a personal donationof $250,000.Euan is really making a differencein the lives of young Australianswho wish to contribute to Australia's engagementwith the Asian region, and I would particularly

    • 03:47

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: like to welcome him here today.There is one point I'd like to clarifyabout today's conference.Many of you will recall it last year,we had our 80th anniversary conference.This marked the date of our creationas an Australian muti-branch institute, in 1933.There's been some reference to 2014being our 90th anniversary, and this conference

    • 04:07

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: reflecting that fact, which has led to some confusion.In fact, any reference to the big 9-0 refers to the factthat the New South Wales branch of Chatham Housewas created in 1924.And we congratulate AWAA New South Wales on this milestone.The Victorian Branch was created just six months later, in 1925.Although a separate entity since 1933,

    • 04:30

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: AWAA has valued its ties with the Royal Instituteof International Affairs in London, Chatham House,over the intervening years, as well aswith other sister institutes form around the world.Today's conference, which we are hoping will nowbecome an annual event, will bring togetherexperts in representatives from government, academia, business,and the media, who will focus on the issues which

    • 04:54

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: affect Australia.I said last year that we live in interesting times.They just seem to get more interesting.The black swans abound.We're now faced with the repercussionsof the downing of MH17, with a lossof 38 citizens or permanent residents,the ongoing instability in Ukraine,the challenges posed by Islamic state,

    • 05:14

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: and now, the possible spread of the Ebola virus from Africato the west of the world.2014 has been a busy year for Australia's chairman--for Australia, with the chairmanship of the G20,the second and final year of our seat on the UN SecurityCouncil, our chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association,and ongoing, important trade negotiations on several fronts.

    • 05:37

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: We will hear about these issues and many moreduring the course of this conference,with the four sessions concentratingeach on foreign policy, enhancing prosperity,strengthening security, and finally,contributing to global issues.For your information, today's eventwill not be held under the Chattham House rule,so that proceedings will be recorded and broadcast.

    • 05:60

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: So now, I'd like to introduce our first speakerin the sessions on Australian foreign policy.Senator Brett Mason is the Parliamentary Secretaryto the Minister of Foreign Affairs,and a liberal party senator for Queensland.In the past, he's held various positions in the shadoweducation portfolio, with a particular responsibilityfor universities and research, and before entering parliament,

    • 06:22

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: lectured in criminology at QUT, and servedas a commonwealth prosecutor.So please welcome Senator Brett Mason.[APPLAUSE]

    • 06:36

      SENATOR BRETT MASON: Zara, thank you for that warm welcome.And good morning everyone to John McCarthy, the NationalPresident of the Australian Instituteof International Affairs.He's not here yet, but I'll welcome him anyway.My distinguished colleague, Richard Marles,the Shadow Minister for Immigration and BorderProtection.Also, the many ambassadors, high commissioners,

    • 06:57

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.It's a distinct pleasure to be with you this morning,giving this keynote address on behalfof Julie Bishop, the Minister of Foreign Affairs,and also, officially representing the PrimeMinister, Tony Abbott.Zara, this is my first and perhaps, my last opportunity

    • 07:18

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: to represent them both.So I'll make the most of it.For 90 years, the Institute has been stimulating debateabout International Affairs within the Australiancommunity, and it's a very important public service,indeed.Throughout Australia's history, our prosperity

    • 07:39

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: and our geographical isolation have sometimescreated the temptation to the dismissthe world beyond our shores as largelyirrelevant to our national well being.In this 1958 essay, "The Prodigal Son,"Australia's only Nobel Laureate for Literature, Patrick White,

    • 08:03

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: wrote of the great Australian emptiness,in which beautiful youths and girls stare at lifethrough blind blue eyes.This is no longer the case.When Australians look at the world,their stare is no longer blind.

    • 08:26

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Australia is now more prosperous than it's everbeen before in its history, and also, less isolated than it'sever been.Far from the tyranny of distance,we are now exposed to the tyranny of proximity.No threat, no threat, and no opportunity,

    • 08:49

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: however remote it might seem, is without some resonanceand relevance for our country.That's why I like to pay special tribute to the Instituteand thank you for the essential work you do educating,and indeed, engaging Australians in debate about the world,and Australia's place in it.

    • 09:11

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: And our place in the world is, as this conference themesuggests, as a top 20 nation.Julie Bishop tells me it's a termshe coined, and has been frequently usingsince she became foreign minister a littleover a year ago.She firmly believed that Australia's tendencyto be modest about our achievements,

    • 09:35

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: doesn't always work to our advantage--that sometimes, we need to tell the world how good we are.Julie told me last week, when we werediscussing this conference.She said, Brett, I'm tired of hearing peoplesay that Australia punches above our weight.

    • 09:55

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: In reality, she said, we carry significant weight,and we punch in line with it.We're not a middle power, a term whichgives the impression of sending somewherein the middle, the 193 nations that make up the UnitedNations.Our influence-- our economic and our political influence,

    • 10:16

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: is so much more than that.Despite our relatively small populationon almost any measure you care to name,Australia is well within the top 20 nations of the world.Our membership of a G20 is the most visible signof that, but far from being the only one.

    • 10:38

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Our economy is the 12th largest on earthand the fourth biggest in Asia.We're the fifth wealthiest nation on earth, based on GDPper capita.Our currency is the fifth most traded,and we are second in the world, behind only Norway,in the United Nations Human Development Index.In some areas, agriculture, natural resources, education,

    • 11:05

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: I believe we are actually a superpower.The head of population, we educatemore international students than any other countryon earth, by far.Our university system is the third strongest in the world,behind only the United States and the United Kingdom.We should be immensely proud of these achievements.

    • 11:26

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: But they also bring with them a serious responsibilityto play our part in building and maintaining global security.A top 20 nation, ladies and gentlemen,has to play a top 20 role.We've always taken our responsibility seriously,

    • 11:46

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: from the battlefields of three continents,defending our values to the meetingrooms of the League of Nations, and thenthe United Nations, both of which we've helped to found,and Australia continues to do so.As Zara mentioned in her opening comments before,the 2014 has been a big year for Australian diplomacy,

    • 12:10

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: with the UN Security Council, G20, The Indian Ocean RimAssociation.In each of these forums, we took the opportunity,as a chair, or a member, to shape the global agenda,and to encourage our international partnersto work together towards greater regional and global peace

    • 12:30

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: and prosperity.Between the United Nations Security Council,particularly, that Australia shone brightlyon the world stage.Our foreign minister was thrown head-first,into the deep end of the pool, I'm afraid.Virtually the first thing that Julie Bishop

    • 12:51

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: did after being appointed foreign minister,was to jump on the plane to New Yorkto chair the Security Council.Of course, she performed with great distinction, ablyassisted by our terrific foreign service,and she has set the pace and the standardfor Australia's exercise of influenceand championing Australian values

    • 13:11

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: right throughout the international arena.Perhaps, ladies and gentlemen, thereis no such thing as a quiet year in world affairs.But 2014 seems to have been particularly challengingfrom Syria, to North Korea, from Iraq, to Afghanistan,

    • 13:32

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: from a natural plague of Ebola, to the man madeplague of extremist terrorist groups, like Islamic state,and Boko Haram and all the way to Ukraine, the CrimeaCrisis, the instability, and the shocking lossof Malaysian Airlines, flight 17, in the skies above Ukraine.

    • 13:53

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Truly, we have had our hands full.Considering that none of these challenges have easy fixes,I believe that Australia has served its termon the council with great merit doing what we do best,working hard to build an international consensus,

    • 14:13

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: and focusing on security, human rights, and effective peacekeeping, and humanitarian responses-- allthat while promoting our values, serving our national interest,and enhancing our international reputation.Nothing, ladies and gentlemen, demonstrates our skills

    • 14:34

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: in effective crisis response betterthan Australia's leadership in the days and the weeksimmediately after the downing of MH17 in Eastern Ukraine.We move swiftly to demand justice was done for the 209people on board, including those 38 thatcalled Australia home, who was so shockingly murdered.

    • 14:55

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: The plane went down on Thursday.We moved immediately and successfullyto secure access to the crash site.By Friday, our diplomats in New York had drafted a resolution,and it will circulate to other members on the Security Councilon Saturday.

    • 15:16

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Negotiations began on Sunday.And by Monday, every one of the 15 membersof the Security Council was on board, including Russia.Without Australia's diplomatic effort,the council's resolution 2166, callingfor a full and thorough investigation of the MH17

    • 15:37

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: atrocity, would never have been adopted,and the matter would not have receivedthe international intention it needed,and indeed, it deserved.This is just one example of Australian diplomacyat its finest, but it's far from the only one.Take our work.Take our work to ensure the delivery

    • 15:57

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: of humanitarian assistance to the innocent victimsof the Syrian conflict, starting with resolution 2139, whichwe co-authored with Jordan and with Luxembourg.Take our work in drafting the council's first everresolution, number 2117, regardingillicit trade in small arms and in light weapons.

    • 16:18

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Take our work to protect peace keepers,including securing the release of Fijian peace keeperswho had been taken prisoner by Jabat al-Nusra in the GolanHeights.Or take our work to ensure the outcomes of the United Nationscommission of inquiry on human rightsin the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

    • 16:39

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: resonated internationally and werereflected in the work of the security council.In all these instances, our actionsreflected our values and our national interest,as they should, and our concern for peace, stability,and prosperity around the world, as they must-- but also,

    • 17:01

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: our regional perspective, and our desireto tackle strongly and directly issuesaffecting our region's stability and our region's well-being.This was our commitment to our friends and to our neighborsright throughout the region, who have entrusted us to representtheir concerns on the security council,and I believe we've very proudly kept that.

    • 17:25

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: But the job is not over yet.At the end of this week, Australiawill again, have the privilege of assuming the presidencyof the Security Council.It's a pretty good way to spend the penultimate monthof our two year term, and we've got big plans.First among them is continuing to fightthe scourge of terrorism, and specifically,

    • 17:48

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: tackling one of its nastiest off-shoots,the phenomenon of foreign fighters, who are a threat,not only to fragile, war-torn parts of the world,but also, in our own backyard, here, back home.So we'll use our second presidencyto bring the international community together

    • 18:10

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: to examine ways we can counter [INAUDIBLE] extremism,radicalization, as well as recruitment.We will also host the first ever dedicated council sessionand resolution on policing issues,particularly, to highlight the role that police increasinglyplay in peace-keeping and end in peace-building.

    • 18:33

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: It's an area where as the nation,we have a recognized track record, includingright throughout our region.We'll also work to improve the United Nations sanctionsregimes, to make them even more efficient and effectiveinstruments of international policy.To this end, we've been working with Finland, Greece,

    • 18:54

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: and Sweden on a comprehensive review of existing sanctions.And this work will underpin the proposalswe will take to the counsel next month.Ladies and gentlemen, I have no doubtthat Australia's term on the Security Councilhas paid long term dividends, both in terms

    • 19:16

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: of an immediate impact on issues like M8-17 and Syria--but also, less tangible ways.We have worked to further our values-- values of peaceand prosperity, democracy in human rights,protection of the weak and the vulnerable,and the right of all people to live their lives in peace,

    • 19:39

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: free from extremist ideology, and practice.And we have not only strengthenedour existing friendships-- we've done that, and those alliances.But we've also raised our profile and our influencewith countries where Australia, perhaps, isn't alwaysfront of mind.

    • 20:00

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: As I've said at the outset, Australians oftenunderestimate our own importance and the impactthat we can have on the world.Our recent experience on the Security Councilsuggests we do so at our peril.What we do matters.We are a top 20 nation.

    • 20:20

      SENATOR BRETT MASON [continued]: Others around the world know it.Thank you so much for all your work, ladies and gentlemen,to help Australians recognize and indeed,celebrate that achievement.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

    • 20:54

      LAURA KIMPTON: How do I get this to work, John?

    • 20:58

      JOHN MCCARTHY: I'll just drop around.

    • 20:59

      LAURA KIMPTON: Well, you're going to stand up.Yes.Can you hear me?Right.Thank you very much, Senator Mason.We appreciate your coming and sharing your thoughts with us .I'd now like to welcome our next speaker, whois our national president, John McCarthy.John has been one of our most distinguished diplomats,

    • 21:20

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: serving most recently as high commissioner in India.And before that, he was an ambassador in Japan, Indonesia,and the United States.He's also had appointments as an ambassador in Thailand, Mexico,and Vietnam.Other positions that he's held over the recent yearsis Chair of the Australia-India Council,Deputy Chair of the Australia-India Institute,Chair of the Advisory Board of Griffith Asia Institute,

    • 21:44

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: and co-convener of the Australia-Indonesia dialogue.Welcome, John.

    • 21:49

      JOHN MCCARTHY: Thanks.[APPLAUSE]Well, thank you very much, Zara.And thank you, Senator Mason, for coming along.And thank you all in the audiencefor coming to this second event, which we hope

    • 22:09

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: will be a series of annual events, which really focuson Australian foreign policy, as a whole, wherewe can discuss openly, where we think this country is at.But definition is, I think, as wide as that.

    • 22:31

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: I'm just going to give you a few reflections whichhave been on my mind for a few months, in the hopethat it will stimulate some debate and discussion.And I very much look forward to hearing my friend, Hugh, alsotalk on essentially, what is happeningin the Australian environment.

    • 22:53

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: Let me start by just mentioning that three days ago, Iwas in London.And I was having lunch with an old Japanese friend whoused to work very closely with Prime Minister Koizumi--somebody you would call probably to the center,

    • 23:16

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: perhaps center right of the Japanese political spectrum,and with two British foreign policy journalists.The discussion got on to David Cameron's travails in London.And anybody who's been in the UK recentlywould understand the sort of pressures that

    • 23:37

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: are on that Prime Minister.Well, we talked a little bit about whathe was facing on the foreign policy front,including the Ukraine, including Syria,including obviously, what has been happening recentlyin Iraq.And we talked also of what was happening in Northeast Asia.

    • 23:60

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And the comment was made by one of the British journalists,that the British really are moving awayfrom the closeness of their alliancewith the United States.There are too many other issues.There are too many other pressures on them--

    • 24:20

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: the EU issue, for one, Scotland for another.They alluded to debates in the Parliamentabout deployment into Syria, and the more recent debatein the British Parliament about deployment into Iraq.In all these cases, Cameron was having

    • 24:42

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: to negotiate with the people's representativesabout what British foreign policy should be.And they looked over, and they said, by contrast, Australiahas now become the closest ally, by far, to the United States.

    • 25:02

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And the suggestion was, perhaps, that itwas so close that we had very little room for maneuver.And these comments were made by both Brits and the Japaneseat a lunch.And it made me reflect.It's not the first time I've heard this comment.

    • 25:23

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: But it's the first time it's beingput to me by really serious thinkersabout the international environment.And I have to say, it didn't make me feel very comfortable.And I'll come back to that.That afternoon, I took myself for a bit of a walk,

    • 25:43

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: and I reflected on what that sort of conversationmight have taken place 20 years ago, taking us back to 1994,at a time when I was a representative in Thailand.

    • 26:04

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And had we had a conversation then about where Australiasat in the world, the conversationwould overwhelmingly have been about our embrace of Asiaabout a series of policies that havebeen put into place in the previous decade, which really

    • 26:27

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: meant that Asians took us seriously,as a part of that world.In particular, you look at the role Hawke playedin the formation of APIC.You have a look at the role Keating playedin enlarging APIC to a summit.

    • 26:48

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: You look at the work that Gareth Evans did.And interestingly enough, Miles Cooper,who was working at that time, is here today,in terms of Gareth's paper on Australia's role in the region.

    • 27:08

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: It was called comprehensive security.Nothing like it has been done since then, where it reallyset out where Asia sat, in terms of the Australian foreignpolicy spectrum.It was the time when Keating reallymade a push into Indonesia.And it was really a very, very active time.

    • 27:30

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: It was also the time that Gareth Evans put togethera construct for the Cambodian Peace Settlement.We were really very active on Asia,and we were regarded as such, and wewere regarded as a player.And that brings me to the next comment, and it's this.That if you were asked today, what

    • 27:51

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: is the defining feature of Australian foreign policy,my strong sense is that the responseyou would get from leading interlocutorsalmost anywhere in the world is the proximity, or the closenessof the United States alliance.

    • 28:12

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: I sense that almost without any reservation.And it wouldn't matter, whether youtalked with people in Europe or Northeast Asia,or Southeast Asia.And that, I think, makes a very, very major seat changein the way we are now looking at the world,

    • 28:34

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: as compared with the way we lookedat the world 20 years ago.Now, what happened?First off, I think quite clearly,the fact that in 2001, 9/11 occurred,which resulted in our involvement

    • 28:54

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: in two wars in the Middle East, and which was the prime mover,really, which led, and has led to our involvementin a third war in the Middle East.Wars in which we became involved primarily

    • 29:17

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: because of our relationship with the United States.Although, the more recent intervention, which weare making in Iraq, you can arguewas prompted by factors a little bit widerthan our relationship with the United States.But again, all this has added up to a global perception

    • 29:38

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: of where a seat at Australia sees itself in the world.At least, that is my submission.Now, were I to say this to many membersof the Australian foreign policy establishment, of which I once

    • 29:60

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: belonged, were I to say this to membersof either political party, I knowthat I would immediately be subject to a seriesof rebuttals.I would be told, look at our trade relationship.Look at the fact that we have either concluded or are

    • 30:22

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: likely to conclude bilateral trade agreements with countrieslike China, Japan, and India?I would be referred to the work wehad done in the construction of the East Asia Summit.Although, many more countries than just Australiawere involved in that exercise.

    • 30:46

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: I would be preferred as one alwaysis, when discussing our relations with any countryto the number of two way ministerial visits.This is always used as a yard stickfor the quality of the relatioinship,with little reference often being madeto the content of those visits.

    • 31:07

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: But those are the sorts of responses I would get,and I would be told, and nobody would be seeking to mislead me.I would be told with a totally genuine approachfrom our interlocuttors, from my interlocuttor,that how can you be right?Look at what we have done.

    • 31:29

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: I would then have to come back and say,what are the arguments in favor of the way which we lostsight of our goals in Asia?And it's one of these situations where you either get it,or you don't.It's hard to explain.But I'm going to make some sort of an effort,

    • 31:50

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: and I would mention that I had conversations in the last 24hours, with a couple of colleagues whospent many, many years in Asia.And the first comment, I think, isthat if you have been the host of numerous visitsby Australian political politicians to Asia carrying

    • 32:14

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: good briefs, with a lot of good will,you get the strong sense that thereis some intellectual understandingof the importance of Asia.But there is not the energy and commitment to that relationshipwhich is necessary.It is far, far easier for a member

    • 32:34

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: of the Australian political classto go to Washington to be flatteredby people who are an enormously significant people,but with a capacity for flattering smallernations, which is really quite astonishing.And our politicians go.They spend a couple of days, then they are overwhelmed,

    • 32:55

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: and they come back.And it is also, of course, immensely easierto talk to New Zealanders, to Canadians, to British, than itis to try and get involved in the depthsof the political scene in Jakarta, let alonesitting, going through interpreterswith a group of very senior Chinese.

    • 33:18

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: It is just tougher.And it is tougher for people who belong essentially,to an Anglo-Saxxon Western tradition,and a political environment whichis totally different to that on our closer neighbors.There are exceptions to this.The biggest exception I say to this rule

    • 33:38

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: is probably that I've dealt with is Gareth Evans, who reallydid seek to get a grasp of what was happening in Asiaand did it with considerable effect.Although, his style would not always have been whatyou might call the Aussian way of doing business.But he really did get a grasp of it.

    • 33:59

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And there are others too.But the mainstream sense you get from the Australian politicalclass embracing Asia is that they get it intellectually,but they don't get it emotionally.The other point is this-- our political style.I've said this time and time again.As a Western, democratic country,

    • 34:21

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: whose countries of primary foreign policy focusare simply different to ours, often does not work.And that is because the Australian political styleof a lot of noise, a lot of abuse,a lot of immediate reactions to events,does not sit well when it's at the end of a ticket type

    • 34:44

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: or a computer in Asia.The misunderstandings that you havebecause of that particular possibility,or that particular way of doing things, are really manifold.Another point.Partisan politics here really gets absurd,

    • 35:05

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: if you're in the foreign policy setting.It's better now than it was a year ago.But it is really absurd.The white paper that was done on Asia,and it was a genuine effort to try and getsome sensible material on Asia.It was a genuine effort to try and rejuvenatethinking in Australia on Asia.

    • 35:25

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: It was a genuine effort to try and getsome worthwhile policies going.Of course, there was lots of political [INAUDIBLE] going on.18 ministers in the former governmenttook credit for parts of it.By the time the politicians have played around with it,it will have worn no resemblance to what I was supposed to bear.And of course, the opposition really

    • 35:46

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: damned it with faint praise, because it wasn't theirs.But there was a lot of very useful work in that,and it was put in not so much by government servants,but by members of the Australian communityright across the board, from the NGOs, to the center,to the left, the business, to the center, to the right.

    • 36:07

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And yet, it was ignored.And it was ignored.And it was ignored because of partisan politics.And that's damaging.And it's silly.And it shows what's wrong with our approach.One government said it was all great.We're not going to give you any money.The other government just ignored it.It's gone.It wasn't ours, so it's irrelevant.

    • 36:29

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: The other point that worries me is this referencewe get occassionally to the Anglosphere.The Anglosphere actually goes back to Cecil Rhodes.But that's a bit odd.That's gone a bit crazy.But lately, it's been revived as a concept,and it's been revived as a concept I think partly,because of the military exercises in the Middle East,

    • 36:52

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: where Anglo-Saxon countries, or countries of Anglo-Saxon originhave been fighting together, but also,because of the intelligence establishments linkagewith the five [INAUDIBLE].And you sometimes get the sense, in this country,that that is actually more important than the purposeswhich it is supposed to serve.

    • 37:13

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And the classic example of that was the Indonesian [INAUDIBLE]of a year ago, where a lot of peoplewho thought they are very smart havedecided to-- as we all know, spy under Indonesian leadership.Now, in seeking to resolve that, it was clear by the approach

    • 37:35

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: that we took, that the fact that that five [INAUDIBLE]establishment was sacrosanct, wasmore important than the relationship with Indonesiawith which that particular set of toolsis actually supposed to enhance.And again, I think none of that has been lost.

    • 37:56

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: Finally, and I don't want to get on to the refugees issuebecause it's complicated, and it's detailed,and it's a debate in itself.The one point I want to make hereis not only-- it's because of the waywe have handled this refugees issue.And by the way we handle ordinary visas

    • 38:17

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: coming to this country.We give the impression to the outsidethat we are an unfriendly, unwelcoming, frightenedcountry.And that's not good.That's not embracing Asia.

    • 38:37

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: So if I want to say anything, and my first point is this,is that we have lost our way on Asia.The second point I want to make is this.And I leave this subject more to my friend, Hugh.In terms of our dealing within Asia,the impression that we have quite obviously created

    • 39:00

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: by the first set of propositions that I've made,the importance of the alliance, isthat we think Asia is less important than our relationshipwith the United States.That is the impression it gives.Everything is about impressions, and thatis the impression it gives.

    • 39:22

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: Now, this is surely alliance.It's not straightforward.It's not clear.The relationship with Japan and Indiaactually probably benefits from the factthat we have a strong security relationship with the UnitedStates, because it suits their policies.I think at the same time, there is a certain curiosity

    • 39:48

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: as to why there is absolutely no light between our positionon security issues, and on American positions on securityissues.Both the Japanese and the Indians,of course, who are not allies, have considerable lightbetween their positions on security issuesand American positions on security issues.

    • 40:11

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: So they're probably curious, but itdoesn't worry them, because it's basicallyin their overall interest.My sense of China, and there are people herewho are much more expert than I am on this,is that Australia is of major importanceto them, because of resources.And if they hear our political bane, which

    • 40:34

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: passes for political discourse in this country, about them,I think they probably ignore as somethingwhich provided, it doesn't get excessive,they basically accept-- they ignore it.I might be being a little bit uncharitable towards ourselves,but that's my sense, a bit.

    • 40:55

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: It might, however, get excessive,and they might, at some stage, take a different view.I don't, by the way, suggest we shouldbe pleasing the Chinese on everything we do-- not at all.But what we need to do, I think, ishave a policy which is based on Australian interests.And if you turned on the second pageon the financial review, Australian Financial Review,

    • 41:17

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: you will see a very interesting set of commentsabout the way we are approaching this Beijing-sponsored Asianinfrastructure investment bank.It's very curious if we do avoid going into that particular bankfor political reasons.

    • 41:39

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And the way that article reads stronglysuggests that this, at least, for the moment,is our position.So again, it's Australian interests.Now, where does this harm us?I think in a changing world, and Asiais changing, if we are not seen for speaking

    • 42:01

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: for ourselves on security issues, people will not listen.They will see us possibly and happily correctlyas an American satrap, and that American satrapdoes not speak independently.

    • 42:22

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And any views we might have will simply be discounted.And finally, and here, again, I revert to the Middle East.And that, again, is a subject on its own.And I don't really wan to get into those arguments,because that would take another 15 minutes.

    • 42:44

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: But one thing about the amount of political energywe put into those issues is that it detracts from whatwe can do in this region.No country has unlimited foreign policy or political energy.A lot is beginning to happen in Southeast Asia.We've had a new government in Indonesia.

    • 43:05

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: There are problems in Thailand that are unresolved.There are problems in other parts of Southeast Asia thatare also unresolved.We have to deal with Southeast Asianson major security issues, how we are, indeed, goingto cope with the rise of China.And our propensity, our capacity to do all this

    • 43:27

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: is derogated from if we continue to be seen as a satrap.OK.That's enough.[APPLAUSE]

    • 43:45

      LAURA KIMPTON: Thank you, John.And now, our next speaker is Professor Hugh White, who'sa fellow of this institute.Hugh is professor of strategic studies at the AustraliaNational University, where his work focuses particularlyon Australian strategic and defense policy-- also, AsiaPacific security issues and global strategic affairs

    • 44:06

      LAURA KIMPTON [continued]: as they inference Australia and the Asia Pacific.He was the first director of the Australian Strategic PolicyInstitute.Welcome, Hugh.[APPLAUSE]

    • 44:19

      HUGH WHITE: Well, thanks, Sarah.It's a great pleasure to be here.Nice to see a few old friends in the audience.Well, a big subject, of course.Not much time.I'll go fast and be very-- well, I'll justfocus on a couple of issues.Setting priorities, of course, is always hard.It touches on a point that John just made.

    • 44:43

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And there's always lots of interesting things happeningout there.As Senator Mason said, there's lots of interesting thingshappening.Australia's role in UN Security Council,our role in the G20, the tragedy of MH17,even the significant challenge to regional,

    • 45:05

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: and to a certain extent, even global orderopposed by current developments in the Middle East.These are significant issues for Australia.But in the end, we do have to say priorities.And if we think about Australia's foreign policy,a key question we've got to start with by asking is whichof the issues that we face will do most

    • 45:28

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: to shape Australia's future.And it is worth bearing in mind that foreign policyis serious in the end, because sometimes-- not all the time,but sometimes in country's histories,the way we conduct our foreign policy shapesthe whole future of the country, because it shapesthe way the international setting in which we function--

    • 45:50

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: we or any other country in which we functionand the extent to which we can realizeour basic national objectives of prosperity and security.We, in Australia, are not used to thinkingof foreign policy in these terms,because for quite a long time, for about 40 years,we haven't had to, because for 40 years, roughly speaking,

    • 46:12

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: Australia's international setting has been extremelystable and extremely congenial.It's been very easy for us to builda stable, secure, prosperous society on this continentover the last 40 years, because the international setting hasworked so well for us.And we've got out of the habit of thinkingwhat we need to do to make sure that that setting remains

    • 46:35

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: so stable.We've got complacent.Now, these thoughts are partly prompted by Gough Whitlam'sdeath last week.Big subject, very ambiguous character.Made lots of mistakes.Got a few things right.

    • 46:58

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And as much as anything, huge achievements obviously,domestically, but as much as anything,what Whitlam got right was China and a visit to China.Whitlam's approach to China helpedto fundamentally shape Australia's place in the world,fundamentally shape the kind of place in the world

    • 47:19

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: that we have today, and more broadly,contributed in significant ways to shaping the waythe whole of Asia evolved.We have got very used to thinking of the way Asia,in fact, evolved after the Vietnam War.It could have evolved in lots of different ways.There might not have been an openingbetween America and China.America might not have stayed engaged in Asia.Very strong reasons to think that both of those

    • 47:40

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: are real possibilities.In fact, that didn't happen.In fact, America stayed engaged in a close relationshipwith China, which provided the foundations for so much whichhas happened.And Whitlam contributed to that.And he contributed to that first of all,because he, of course, living and working through the '50sand '60s, where Australia did nottake it's international setting for granted,

    • 48:01

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: placed foreign policy at the heartof his national leadership.And because he balked at that task, real imagination,and energy, and courage.And I would say that today, again, in Asia,we face fundamental changes in the way Asia works,

    • 48:22

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: which you do threaten the kind of orderthat we'll see that do threaten our confidence.Our international setting will allow Australiato live in the security and the prosperitythat we so readily now, after 40 years, take for granted,and that our failure, the failure

    • 48:43

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: of our national foreign policy system, community, whatever,to engage in that, is a major failure of national politicsand policy.The heart of that big subject, in itself-- the heart of thatis, of course, the fundamental shift in the distributionof wealth and power in Asia, occasioned by the rise

    • 49:05

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: of China and other countries.But China, let's not kid ourselves,is the bigger story than all the others put together.This is a fundamental redistributionof wealth and power, and therefore,a fundamental shift in the foundations of the Asian order.And for us to imagine that Asia keeps

    • 49:26

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: on working for the next 40 years,the way i has in the last 40 years,in the light of that shift is heroically optimistic,is a polite word for it.But that is precisely the assumptionthat underlies a foreign policy, both of the governmentand of the opposition in Australia today.The assumption underlying it is that Asia

    • 49:46

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: can be transformed economically and untouched, unaffectedstrategically and politically that US primacycan remain the foundation of the Asian order for as far aheadas we can see.And that orthodox is expressed in a phrase whichI am as confident as I am of anything,will come to be seen as a real quintessence of folly.

    • 50:10

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: We don't have to choose.We don't have to choose between America and China.So let me spend a couple of minutes on that.Well, first one-- because we don't want to choose.That's right.We don't want to choose between America and China,but we don't have a secure, prosperous futureif we are forced to make any kind of stark choice

    • 50:33

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: between America and China.We don't want to choose.Agree with that.Whether we have to choose, depends, of course,a bit on what we mean by choice.And to slightly oversimplify, youcan put into two categories for the big choicesand the small choices.The big choice is the idea of a fundamental binarychoice-- the sort of choice we actually made in 1949,you might say.We go with America an abandoned China, or we go with China

    • 50:56

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: and abandon America.But we don't have to make that choice now yet,though I'll come back to that.But the other choice we need to think aboutare the small choices, the choices that governments,countries make all the time, where do we do what they want?Or do we do what they want?

    • 51:17

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: Do we give them a preference, or to give them preference?That kind of choice, the small, tactical, but cumulative andcollectively, very significant choicesabout how we balance between two competing powers.We make those choices all the time,and we're making more of them as every year passes,

    • 51:38

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: and they're becoming more significantas every year passes, and they're doing more and moreto condition a circumstance under which we might or mightnot have to make that big choice in the not-to-distant future.Now, that's happening, because the US and Chinahave increasingly become strategic rivals.We haven't had to choose, because the US and China have

    • 51:60

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: not seen one another as rivals actually strategically,economically, or any other significant way.That ends.That ended, I think, the historians would judge,from China's point of view, somewhere around about 2008or 2009, which I started very clearly pushingfor what Xi Jingping calls a new model of great power relations.

    • 52:23

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And let's be clear.When he says a new model of great power relations,he means he doesn't like the old one.He means he doesn't accept an Asian orderbased on US primacy.And that's new.Now, from America's side, the yearof escalating strategic rivalry, Ithink will be dated from 2011.In fact, from November 2011-- in fact,from the speech that Barack Obama gave in our parliament

    • 52:45

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: announcing the pivot, announcing America's intentionto use every element of American powerto preserve the status quo, the status quo that China rejects,quite unambiguously rejects.And in particular, since that has happened,Australia has more and more faced small choices.They're not actually that small-- small choices

    • 53:08

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: between the US and China all the time.The AIIB, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bankchoice, which John referred to, is right now,a very current, very interesting,quite resonant example of this.But there are lots of others.In fact, it's happening all the time,because in the last few years, a new and very important

    • 53:29

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: diplomatic reality has emerged for Australia.In every field except economics-- and of course,that's a pretty big exception.But in every field except economics, strategicallyand politically in particular, Australiais seen by the US and China, primarily in relationto the other.That is, both of those two great countries

    • 53:52

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: see Australia, see their relations with Australia,manage their relations with Australia, primarily in termto where Australia sits in the escalating, strategic rivalrywith the other.We have become a pawn in their rivalry.And that's a very dangerous place to be.It's worth making a point that the smaller choices we're

    • 54:16

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: making are not just the straight, binary onesbetween the US and China, because thereare more than two plays in the region.The choices we're making about Japan are equally significant.One of the most remarkable thingsabout the present government's foreign policyhas been its approach to developingstrategic relationships with Japan.

    • 54:36

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: I think that that approach is full of error.It's not because-- I don't think it'a wrong but bad idea because China doesn't like it.I certainly don't think it's a bad idea, because I don't thinkJapan should be secure and that weneed to contribute to a regional order in which Japancan be secure.

    • 54:57

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: I think it's a bad idea, because the approach that the Abbottgovernment is taking, which the Abbott government isso strongly supporting is not going to delivera secure future for Japan.It's also not going to deliver a secure future for Asia.It's not in Japan's, or Australia's,or Asia's interests.We are making choices to support something which is not goingto work for them or for us.

    • 55:20

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And that just does touch on the broader point.That is the choices that we make, these small choices,are important, not just in themselves.They are quite important.Things like the AIIB, things like [INAUDIBLE] and Darwin.These are important issues in themselves.But they matter, because they framethe way the whole-- these are the bricks from which

    • 55:44

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: the new Asian order emerges, little choicesby us, by others.But we shouldn't underestimate the importance of our choices.After all, it's not just the government.It's also the opposition that keeps telling usthat we're a terrifically important and significantcountry, and that what we say and doreally counts in the world.We don't act as if we really believe

    • 56:05

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: that when we think about the way we conduct ourselvesin relation to Asia.I think, at least to that extent, they're right.What we do does matter.And because we don't-- as a country,because there's a foreign policy community,we're pretending we're not making these choices.We're not making them well.

    • 56:28

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And indeed, I think both government and oppositiondon't want to identify the choices we're making,don't want to explore, and explain, and choose carefullyabout the choices we're making, because theydon't want to address the underlying, tough realitiesthat have to be faced.Now, that's not what Whitlam did.

    • 56:50

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: When Whitlam went to China, and of course, the visit to Chinawas the culmination of a long and very focused and energeticprocess of policy development.He was making a choice-- a very difficult and politicallycourageous choice-- a choice which, in retrospect, wasof course, 100% right.In fact, was vindicated within days of his visit by the fact

    • 57:12

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: that Kissinger was there at the same time.But that kind of choice-- well, Idon't think Whitlam would have said, we don't have to choose.And neither-- to be fair to the other side of politics,did liberal politicians, like Gorton and Fraserthink we don't have to choose.These people really engaged in whatwas happening in the Asia of their day

    • 57:32

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: and were willing to take the debateto their Australian public, explain the choices we faced,and make them intelligently.And the Australia we live in owes a lotto the way in which they did that, because the Asia welive in owes a lot to the way we did that.And that brings me finally, and very briefly,to the big choices, Because it is, of course, entirely

    • 57:53

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: possible-- entirely possible.Not inevitable, but entirely possible that Australiawill face the big choice at some stage.Anyone who thinks that escalating robberybetween the United States and Chinacould not produce a situation in which Australia findsit impossible to maintain both relations as they exist todayhasn't been paying attention to how dangerous Asia has become.

    • 58:15

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: And we must do what we can to reduce that likelihood,to reduce that risk.If we don't want to be forced to makea big choice between American and China,we must do whatever we can to reduce escalatingstrategic rivalry to contribute to the emergenceof a new US-China relationship, which will notlook like the old one, but which could provide a basis for them

    • 58:40

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: to step back from the escalating rivalry of recent years,and find a new way to live in peace.Nothing is more important to Australia's futurethan if that succeeds, because if we fail,we will have to make that big choice.And don't rely on the United States to get it right.

    • 59:00

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: I have great respect for the United States.The traditions of the United States have state craft.And it was, after all, a US stage craft,amongst others, that delivered the stable order of the last 40years.But no one who talks to Americansabout the future of their relationship with Chinacan but be struck by the fact that America does not

    • 59:20

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: know how to respond.They're not getting this right, and Iunderstand why they're not getting it right, because it'svery difficult for them.But boy, if Australia just hits back and assumesthat the Americans are going to get this right,we'll be making a heroic and historic era.We have to think this through for ourselves.We have to do what we can to shape the region ourselves.

    • 59:42

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: We have to work with other countries in Asia,as well as the United States and Chinato shape a new order in Asia whichlimits the risk of escalating rivalryand enhances our chances of security and prosperity.There could be no higher priority for our diplomacy--no higher priority-- nothing that's happened in the Security

    • 01:00:05

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: Council while we're up in there, is nearly asimportant to Australia as this.Nothing that will happen in the J20is nearly as important as this.Not that they're not important.They're just not as important as the big one.There's no higher challenge to our diplomacy today,

    • 01:00:26

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: and to our foreign policy today.I think you could argue, there's been no bigger challengeto our foreign policy in our historythan to find a way to shape the Asian order to makesure we don't have to make those choices,and there'll be no bigger failure, if we get it wrong.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

    • 01:00:51

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you very much, Hugh.Now, we have 15 minutes in which both Hugh and John will takequestions at the same time.Well, I mean that they're positionthat you can choose if you'd liketo put your question through to one or other of them,or perhaps, to both, and they both reply.

    • 01:01:14

      LAURA KIMTON [continued]: Could I please have hands?Now, do we have a rolling microphone?Right.And we have the first one here please, Richard Bernarski.If you could state your name and any relevant affiliation.

    • 01:01:31

      RICHARD BERNARSKI: Thank you.Richard Bernarski, President of New South WalesChapter of AWAA.This morning, we've heard two, I hope,speeches that might, in fact, have a resonance and influenceon the way both the government and the opposition

    • 01:01:54

      RICHARD BERNARSKI [continued]: react to the world's situation and future.And it's a pity that the chap whois representing Senator Brett Mason couldn't stay to hear it.I hope that he gets a full record.My common observation, if I may, to both speakersis that this relationship with Chinais becoming more stringent, more difficult.

    • 01:02:17

      RICHARD BERNARSKI [continued]: There's a recent report from the foreign correspondenceclub in Beijing that shows that the Chinese are givingshorter and shorter shrift to the normallymore liberal allowances that theygave to foreign correspondents in China.They're restricting them in all sorts of respects,and all sorts of regions.

    • 01:02:38

      RICHARD BERNARSKI [continued]: We have a very small project thereto send the best and brightest of our junior-- of studentsin media to study and to work as interns in Beijing media.And this is the second year it's coming up.Thank goodness there's still allowing us in.But the way we are being treated,and the Chinese are very subtle about.

    • 01:02:60

      RICHARD BERNARSKI [continued]: The way we're being treated in all sorts of respectas are American statesmen who go thereis a clear message that the Chinese are notgoing to tolerate much longer the assumption that we make,and that the Americans make that they call the shots in Asia.So I just want to congratulate both speakers and say,

    • 01:03:22

      RICHARD BERNARSKI [continued]: it's well thought out.It's visceral.It's important.And let's hope that the Australian governmentand opposition get some resonance from this.Thank you.

    • 01:03:32

      LAURA KIMTON: So Richard, is that reallya comment, rather than a question?

    • 01:03:35

      RICHARD BERNARSKI: Comment, rather than question.

    • 01:03:36

      LAURA KIMTON: OK, thank you.

    • 01:03:37

      RICHARD BERNARSKI: Well, that's the question.That's a comment.

    • 01:03:38

      LAURA KIMTON: Are you happy not to respond?The next question, Miles Cooper.Two part.

    • 01:03:45

      MILES COOPER: Miles Cooper.Until recently, with our foreign service,like to endorse what John McCarthy said about how we'reseen regionally and globally, and also, his point about how,while our senior political leaders might getit intellectually about Asia.By instinct, they don't.That's the way I put it.

    • 01:04:05

      MILES COOPER [continued]: I think there's a couple of factors--I've got a comment and a question--a couple of factors as to why that might be.One is that our political class is notreflective of general Australian society.It doesn't reflect our contemporary community.Secondly, we've seen the rise of a political class which

    • 01:04:27

      MILES COOPER [continued]: has developed form within.It doesn't reflect.It doesn't have a background in broader Australian society.They're operatics, largely, and I think that they therefore,have not had the exposure to Asiaor of other sectors of Australian societylike business, universities.Even now, military and our police,I think, and parts of our bureaucracy.

    • 01:04:47

      MILES COOPER [continued]: It's very difficult to shift those factors.I think there are some institutional and policysettings which would assist.It'd be just to John or Hugh if youthink there are things that could help giveour political class greater exposureand understanding of the region to help correct this situation.

    • 01:05:10

      MILES COOPER [continued]: In the meantime, I guess we shouldbe grateful that at least some of our leadersdo get it about Asia intellectually and eveninstinctively.And I should add that I think our foreign minister,our current foreign minister got it earlier from evenbefore she became a politician.Thank you.

    • 01:05:26

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you.Which one?

    • 01:05:30

      HUGH WHITE: Look, I'll just take the pointon the political class.I agree, and I think that you hear that view commonlyexpressed, not only in the context of foreign policy,but in the context of domestic policy generally.I think it's a real challenge for this country.But I'm not particularly qualified to make that comment.

    • 01:05:52

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: It's, I think, just pretty obvious.And the other point, I just thinkon how do you make the political class more aware?I think probably, they're two things.Serious visits to Asia.But the thing that we'll count mostwill be indications from the leadership

    • 01:06:12

      HUGH WHITE [continued]: of the political parties, that if you really want to get on,you have to understand the region.That will get a reaction out of the political class.

    • 01:06:26

      JOHN MCCARTHY: Yes.I very much agree with the basic points you're making Miles,and I just want to give a tenative diagnosis of my own.I think there are two factors herewhich have led to a reduced quality of focusby Australian politicians on both sides of politics

    • 01:06:46

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: to the sorts of questions we're talking about.One has to do with their experience.If you look at the prime ministers,for example, all of Australia's prime ministers,up to and including John Howard, came of age politicallyduring the Cold War in Asia in the '50s and '60s.It came of age politically in an era

    • 01:07:08

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: we debate about Australian foreign [INAUDIBLE] policywere brilliant at that time of Australian politics.The more recent generation of Australian political leadershipcome of age in an era which is actuallyas much as the end of the Cold War in Asiain 1972, but the end of the Cold War full stop, in an erawhere foreigner strategic policy hardly counted.And that's not bad, in a sense.It was because we had a very stable, peaceful order,

    • 01:07:30

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: and there wasn't too much work to be,and there weren't big choices to be made.Now, there are big choices to be made.These guys found them, find the book.These people find themselves, I think, caught short.The second point, I guess, is one of-- itgoes back to my reflection on Whitlam on education,if I can put it that way.It is very striking, to me, how people like Whitlam,

    • 01:07:54

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: and Fraser, and Hawke, and Keating, and Howard, allwere quite well read in history, and knew quite--that it's not so much they knew so much about Asia.They knew a bit about the world.And I do think their capacity to draw on history,think about these issues in a longer time frame-- Whitlam,

    • 01:08:15

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: of course, being an extreme example--did better fit them for the challenges they're facing--that they faced than the intellectual furnitureof our present generation of leaders seems to provide them.

    • 01:08:31

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you.Next is Jeff Miller.Then we have that-- you'd be the-- if there's time, Allison.But we have two ahead of you.Jeff?

    • 01:08:41

      JEFF MILLER: Thanks very much.Jeff Miller, from the Sydney branch.Just like to comment that I think the point that the--

    • 01:08:47

      LAURA KIMTON: Is that working?I don't think it's on.

    • 01:08:51

      JEFF MILLER: Sorry.I think that the point that we haveto think for ourselves is particularlyappropriate at the moment, because if you look at boththe US and China, I think neither of themare in particuarly good shape.I was very struck by the front cover of the latestissue of Foreign Affairs, which had

    • 01:09:12

      JEFF MILLER [continued]: on the cover, "See America," land of decay and disfunction.And this is quite striking, coming from the councilon foreign relations.And I think indeed, the US public, at the moment,it's reeling from the financial crisisand from the terrible wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,

    • 01:09:32

      JEFF MILLER [continued]: neither of which seem to be likely to produce anythingdesirable.In the case of China, I must say,one gets the impression that the new regime is, in a way,curiously old fashioned, and that despite Xi Jinping'sobvious abilities, he seems to be determined

    • 01:09:54

      JEFF MILLER [continued]: to impose repressive and restrictive partyrule on a population that's increasingly better educated,better informed, and is naturallyvery entrepreneurial and individualistic.So I think we can't really have enormous confidencein either regime, which brings us back to the point

    • 01:10:16

      JEFF MILLER [continued]: that you made.We really have to think very hard for ourselves.Thanks.

    • 01:10:20

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you.

    • 01:10:25

      JOHN MCCARTHY: Thanks, Jeff.If I could just-- basically, we've done this before, mate.We basically agree with you by taking the country view.That is that of course, both China and Americahave huge problems.But I guess what strikes me is not so much how many problemsthey have, but how bloody strong they both are.

    • 01:10:46

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: America, of course, the big challenge for Americais not that it's power is declining.I don't believe it is in any absolute sense,but that it misunderstandings where its power sitsin the world, that it still aspires, assumesthat it can play a role and in a worldthat including in Asia, which it no longer has the power to do.

    • 01:11:07

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And I think that effects what's going wrong,and not just in Asia, but in the Middle East and elsewhere,as well.But it does remain fantastically strong.I do hope China doesn't underestimate it.It has great depths of strength and resilience,just not as much as they think.

    • 01:11:28

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: And likewise, although China does have huge problems,and there are very interesting questionsabout where China goes from here, particularlyunder Xi Jinping.I don't think it would be sensiblefor us to make any plans about our own place in Asia,or the way we see Asia evolving, whichdidn't pay a lot of attention to the probabilitythat China will not just overtake the UnitedStates to become the biggest economy in the world,

    • 01:11:49

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: but keep growing faster than the United States for a long timeafter that.Perfectly possible that within a few decades, time framesthat are quite relevant.Some of the choices we are making today,China's economy will be half as big, or twice as bigas America is.Now, for someone my generation, that'salmost unimaginable that it does nowseem to be a serious possibility.

    • 01:12:09

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: So certainly, there are problems in both countries.But I think it's their awesome strength whichmakes me most worried about what happensto the future of their relationship,and how important that will be for us.

    • 01:12:20

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you.Now, if we do have two more questions that I can see,we're virtually out of time, because we'rehaving the Presentation of the Fellows Awards.So your excellency and Allison, I'll try.If we could both try and make themquick questions and quick answers,so we can keep to time.

    • 01:12:35

      AUDIENCE: Here we go, Ambassador of Argentina.For both Hugh and John, you mentioned both the questionof this bank, development bank that Chinese are promoting.And certainly, when you go to the agenda between 20infrastructures and essential thing precisely in this year.And you could feel somehow there is

    • 01:12:58

      AUDIENCE [continued]: some frustration in a lot of quarters,and the way that the World Bank, and the MFfunction, the slow response to the changes.So it shouldn't be surprising to anybodythat China and other countries are actuallygoing ahead with that.And probably, most of the money needed for infrastructurewill come from China anyhow.So I was a bit surprised for the position of-- the papers that

    • 01:13:23

      AUDIENCE [continued]: are reflected in Australia has now got to be a part of that,because obviously, if you have any sort of doubton which is the way that we take, probably, it's betterto be in that line, that feeling.

    • 01:13:37

      HUGH WHITE: Absolutely.I think it's a no brainer, personally.And obviously, some in the cabinetdo too, according to press reports.

    • 01:13:50

      LAURA KIMTON: Are you going to comment off Hugh?

    • 01:13:52

      JOHN MCCARTHY: Yeah, exactly.China has the money.The other international financial institution stage,they don't have a very good reputation.China does have experience in engineering,the most amazing exposure to infrastructureand its own country in history.But of course, China will run the bank as much as it can,

    • 01:14:17

      JOHN MCCARTHY [continued]: according to China's rules and to suit China's interests.Gosh, fancy running an international financialinstitution on that basis.How shocking.

    • 01:14:25

      LAURA KIMTON: Yeah.

    • 01:14:26

      JOHN MCCARTHY: And this will challenge American leadershipin Asia, which is why America opposes it.If you're in Washington, and your objectiveis to preserve US primacy as a foundation to the Asian order,you are right to oppose the AWIB,that that shows that that's a dumb objective for Americato set out to achieve.

    • 01:14:44

      LAURA KIMTON: Thank you.Allison?Final question.

    • 01:14:47

      AUDIENCE: My question is rhetorical, in effect,because it's really for Senator Mason, who isn't hereto hear it.How is it, I would ask him, that the Abbott government,that when in opposition, opposed our bid for the security

    • 01:15:08

      AUDIENCE [continued]: council, saying it was a waste of moneyis now taking credit for our performance there.And yet, the slogan with which we ran that bid was wedo what we say.Now, in fact, in spite of what he told you this morning,we have not done what we said.We have.For instance, immediately, we got into the security council,

    • 01:15:31

      AUDIENCE [continued]: reduced our aid, which we had increased before,in order to get the seat.We have lost contact with the countrieswe first said were so important to our bid, particularly--

    • 01:15:43

      LAURA KIMTON: Allison, I'm sorry to be rude,but I appreciate your question, but weare running out of time, because Richard Miles will be arriving.

    • 01:15:51

      AUDIENCE: And finally, we have received a lot of criticismfrom the United Nations on our treatmentof refugees and other things.And so for us to just bask in being a top 20 nationin the security council is a little gratuitous, I think.

AIIA 2014 National Conference Session 1: Australian Foreign Policy

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Abstract

A panel of speakers address the 2014 Australian Institute of International Affairs conference. They address Australia's long-running alliance with the United States, the growing U.S.-China rivalry, Australia's term on the United Nations Security Council, and the country's status as a G20 nation.

AIIA 2014 National Conference Session 1: Australian Foreign Policy

A panel of speakers address the 2014 Australian Institute of International Affairs conference. They address Australia's long-running alliance with the United States, the growing U.S.-China rivalry, Australia's term on the United Nations Security Council, and the country's status as a G20 nation.

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