Australian Outlook

Australia in the World

25 Apr 2019
By Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA and Dr Darren Lim
What can political science tell us about who will win Game of Thrones? Source: C.C. Chapman, Flickr

In episode 17 of Australia in the World, Allan and Darren discuss geoeconomics, Australia’s consular work overseas and what political science can tell us about Game of Thrones.

Allan and Darren begin on the topic of geoeconomics, which is a core focus of Darren’s research. Allan first offers his practitioner’s perspective on the definition and context of the term, with Darren following with his academic view. Both recognise that nation-states have long been practicing geoeconomic activities, but that the increasing prominence of the term very much reflects the particular challenges of the present moment. A recent Wall Street Journal article on Myanmar’s successful renegotiation of infrastructure contracts with Chinese financiers becomes the focal point of a discussion of the strategic consequences of economic activity, which in turn sees Allan and Darren debate whether the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota and the Australian port of Darwin indeed harbour such strategic significance as to warrant the geoeconomic frame. The discussion rounds out with Darren asking Allan for his advice on how future Australian governments can integrate geoeconomic approaches into future policy.

The very high-profile case of Julian Assange, as well as two other members of the Australian community (Hakeem al-Araibi and Yang Hengjun) shine a spotlight on the consular work of Australian diplomats. What is the decision-making calculus the government, and consular officials on the ground, take when deciding whether and how to make representations on behalf of Australians who somehow fall afoul of local authorities while abroad?

Allan and Darren round off their discussion with references to hit TV show Game of Thrones.

Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA is national president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and an honorary professor at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific.

Dr Darren Lim is a lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help both with research and audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.