Australian Outlook

Issues Brief

08 Apr 2014
Colin Chapman

Andrew Robb has worked hard to create the second foreign policy success of the Abbott government: a free trade agreement hot on the heels of one with South Korea. The ABC’s 7.30 probed but could not find any areas of weakness in an interview with Mr Robb.   The farmers grizzle, America mocks but Robb’s trade deal is a win for Australia and an even bigger win for Japan. The Financial Times thinks that the United States while struggling to win support for its Trans-Pacific Partnership is none too pleased with Australia’s FTA. 

Afghans appear to defy the Taliban in crucial election says the BBC’s chief international correspondentReuters believes that because the election process was so smooth there is a glimmer of hope that there will be stability when foreign forces leave.

Not much hope in Ukraine where the suggestion has been made that the Kremlin fomented unrest in the east to provoke the need for an invasion. This, says the board of the New York Times, is a familiar script.

Finally, if you have an hour to spare, it’s worth listening to my old friend and colleague from The Observer, John Cornwell a celebrated author, talk to Philip Adams about his new book “The Dark Box”, a history of the Roman Catholic practice of confession.