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President's Desk

Newsletter February-March 2019

We are already into Autumn…and what a warm start it promises to have! It is also hotting up in terms of AIIA events planning for the next few months.

Looking back, more than 80 members and other interested people joined us at the Law Lecture Theatre on Tuesday February to listen to Tasmanian Senator Lisa Singh speak on Pivot to India: Why Australia’s Relationship with the Subcontinent needs to step up. As the only MP in the Australian Parliament of Indian heritage, Lisa spoke articulately and with commitment about the need for Australia to respond to the changing role of India in world power frameworks. Her lecture was well received and there was a plethora of questions. Joint state manager of DFAT, Harriet Baillie, added a linked context with the Varghese Report to the Australian Government on India economic strategy. A report of the event made it to the next day’s edition of The Mercury!

Next event will be on Tuesday March 26 in Law Lecture 1 at the University. This will be an intriguing panel discussion on China, the Indo Pacific and International Broadcasting: honing the sharp edge of Australia’s soft power. We are fortunate to have an excellent panel of Michael Shoebridge, Director of Defence and Strategy, Australian Strategic Policy Unit (ASPI), Prof James Chin, Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania and Geoff Heriot, one of the co-authors of the ASPI Report Hard news and free media as the sharp edge of Australia’s soft power. Geoff is also an AIIIA member, a former corporate and editorial executive with the ABC and now a PhD student. In the words of our AIIA national president, Allan Gyngell, Australia’s foreign policy has never had to deal with a world like this. With unsurpassed pressure of the world order how can Australia best defend and promote its interests and values as a democratic middle power in the Indo Pacific? A formal notice for this event, which will start at 6pm preceded by 5.30 pm refreshments, will be sent out shortly. The Asia Institute is partnering with AIIA for this event.

As I mentioned in our January newsletter, we are having two events on the Antarctic this year, one in May and one in September. The May event, to be held on May 8 (venue to be confirmed) at 6pm will again be a panel comprising IMAS senior researcher on Antarctic governance, Dr Julia Jabour, researcher on Antarctic environment, Andrew Jackson and Australian Antarctic Division Director Kim Ellis. They will discuss the impacts of the Antarctic Treaty System—past, present and future, especially pertinent as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty. An event notice will be sent out closer to the date, but this is a special event for the diary!

We are also trying to schedule an April event on the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute, led by Prof Matt Killingsworth from the UTas School of Government.

Some members have requested not to receive the print version of the Australian Journal of International Affairs. The Journal is subsidised by State branches of the AIIA, like ours. After discussion with our national office, it has been agreed that, as of April 1, any new or renewing members can opt to receive the hard copy journal by becoming a Premium Member and pay an annual fee of $60. Upon expiry your current membership will stay unchanged at $50 and you will then no longer receive the printed journal. All members can continue to access the journal online.

Interviews are being held for the national director of the AIIA, and I hope we will be able to advise members on the successful candidate by the end of March. It is a strong field, which augurs well for the organisation.

Kim Boyer