Western Australia

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A Critical Juncture in the History of Pakistan

Recorded on the 22nd of March

At our March Event, Professor Samina Yasmeen (AM) talked about how Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture in its history as an independent state.
Since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government led by Imran Khan was removed by a coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) in April 2022, the country has been sliding into a dysfunctional state. Economic decline with prospects of debt default, growing inequality, and the threat of renewed militancy, require serious thinking by Pakistan’s political leaders. But politicians have engaged in a war of counter narratives to either regain or retain power. And this takes place against the backdrop of the Pakistan military’s ever-present role in politics.
The nature of these narratives suggests either an inability or unwillingness of Pakistan’s leaders to focus on addressing the issues that could determine Pakistan’s future. The presentation will look at these dimensions and explore what could be done to bring Pakistan back from the brink of self-induced implosion.

Malaysia: First 100 Days of the Anwar Government – How Many More?

Recorded on the 15th of March

In partnership with AIIA Tasmania, AIIA WA was pleased to host a Webinar-only discussion on Malaysian politics following the elections held on 19 November 2022, which resulted in a hung parliament and a patchwork coalition led by long term opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim.  The 2018 ground-breaking election, at which the Barisan Nasional (National Alliance) lost government for the first time since the nation’s independence in 1957, heralded the start of a new form of politics in Malaysia. Shifting coalitions of members of parliament resulted in three different Prime Ministers during the parliamentary term.
This panel discussion explored the reasons for the elections results, how the Anwar led coalition was able to form government, how the first 100 days have gone, and what these early days say about the longevity of his leadership. As an avowed internationalist and a reputation as a global thinker, the panel will also look at Anwar’s foreign policy priorities and what his influence is likely to be in the region. The panel was moderated by President of AIIA WA Brendan Augustin with Dr James Chin, a leading scholar of contemporary Malaysian politics and a Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania and Vice President of AIIA Tasmania; and Jahabar Sadiq, who runs the online news portal, Malaysian Insight, and has been a journalist covering Malaysia and region since 1988. Both are regular guests on international news outlets reporting on developments in Malaysia.

The Outlook for International Affairs for 2023

Recorded on the 22nd of February

In December 2019 Australians were shocked by the “Forever Fires” that raged through 12 million hectares in Australia’s South East. Since then, prospects that once seemed abstract have materialised in rapid succession: a global pandemic, massive floods, and the biggest military conflict in Europe since WW2.These events changed how we live, the way our economies are managed, and (arguably) governments.  At this event, former US Consul General Robin McClellan and Professors Mark Beeson and Gordon Flake to talked about what effect these changes might have for international relations in 2023.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Malaysia Dato’ Sri Saifuddin Abdullah

Recorded on the 30th of January

White and black metal frame

At our first event in 2023, in collaboration with the Forrest Research Foundation, we had the pleasure to host Dato’ Sri Saifuddin Abdullah, until recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia talking to us about the evolution of politics in Malaysia in an address titled “New Politics 2.0: Multiracial and Moderate Malaysian Democracy”. In the discussion after his address he also shared his reflections on his time as the Foreign Minister of this key regional country.
As a founding member, Malaysia continues to play a key leadership role in ASEAN and the country is very actively engaged in broader regional and global issues. Malaysia and Australia share a relationship that is anchored in history but is also dynamic, contemporary and broad-based, including: exceptional people to people links; the second most important economic relationship for Australia in Southeast Asia; and a long-standing defence partner, both during conflicts and peacetime through the Five Power Defence Arrangement and the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program . In January 2021, the prime ministers of the two countries elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP)​.

Professor Hugh White on The Future of US China Relations and What it Means for Australia

Recorded on the 17th of November

It is now clear that the fracture in US-China relations goes very deep. It is not driven by disagreements about trade, freedom of navigation, or even human rights. It is driven by fundamental and seemingly irreconcilable differences between Washington and Beijing about the nature of the international order and their respective roles in it. Washington seeks to preserve its place as the primary power globally, and in East Asia. Beijing seeks to take its place as the primary power in East Asia, and as at least an equal player in a multipolar global order.
There is little doubt about which side we in Australia would wish to win this contest. But our policy should not be based purely on wishes. It must take careful account of which side we should expect to win. This is now the key question facing Australian foreign policymakers – and it is among the most important questions we have ever faced. Judging that question requires us to consider the global context [including the crisis in Ukraine], the regional balance of military and diplomatic advantage between America and China, the underlying relativities of wealth and power, and the balance of resolve between them.
In this presentation, Hugh White argues that a sober analysis of these factors strongly suggests that China will win the contest and emerge as the primary power in East Asia and the Western Pacific. That has immense and unsettling implications for Australia’s foreign and defence policies today and into the future.

Australia’s image of itself and in the world – as seen by Kamahl

Recorded on the 29th of September

At this event, Kamahl shared, through a discussion with the AIIA WA President Brendan Augustin, his reflections and perspectives on how Australia’s image of itself – and how others have seen us – has changed in the nearly 70 years that he has lived here.
His improbable journey from an awkward international student in a strange land to becoming among the first persons of Asian heritage to emerge in the Australian entertainment industry, at a time when he was at risk of being deported due to the immigration policy, is a remarkable story. Overcoming significant barriers, which prevented many other performers of non-European background to establish themselves, he went on to build a successful career in Australia and across the world, selling more than 20 million records, including achieving number one hits in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.

Book Launch: The Consul with Ian Kemish

Recorded on the 25th of August

As head of Australia’s consular service, Ian Kemish played a central role in the nation’s response to some of the most dramatic events of the early twenty-first century, including the September 11 attacks and the Bali bombings. He led the small band of Australian consuls as they confronted the new challenges of global jihadism, supporting families who lost loved ones, and negotiated the release of Australians unjustly detained abroad.
In The Consul, Kemish offers a unique and personal perspective on Australia’s foreign affairs challenges of the last two decades, from hostage diplomacy to natural disasters and evacuations from war zones. This timely and engaging book also asks us to consider how world events have changed the way we travel now and in the future.

Playing to win: Australian sports diplomacy in Asia

Recorded on the 28th of July

At our July event Robbie Gaspar and Chris Ciriello, two sportsmen who have been involved in sports at elite levels in Indonesia, Malaysia and India, shared their views on Australian sports diplomacy
Australia’s recognition as a sporting nation has delivered soft power dividends over many years. But few of these dividends have been delivered in Asia. Arguably, because Australia is focused on particular sports which, with the exception of cricket in South Asia, do not have a large spectator base in Asia. Chris and Robbie will discuss the prospects for Australia’s sporting brand to be better utilised to build relations in these key countries and the region more broadly.

Global Citizen in the Age of the Pandemic

Recorded on the 22nd of June

More than a decade ago, Michael Sheldrick helped co-found an Australian initiative known as Global Citizen after being one of the first recipients of the AIIA WA Bursary for Studies in Asia Program. In March 2020, at the request of the World Health Organisation, Global Citizen turned its attention to supporting Covid-19 relief efforts worldwide.
Within weeks, the organisation produced its biggest show ever reaching 150 countries, with over 100 musicians. It raised $127 million for Covid-19 relief. In the 2 years since, Global Citizen has raised billions of dollars to address problems ranging from voter registration, vaccine inequity, climate change and, most recently, Ukrainian refugee efforts.
From vaccine nationalism to the war in Ukraine, it is clear that our current approaches to global cooperation are failing. In this presentation, Michael proposes new approaches for addressing the key challenges of our time. He draws on insights from the last decade working alongside the UN, governments including that of President Zelenskyy, and grassroots organizations from Poland to Nigeria.

Timor-Leste: Twenty Years of Independence

Recorded on the 26th of May

At our May Event, AIIA WA hosted a panel discussion to mark the 20th anniversary of the independence of Timor-Leste. Less than 600km from Australia’s North, Timor-Leste has featured prominently in Australia’s foreign policy for many decades: from its annexation by Indonesia in 1975, its struggle for independence, and its development since.
Two of AIIA WA’s past presidents, Sue Boyd and John Goodlad, and our current president, Brendan Augustin, have all had significant involvement in Australia’s relationship with Timor-Leste from the mid 70’s through to the present.
Sue, John, and Brendan discussed their personal experiences in this relationship and their views on the key issues pertaining to it.

Australia and India Trade and Economic Agreement: Moving the Dial?

Recorded on the 28th of April

On 2 April 2022, Australia and India signed the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA), after more than ten years of negotiations.  At our April Event, Dr Jeffrey Wilson, one of Australia’s pre-eminent trade and investment policy experts, provides his analysis on the prospects for the new agreement to move the dial in the economic relationship.
Despite strong historical and cultural ties, India has long underperformed as an economic partner for Australia. This has been due to a lack of complementarities between the two economies; differing economic strategies, and the legacy of past business experience.
The Australian Government’s goal is to make India a top three export market by 2035, and third largest destination in Asia for outbound investment. A key driver for this ambition is the risk posed by Australia’s strong reliance on trade with China during an era of geopolitical uncertainty. India provides an opportunity to diversify our trade as the “world’s fastest growing major economy”. But how can this agenda be realised given past experience, and how can we leverage the free trade agreement for developing new economic ties?

Western Australia and Solar/Hydrogen with Professor Peter Newman AO

Recorded on the 24th of March

At our March event, Professor Peter Newman AO, an author of the next IPCC mitigation report, showed how producing solar energy and green hydrogen is likely to transform Western Australia’s economy in a geopolitically significant way. The slides used in this presentation can be downloaded here
The existing geopolitical order of manufacturing was based firstly in places near coal in Europe and America and then to wherever coal and gas could be shipped easily. That world is changing. Solar and wind energy are now cheaper than any other form of power and it is needed for all parts of the zero carbon economy. Solar and wind-based electricity are needed to make Green Hydrogen which is the only real option to decarbonise process industries. Thus solar power and hydrogen will be the basis of processing minerals and hence down-stream manufacturing. Hydrogen is fundamentally difficult to store and shipping will be extremely expensive. This is a thermodynamic necessity with geopolitical implications. The world will move towards the production of solar power and green hydrogen near to where minerals are mined.
WA has huge potential to generate solar and wind power in regional areas near mineral deposits required for this new zero carbon economy. Solar and wind are already being procured for local mining and in the production of Green Hydrogen for use locally. This shift in geopolitics needs to be understood. Professor Newman will show how Western Australia could become a major source of processed minerals (green steel and green aluminium), food products, and even manufacturing of batteries and electric vehicles. The potential to transform our economy from that of a primary commodities exporter to that of a high quality zero carbon producer will need a completely new set of partnerships between governments and industry.

Australia’s Foreign Policy and Domestic Politics : A Discussion with Ian Kortlang

Recorded on the 24th of February

To start our 2022 program, the WA Branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, hosted a discussion with Ian Kortlang who reflected on his 50 year career in the making of Australian foreign and domestic policy.  From his first deployment to Vietnam in 1970 as an officer in the Australian Army to diplomatic postings in Asia, Africa and Europe, to senior domestic advisory roles in State and Federal politics and a long – and still ongoing – successful career as a political strategist for domestic and international clients, Kort has had a unique vantage point from which to observe how Australian domestic politics has intersected with its foreign policy evolution. During the discussion, in the form of Q and A with AIIA WA President, Brendan Augustin, he shared his firsthand political insider insights of this interplay, including letting us have a glimpse into how domestic policy battles can influence Australia’s international relations – and its reputation

The World in 2022 – Reasons to be Cheerful: Reflections of a Diplomat

Recorded on the 9th of December

At our traditional Christmas event we were pleased to have John R Goodlad as our end-of-year speaker. In this special lecture, John took his lead from the Ian Drury and the Blockheads song “Reasons to be Cheerful” expanded on what is going right in the world as we enter 2022. John reflected on noteworthy positive developments to show that it is not all darkness and gloom when it comes to international relations.
John is our Immediate Past President and was a Member of the National Committee of the AIIA for 9 years. He has represented the Institute on various occasions including a lecture at NATO Headquarters, leading a delegation to the Republic of Korea and participation in at the second track Australia-New Zealand/ASEAN talks in Kuala Lumpur in 2019. He is a former Australian diplomat who served in Thailand and Indonesia and he has a keen interest in the immediate region and Australia’s place in the world. John is the Honorary Consul for Colombia in Western Australia and is on the Committee of the Consular Corps of WA Inc. John is also a Master of International Law from the Australian National University. He speaks fluent Thai and Indonesian, and some Mandarin, French and Spanish.

Hong Kong’s “Real Return”: the decimation of one country, two systems with Dr Jie Chen

Recorded on the 25th of October

At our October event, Dr Jie Chen reviewed the tumultuous political transformation of Hong Kong after the 1997 handover from Britain to China. While Deng Xiaoping had pledged “one country, two systems” for the governance of the former British colony, the implementation of the principle was always lopsided. For example, the central government failed to honour the promise of universal suffrage for both Chief Executive and Legislative Council. Popular dissatisfaction, particularly manifest in the Umbrella Movement of 2014 and anti-extradition protests in 2019, triggered systematic and brutal crackdowns by the Xi Jinping leadership and led to the imposition of the National Security Law in 2020.
This presentation explains why Beijing’s approach has shifted from a relatively liberal policy towards a vehement existential assault on democratic institutions, civil society and rule of law – celebrated by mainland patriots as the achievement of the “real return” of Hong Kong. The presentation ended with some comments on Hong Kong’s future including the struggle of what remains of the democracy movement.

Submarines, Security, and Alliances with Hugh White, Susannah Patton, and Peter Dean

Recorded on the 28th of September

On 16 September the leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced the creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership called “AUKUS”.  Through AUKUS, the three governments reinforced their commitment to support each other’s security and defense interests; and as its first initiative the three leaders committed to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
In the minutes, hours and days that followed governments, the press and commentators from around the world have been reacting to this announcement, which some have characterised as the most important defence and security policy decision Australia has made in over 50 years. Rarely – if ever – has an Australian policy decision received such global attention. France, whose contract to supply Australia non-nuclear-powered submarines was cancelled, has reacted strongly and is rallying its European neighbours to its cause. China and other regional countries, such as Malaysia, have warned that the decision could create a new arms race in the Indo-Pacific. Commentators are making assessments of what this means for the United States’ posture in the Indo-Pacific; its relations with China; and its ability devote increasingly scarce diplomatic and military resources to other regions such as the Middle East and Europe.
During this Webinar, moderated by the new President of AIIA WA, Brendan Augustin, our distinguished panel share their views on the rationale for this historic announcement and the possible ramifications for Australia, our region and the world.

Cybersecurity with Dr Mohiuddin Ahmed

Recorded on the 23rd of September

The internet was not designed with security in mind. People with malicious intent are taking full advantage of its openness to disrupt the activities of individuals, enterprises, and states. It is assumed that the cyber attack on the Australian Parliament House in March came from a state-based actor. There has also been a recent surge in cyber incidents in the healthcare sector. Cyber criminals understand that this sector is a vulnerable pressure point and hospitals hit by ransomware attacks have had to part with significant sums of money. Nation states have also paid millions in ransomware attacks in 2021 alone. With other forms of cybercrime, the stakes can be far higher. Cyber attacks on military hardware such as unmanned aerial vehicles, could have decisive impacts on military engagements. So clearly, cybersecurity has implications for international relations.
In this talk, Dr. Ahmed will focus on how easy it is to launch cyber attacks, Australia’s stance on cyber security, and what individuals can do to ensure cyber safety.


Space law, good governance, and advancing our space strategy with Professor Erika Techera

Recorded on the 26th of August

Innovative technological advances, new space actors, and ambitious strategies have drawn increasing attention to space and space-related activities. In Australia, focus has been sharpened further with the establishment of the Australian Space Agency and publication of the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028. Effective space governance is critical if we are to achieve our strategic goals and advance space-related activities in secure, safe, and sustainable ways. Australia has reformed its domestic space legislation, and other nations have also adopted laws that support their national agenda, but more harmonised approaches are needed to avoid potential risks and conflicts. International law has a potential role to play, yet the five international space treaties were adopted decades ago, and have since been supplemented with soft law and transnational arrangements. Furthermore, governance gaps remain as we seek to engage in commercial activities in space and consider possibilities such as living and working in space. At our August event, Erika Techera will discuss the space law and governance landscape, highlight national legislative and strategic developments, and explore some areas for future development.


The Return of Democratic Alliances with Professor Benjamin Reilly

Recorded on the 24th of June

A commitment to democratic values is becoming a new organising principle in international affairs. Major military (eg NATO), economic (eg OECD) and security (eg the Quad) groupings are increasingly promoted as alliances of liberal democracies, over and above their original core purpose. The Biden administration is planning a “Summit of Democracy” as it seeks to rebuild faith in the US-led order and its global alliances, while the UK has proposed expanding the G7 into a “D (democratic) 10”. The Australian government is a vocal supporter of this trend, arguing that the world is “increasingly polarised between autocracies and liberal democracies” and advocating “a world order that favours freedom”. This presentation examines this new framing of the international order, and its consequences for Australia’s relationships in the Indo-Pacific region. Does this new rhetoric suggest a shift in Australia’s traditionally “realist internationalist” foreign policy towards a more “liberal internationalist” model, where we will actively seek to promote democracy and the values of liberalism globally?


Human Traffic with Chris Douglas

Recorded on the 25th of March

After drug trafficking and weapons smuggling, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates human trafficking to be the third most profitable illegal business in the world. In many countries, it is the most profitable. The International Labour Organisation estimates the annual profits to be US$34.6 billion globally, devastating the lives of around 21 million people including 5.5 million children.
Human trafficking is on the increase. It occurs in Australia and the risk of Australians abroad being trafficked is increasing. At our March event, Chris Douglas will discuss the scope and scale of human trafficking, how it works, who is at risk (and how), and international and Australian efforts to prevent it.

Lurching Toward Normalcy: Insurrection, Inauguration, Impeachment with Professor Gordon Flake

Recorded on the 25th of February

While we were watching the insurgency on Capitol Hill, the result of Georgia’s runoff election turned that historically red state blue.  With Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, President Biden can pursue aggressive policies on carbon emissions.  That alone has major implications for politics in Australia and the way we live. What else?
But how durable are the Democrat majorities? The vote against impeachment shows that Donald Trump still exerts great influence over the Republican Party.  And just moments after the impeachment failed, Trump declared that his movement “to Make America Great Again has only just begun”.  For the next two years, the political battles in the US most relevant to Australia will be fought between moderate and progressive Democrats.  But what will the Republican Party look like when it will be contesting seats in Congress two years from now?


AIIA WA Christmas Event with the Hon. Professor Stephen Smith

Recorded on the 10th of December

Australia’s security since the end of WW2 has been underpinned by the alliance with the US.  By the end of the Cold War the US was a hyperpower, presiding over a world where rules based order, economic globalisation, and democracy were widely held norms.  “That America and that world”, writes Hugh White, “is gone forever”.
Even if Joe Biden is fully committed to restoring US hegemony in the Indo-Pacific, his immediate attention will likely be focussed on healing a divided country and containing Covid-19.  He may also face an uncooperative and activist Senate bent on following the isolationist tendencies of President Trump.  As a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a former Minister of Defence, Professor Stephen Smith is uniquely placed to understand what a Biden administration may mean for the Australia-US Alliance and the Indo Pacific.


Panel Discussion: Australian Trade after Covid-19

Recorded on the 25th of November

Australia is facing its worst trade outlook since the Great Depression. Covid-19 has caused a global economic recession. Lockdowns all over the world have constrained shipping and manufacturing. Global supply chains have been severely disrupted and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. In the midst of this, China is blocking billions of dollars’ worth of imports from Australia in a move that many observers view as a retaliation to Australian policy.
At our November event Madeleine King MP, Dr Jeffrey Wilson, and Darryl Daisley discussed Australia’s current trade outlook, the problems Australian exporters are facing, and what can be done about them.


US Presidential Election 2020

Recorded on the 28th of October

At our October event, two prominent Americans living in Perth with an intimate knowledge of the US political system, Professor Gordon Flake and Robin McClellan, shared their insights into the coming election and what either outcome may have meant for the US, Australia, and the rest of the world.



Not Always Diplomatic: An Australian Woman’s Journey through international affairs

Recorded on the 24th of September

This podcast is a recording of the launch of Not Always Diplomatic: An Australian Woman’s Journey through international affairs, a book by Dr Sue Boyd. It was launched at The University Club of Western Australia Auditorium by the Official Visitor of the Australian Institute of International Affairs for WA, The Governor, The Hon Kim Beazley AC. His speech starts at 3 minutes 45 seconds. There is also a foreword by the Publishing Manager of UWA Press, Kate Pickard, starting at 21 minutes and 20 seconds. Sue Boyd’s presentation starts at 24 minutes and 20 seconds
Not Always Diplomatic chronicles the life of a pioneer in international diplomacy and a career that has spanned the globe. Sue Boyd has been the head of Australian diplomatic missions in Fiji, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bangladesh. She also had postings at the United Nations in New York and in the former East Germany. Sue Boyd has a story to tell from almost everywhere.
She shares this account of her life from her formative years in India, Germany, Ireland, Egypt, Cyprus and Britain through to her years at The University of Western Australia, where she was the first woman to become president of the student guild, beating, among others, Kim Beazley. She then explores her life as a high-flying official firmly ensconced in the ever-changing diplomatic landscape of the 80’s and 90’s, sharing with us her view of the practice of foreign relations, as seen from the trenches.
“An engaging account of life at the coalface by one of Australia’s most active and effective diplomats – and real pathfinder in leading our diplomatic establishment out of its sexist dark age” Gareth Evans, Foreign Minister 1988-96

The India-China conflict in the Himalaya: Cultures, Ecologies, Geopolitics

Recorded on the 26th of August

The recent violent clashes between India and China in Ladakh drew the world’s attention to a decades-old frozen conflict that is often neglected. The possibility of violent conflict though, is only one challenge facing the Himalayan region. In this presentation, Dr Alexander E Davis  argues that the slow violence inflicted by state building and militarisation, intimately connected to geopolitical tensions, is the primary challenge facing the region and threatens its ecologies, cultures and languages. The Himalaya is home to three biodiversity hotspots and a mosaic of ethnic groups, many of whom speak threatened languages. Its ice-deposits feed most of Asia’s large rivers. In recent years, India and China have pursued large-scale infrastructure development in the region, to enable greater militarisation, resource extraction, and tourism. The region’s complexity is rarely matched by international relations scholarship, which is overwhelmingly focused on the possibility of violent conflict between state actors. Drawing on historical research and pre-Covid fieldwork in Ladakh in India, this talk will look at the other side of the India-China clash in the Himalaya: the interconnections between ecology, culture and geopolitics in the region

Academic Power Is Moving East

Recorded on the 22nd of July

The 21st Century is frequently forecast to be the Asian Century. The term is usually understood with reference to the rapid growth of the economies of China and India, and the increasing influence it affords them in international affairs.
What is less salient to many is the growing academic power of Asia. At our July event, Tayyeb Shah will explore academic relations between Australia and Asia. Tayyeb will also discuss the potential consequences of the COVID19 virus for the Australian tertiary education sector and possible responses to them.

The politics of pandemics: COVID19 and the international order

Recorded on the 2nd of April

Professor Mark Beeson will discuss how the rapid spread of the coronavirus COVID19 is bringing about an equally rapid transformation in domestic and international politics.  The preparedness of national health systems and the responses of political leaders around the world are being thrown into sharp and often unflattering relief.
The absence of leadership from United States at either the domestic or especially the international level is especially noteworthy. China’s response, by contrast, has – after a false start – been remarkably effective. This presentation considers what the crisis may mean for the relative standing of American and Chinese forms of politics and economics. Are democracies capable of responding to the challenge? What are the implications for free market capitalism as it succumbs to yet another crisis? We may not know the answers for a while, but the questions are increasingly urgent.

Back from the Barracks: Why Indonesia’s Military Still Reigns Supreme

Recorded on the 26th of February

This presentation by Natalie Sambhi takes a socio-cultural look at why Indonesia wants, and might need, a politically active military. For twenty years, democracy in Indonesia saw the formal exit of the military from politics, the end of its independent business interests, and its nominal return to barracks. Despite those developments, and the need for further reform and professionalisation, it appears that under President Joko Widodo, the Indonesian military is again becoming influential in politics, society, and economics. Jokowi has surrounded himself with former army generals as key cabinet ministers, power brokers, and close advisors.
What explains the enduring role and influence of the armed forces in contemporary Indonesia? What is the impact of current civil-military relations on Jokowi’s second term agenda, particularly on maritime security? With an imbalance of power and unresolved issues from the past, how can Indonesia make the most of its military’s capacity and influence in the face of pressing traditional and non traditional security issues?

Crisis in Yemen

Recorded on the 27th of November

The war in Yemen has been raging for more than 4 years with catastrophic outcomes for its people. Out of a population of 28 million, 24 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Fifteen million of them are on the brink of famine. Vital infrastructure in Yemen has been destroyed and its people are suffering the worst outbreak of cholera in history. This is the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, yet there is hardly any international news coverage.
Melissa Parke is a member of the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen. At our November meeting, Melissa talked about how what began as a civil war, has broadened into a regional conflict involving powerful states. She discusses the parties involved and their responsibility for human rights violations according to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the responsibility of states that are supplying weapons and other assistance to parties to the conflict.
To see the video that was played at the start of this presentation click here
The read the Report of the detailed findings of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, click here


Defending the Maritime Rules-Based Order: Perspectives from the Indo-Pacific

Recorded on the 23rd of October

Maritime disputes are multifaceted. They include overlapping claims of sovereignty and jurisdiction, contests over freedom of navigation, island-building and militarization, and the use of ‘grey zone’ tactics to harass, intimidate and advance strategic interests. Maritime disputes have become highly visible microcosms of broader discord between the US-led regional security order, and challenger conceptions of order that see a bigger role for rising powers in generating new rules and alternative interpretations of existing international law. In this presentation Dr Bec Strating compares and contrasts the maritime security interests of key Indo-Pacific states and their attitudes to maritime rules, and reflect on the potential implications for regional maritime order building.

Australian soft power (and soft thinking) in the Indo-Pacific

Recorded on the 25th of September

Australia is a country with considerable, if under-utilised, reserves of soft power – the ability to achieve influence internationally via attraction rather than compulsion. In this presentation Professor Ben Reilly will discuss some claims regarding Australian soft power, including our democratic political system, multicultural society, and open economy, all based on broad-based norms of social equality and the rule of law. It will then discuss how these ideas have found their way into recent Australian foreign policy doctrine via recent White Papers, in which norms and values have been elevated to frame the Indo-Pacific region.

Beyond Trump

Recorded on the 28th of August

Donald Trump’s election campaign has been described as ‘explosive, populist, and polarising, and his direct to market use of social media has been unprecedented. His election signified a powerful rejection of establishment consensuses on trade, immigration, and other issues. And while constraint on executive power was a key intention in the design of the US Constitution, it is hard to imagine that the presidency of Donald Trump will not leave some lasting impacts on the nature and practice of US politics.
In this panel discussion, Professor Gordon Flake, Michael Wood, and Dr Sherry Sufi explore the implications of the administration of President Donald Trump.

Rethinking Global Governance

Recorded on the 24th of July | Click here to see a video of the slides used to accompany this presentation with the audio.

The world currently faces a number of challenges that no single country can solve. Whether it is managing a crisis-prone global economy, maintaining peace and stability, or trying to do something about climate change, there are problems that need collective action on the part of states and other actors. Yet despite global governance seeming like a good idea, it’s proving increasingly difficult to provide.
AIIA Research Chair Professor Mark Beeson  provides an overview of the key issues and problems currently facing global governance and explains why international cooperation has become so difficult. Mark’s presentation is a snapshot of his new book, Rethinking Global Governance.

Poverty and Development: Theory vs Reality

Recorded on the 26th of June | Click here to see a video of the slides used in this presentation with the audio.

With reference to case studies in Africa and South East Asia, Dr Paul Schaffer challenges the theory of Export Oriented Industrialisation to show that successful development can be driven by strategies tailored to specific circumstances and that are directly focused on the alleviation of poverty in agricultural communities.
Dr Schaffer also talks about middle income countries of Latin America explaining how regulatory and training responses to high risk governance and corruption have blocked the professionalisation of management and caused conflicts in public expenditure. Dr Schapper will discuss the outlook for the resolution of this issue, arguing that there will need to be difficult transition from procedural compliance to performance accountability in public sector administration.


Midwifery in PNG: Making a World of Difference

Recorded on the 22nd of May |Click here to see a video of the slides used in this presentation with the audio.

Sara David is a midwife and the founding CEO of Living Child Inc. She has been working in the Keram River area of East Sepik Province where, in recent decades, women have had little access to family planning, pregnancy and birth care and immunisation. Sara will discuss how she has negotiated cultural taboos and myths to enable the delivery of equitable, evidence based birthing practices with greatly improved outcomes for mothers and babies.
Sara now organises teams of midwives to provide support, simple teaching resources and professional development to local health workers and village volunteers. She one of the inaugural recipients of The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s new Australian Aid: Friendship Grant program.

Australia-Indonesia Politics and Trade : Indonesian Election and IA-CEPA

Recorded on the 17th of April |To hear the audio recording of this event with the slides that accompanied each presentation click here

On 17 April 2019 up to 193 million eligible voters in Indonesia went to the polls. For the first time in Indonesian history, the president, the vice president and members of the local and national legislatures were elected on the same day. The two presidential candidates were the incumbent t President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and former Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto. The election was a re-match of the 2014 presidential election, in which Widodo defeated Prabowo.  The new make-up of parliament is of significant interest to Australia, as it will determine whether or not the recently signed Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) will be ratified by Indonesia and, if so, how long it may take to get through. If ratified the IA-CEPA is expected to help build economic prosperity throughout the region since most predictions have Indonesia on track to be the world’s fifth-largest economy by 2030.
Join our panelists Phil Turtle, Ella S. Prihatini, and Associate Professor Hadrian Djajadikerta to discuss what the presidential election and the IA-CEPA means for Australia.

John West| Asian Century… on a Knife Edge

Recorded on the 20th March 2019

In his recent book, “Asian Century … on a Knife-edge,” John West questions the conventional wisdom that the 21st century will belong to Asia. He argues that in recent years many observers have succumbed to a case of “Asian-Century hype.” In reality, Asia is suffering from stunted economic and social development. John identifies seven economic, social, political and geopolitical challenges for realising an Asian Century, but doubts that Asia’s leading economies have the political will to tackle these challenges. Further, he identifies numerous possible sources of economic, social, and political crisis.
To read more about John West and this event click here

Professor Richard Whitman| Brexit: where next for the UK?

Recorded on the 14th of March 2019

The UK plans to leave the European Union on 29th March 2019, nearly three years after a referendum vote in June 2016. Negotiating Brexit has been a major preoccupation for the UK over the last two years. It has caused major political dislocation in the UK and divided the government, parliament, political parties, and the public. The UK has been a participant in the European integration process since 1973 and over the last 45 years its politics, economy, society, and place in the world have been increasingly tied to Europe. Brexit is a major point of departure for the UK. On the eve of the UK’s departure from the EU Professor Whitman will untangle the intricacies of the Brexit process, look at the state of play in the UK’s relationship with the EU, and offer an assessment of the UK’s future place in Europe.
To read more about Professor Richard Whitman click here