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25 August 2021

US ties

Scott Morrison has refused to say whether he supports the United States’ withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan as Canberra struggles to adjust to Washington’s increasingly inward-looking agenda.

Questioned on ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Morrison would only say that Australia’s role in Afghanistan was “entirely conditional …

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18 August 2021

The tragedy of Afghanistan

US and Australian involvement in Afghanistan lasted twice as long as the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and about four times longer than the two British invasions in the nineteenth century combined.

So, the takeover by the Taliban this week, which happened much faster than the Biden administration expected, is a historic failure …

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11 August 2021

Climate pressure

The global temperature is likely to rise 1.5 degrees by 2040, according to the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report, released on Monday, also suggests that even if carbon emissions are drastically lowered, the temperature will rise 1.6 degrees by 2060.

There is a broad consensus that global …

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4 August 2021

Abbott goes to India

The Morrison government has sent former prime minister Tony Abbott to India to revive long-running efforts to strike a trade deal between Canberra and New Delhi.

Australia has more active former prime ministers than in the past, due to the high turnover of party leaders in recent years. It is sensible for governments to use them as special …

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28 July 2021

Barrier Reef showdown

On Friday, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted not to downgrade the heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef – for now.

Australia has eight months to provide a progress report on the reef’s condition, which environment minister Sussan Ley says will be a “positive story”. During this period, the UN Glasgow Climate Change Conference …

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21 July 2021

Telstra’s Pacific step-up

The Morrison government has moved to prevent a possible Chinese takeover of regional mobile phone company Digicel Pacific, pressing Telstra to participate in a plan to buy the company for as much as A$2 billion.

Telstra confirmed on Monday that it was looking at the deal, which includes “financial and strategic risk management support from …

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14 July 2021

India’s new look

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi overhauled his ministerial team last week as he attempts to address falling support caused by his mismanagement of COVID-19.

Modi dropped twelve senior cabinet ministers and brought in thirty-six new members, expanding the ministry from fifty-two to seventy-eight members, reducing its average age and introducing …

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7 July 2021

Indonesia COVID battle

Last week, the Indonesian government announced a partial lockdown and increased health spending and limits on foreign arrivals in response to a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.

New infections have hit record numbers over the past week, and the daily death toll has risen above 700 in the world’s fourth most populous country.

President …

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30 June 2021

Red China’s birthday

The Chinese Communist Party celebrates its 100th anniversary this week, along with another significant milestone: it regained sovereignty of Hong Kong twenty-four years ago.

The official celebrations on Thursday will highlight China’s economic and military development since 1921, when foreign colonial powers controlled concessions across …

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23 June 2021

China tactics

The Morrison government has decided to lodge a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization over Chinese sanctions on Australian wine exports.

The move, following a similar appeal to the WTO in December over China’s anti-dumping penalties on Australian barley exports, suggests the government is ramping up its formal response to China’s …

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