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AFA Weekly is a free email published each Wednesday by Schwartz Media’s Australian Foreign Affairs journal.
Written and curated by editor Jonathan Pearlman, it features news and insights on crucial world events and their effect on Australia.
It includes links to commentary and reporting by leading foreign policy thinkers from Australia and around the world, presented in a style that’s clear, succinct and free of jargon.
Read previous editions
29 May 2019
Scott of the Pacific
On Sunday, Scott Morrison will make his first overseas trip since the election – to the Solomon Islands, a nation of 600,000 people that has not been visited by an Australian prime minister since Kevin Rudd went there in early 2008. Back then, Rudd was seeking to fulfil a campaign promise to rekindle regional ties, after attacking John Howard for …
22 May 2019
Morrison’s great China uncertainty
One of the curiosities of the Australian election was that foreign affairs received so little attention, despite it playing a vital part in Scott Morrison’s victory. Throughout the campaign, Morrison took every opportunity to highlight the rising tensions and escalating trade war between the United States and China. But he didn’t raise this …
15 May 2019
Duterte’s new dynasty
Given the attention devoted in Australia to rising Chinese and Indian immigration, there is considerably little appreciation of the fact that the Philippines is now the fifth largest source of new settlers here. This century, the expanding local Filipino community has quietly overtaken the more prominent and established Italian, Greek and Vietnamese …
8 May 2019
Asia’s residual royals
It has been a right royal year thus far for hereditary monarchs, those vestiges from a different time who still reign in modern Asia’s new power constellation of populists, capitalists and bureaucrats. In one single day last week we saw Thailand’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn turn his flight attendant consort into his queen just prior to his …
1 May 2019
One road, many questions
Even after last week’s intricately choreographed second global forum of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – to which Australia’s relationship remains unsettled – many questions are still unanswered. How is a project badged “BRI”? How might companies join the Chinese consortia that finance and build BRI infrastructure? With countries …
24 April 2019
How Joko won
Last August, Indonesian president Joko Widodo, with hours left to register a running mate for this year’s election, faced a terrible choice.
He had to decide between his preferred candidate – a former chief judge – and Ma’ruf Amin, a powerful Islamic cleric who has fuelled the nation’s growing intolerance of minorities. Ma’ruf …
17 April 2019
The election and foreign affairs
Last year, Bill Shorten promised that if he were elected, Australian foreign policy will “speak with a clear Australian accent”. He insisted he would assert Australian values, and would be confident, independent and ambitious. So, it will be interesting to see how – when it is inevitably raised during this election campaign – he handles …
10 April 2019
India’s jumbo elections
Voting starts tomorrow in India, the world’s largest democracy. It is a hefty process that involves 900 million voters, eleven million electoral officials and 800,000 polling stations. Voting will occur on seven nominated days over the next six weeks, with the results due on 23 May.
Indian elections are an incredible feat. They reflect a …
3 April 2019
The budget’s pitiful response
Tucked away inside last night’s budget papers was a surprisingly candid – and slightly alarming – note that revealed the extent of the government’s concerns about Australia’s global outlook. The note appeared on page thirteen of the budget statement for the foreign affairs and trade portfolio. It began by stating that the 2017 Foreign Policy …
27 March 2019
Is China cutting Australia out?
Earlier this year, customs officers at five harbours in northern China suddenly blocked the passage of Australian coal. Yet they waved through shipments from other countries such as Russia and Indonesia. The block later spread to other Chinese ports, apparently to allow Chinese officials to conduct “radioactivity tests”. Australian coal typically …
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