31 December 2020

When Geopolitics fails- Australia’s opportunity for diplomacy in the ASEAN region

For the world of international relations, the behaviours and trends of superpowers are often more predictable than surprising. As a medium power state, Australia pays close attention to the actions of these powers and its impact on the region. The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for Australia to examine the state its relations amongst ASEAN …

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The New Promise of Regional Institutions

Through the unfolding inadequacies of the USA and China, smaller countries have an unprecedented ability to have a larger global impact, of which could be most readily achieved through regional organisations. Countries that have gone previously unheard will now have access to the floor, and everybody will be listening. The output of geopolitics is largely …

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The case for greater ASEAN action in the Mekong

Image by Creative Commons. Villagers and Fisherfolk protest Xayaburi. The Mekong River is often overlooked in discussions about key issues facing ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific. Many critics have even claimed that ASEAN has remained largely dormant on the issues facing the subregion, the most prevalent of which are flooding and damming. Why, though, given the …

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Diversifying into – not out of – the Australia-China Relationship

The Australia-China relationship is hard. It is also arguably Australia’s most critical foreign policy challenge. How do we navigate the increasingly assertive stance of an authoritarian power – with a culture, history, language and values so different to our own – when the economic and security stakes are so high?  The challenge for a middle power …

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Where to for Australia’s Fintech Future? Look to Singapore!

From Sydney to Singapore, fintech is becoming an essential part of everyday life. Australia now has the opportunity to capitalise on this revolutionary industry and propel itself forward as a global fintech leader.   Down Seng Poh Road people elbowed their way through the rambunctious crowd. The distinct smell of pungent spices, steaming hot broth and …

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Reform or stagnate – Achieving sustainable and inclusive development in Laos

Despite achieving tremendous development since the 1980s, economic growth amongst ASEAN nations has been accompanied by persistent, and in some cases rising, income and wealth inequalities. These factors raises questions as to whether growth can be sustained in the longer term. These dynamics are particularly evident in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), which …

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Fast Fashion Nation: Indonesia’s textiles industry in a COVID-19 world

Indonesia’s textiles industry is on the rise, but a number of issues threaten to unhinge it. A global pandemic, foreign ownership, the US-China trade war and the lack of coherent policies are one of the many issues that will not only break an industry, but also endanger the livelihoods of Indonesian textile workers and their …

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The infodemic and authoritarianism in the Indo-Pacific

The authoritarianism of some pandemic responses in the Indo-Pacific has received considerable international criticism. However, many responses to the veritable infodemic afflicting the region have often been no less authoritarian and deserve no less condemnation. The term ‘infodemic’ refers to seismic increases in information about a given topic in a short space of time. Further, …

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The fox and the wolf: Liberal Islamophobia and the pressure of ‘moderate’ Islam

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem, In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Becoming a Muslim convert is a unique experience. It allows you to truly see how comfortable people are in their bias. The first thing that I noticed in the people around me was the discomfort towards my change. They would make …

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Hydrogen in the Asia Pacific: Full Steam Ahead

Hydrogen in the Asia-Pacific: Full Steam A head  Hydrogen is being signalled as a “fuel for the future” as it demonstrates it meets many of the goals of decarbonised global energy supply. Decarbonisation opportunities for hydrogen include:  a clean energy fuel alternative for industrial applications (iron and steel);  an energy storage solution for transport (fuel …

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