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Australia-China relations at the crossroads?

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The Auditorium

188 Fellows Lane

China in the World Building

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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From Gough Whitlam to Tony Abbott, Australia has pursued a pragmatic, national interest-based China policy that, in John Howard’s words, set differences to one side and worked on the things we could agree on. Under Howard and earlier Labor Prime Ministers Australia told China that nothing in our alliance obligations would drive us into conflict with China. Other US allies implicitly take the same approach. But does China’s rise and America’s decline now make that too hard? Especially as the US appears to be embracing trade war and a Cold War against a China it now defines as strategic rival. Diplomacy provides the key to being a US ally and a partner of the Chinese, and that includes tough talk with China when necessary. It will also require saying “no” to US requests to recruit Australia to a strategy to curb China’s rise - something we do already - and in a context where we can no longer parrot “We don’t have to choose.”

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Professor the Honourable Bob Carr is the Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the only Australian think tank devoted to illuminating the Australia-China relationship. He is a Professor in International Relations at UTS.

Professor Carr is a former Foreign Minister of Australia (2012-2013). He is also the longest continuously serving Premier in New South Wales history (1995-2005). His administration pioneered private provision of public infrastructure, lifted public works spending to a record high, increased school literacy standards and declared 350 new national parks. He received his Honours degree in History from the University of New South Wales.

He is an Honorary Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University. He is a recipient of the RSIS Distinguished Visiting Fellowship from Nanyang Technological University and the Fulbright Distinguished Fellow Award Scholarship for service to US-Australia relations. He has served as Honorary Scholar of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue. He has been frequently interviewed by international media. His opinion pieces are published in the Australian Financial Review, The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald and Nikkei Asian Review. He is the author of Thoughtlines (Viking, 2002), What Australia Means to Me (Penguin, 2003), My Reading Life (Penguin, 2008), Diary of a Foreign Minister (NewSouth Publishing, 2014), and Run for Your Life (Melbourne University Press, 2018). Professor Carr’s research focuses on international relations, foreign policy, Chinese politics and economics, national defence and security.

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Location

The Auditorium

188 Fellows Lane

China in the World Building

Acton, ACT 2601

Australia

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