Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Time to ‘step up’ the tempo: Australia’s answer to Beijing in Papua New Guinea

Sean Jacobs
21 October 2021 | AP27
Time to ‘step up’ the tempo: Australia’s answer to Beijing in Papua New Guinea

Australia’s ‘step up’ in the Pacific is now five years old and needs a more ‘up tempo’ approach, particularly in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where China’s influence has grown significantly – from building PNG’s national data centre to backing a Chinese company’s proposal for a new fisheries facility just kilometres from Australia’s northernmost border in the Torres Strait.

At times, China has simply proved more agile in effectively expediting its commitments in PNG. An illustrative example is Manus Island. Australia and the United States pledged to upgrade Lombrum naval base some three years ago, but little progress has been made. Meanwhile a subsidiary of the same construction company that built China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea has upgraded Momote airport, a twenty-minute drive from Lombrum.

This paper argues that the opportunistic nature of Chinese foreign policy demands vigilance from Australian policymakers. It recommends some ways Australia can use its tools of statecraft to mitigate China’s influence and competition, whilst also warning that Canberra should not lose sight of its longstanding interests in PNG’s self-development at both a national and grassroots level as this competition intensifies.

Latest Publications

Township Leasing and the Democratisation of Opportunity
Peter Gregory
02 December 2021 | AP30

Township leasing was a significant 2006 reform to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA). It gave Traditional Owners the right to issue leases and licenses for economic activity over a given township on ALRA land, subject to the consent of the relevant Land Council. This paper discusses township leasing from an institutional economics perspective. It argues that…

READ MORE
Failing to teach the teacher: An analysis of mathematics Initial Teacher Education
Glenn Fahey, Jordan O’Sullivan, Jared Bussell
25 November 2021 | AP29

Policymakers have increasingly looked to improvements in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) as key to overcoming declining education outcomes. The analysis in this paper validates this concern and places a specific lens on ITE for beginning mathematics teachers. Despite clear evidence of the efficacy of explicit instruction, it is not practiced consistently and regularly in Australia’s mathematics classrooms. The analysis shows…

READ MORE
Between Geography and History: Delhi and Canberra in Indo-Pacific Security
C. Raja Mohan
11 November 2021 | AP28

The relationship between Delhi and Canberra has grown rapidly in recent years, underpinned by a convergence of security interests in the new Indo-Pacific geography and complemented by their membership of the revived Quad that includes Japan and the United States. This has helped overcome the traditional estrangement between India and Australia that dates back to the onset of the Cold…

READ MORE
Xi Dreams of 100 More Glorious Years for the Party: Might China Awake?
Rowan Callick
16 September 2021 | AP26

The Chinese Communist Party is at the peak of its power as it enters its second century. This paper examines its evolution over the last 100 years, before turning to its centenary celebrations in July 2021 with Xi Jinping at the helm. It then focuses on potential paths ahead, arguing that the Party’s grip on history and ideology will be…

READ MORE
Attitudes to a post-Covid Australia
Robert Carling, Simon Cowan
26 August 2021 | AP25

There are both reasons for optimism and reasons for pessimism in this paper. The poll suggests that Australians are unlikely to meekly accept ongoing lockdowns once vaccination reaches critical levels. Only a small minority believe we should continue to chase Covid Zero exclusively. Moreover, few people are keen to stay in lockdown until everyone is vaccinated. In part this reflects…

READ MORE