Foreign Policy

While accepting the importance and value of the trade relationship with  China, our new program called China and Free Societies aims to raise awareness of the challenges growing Chinese government influence poses to a free and democratic Australia.

Over the years The Centre for Independent Studies has contributed to the public debate on a range of topical foreign policy issues.  The CIS advocated pragmatic and cautious foreign policy settings to help safeguard a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific.  Our research has extended from defence policy to global democratisation, but recently focused on China-Australia relations, the US security presence in Asia, Chinese foreign policy, and foreign aid.

For further information on our foreign policy areas, proceed to:

Featured Publication


Mitigating the New Cold War: Managing US-China trade, tech and geopolitical conflict
Alan Dupont
22 May 2020 | AP8

This paper concludes that the linked US-China trade, technology and geopolitical conflicts have precipitated a new Cold War.  Dr Alan Dupont, outlines that the world’s two major powers are wrestling for strategic advantage in an increasingly bitter contest to determine which of them will be…

Australia's Export Exposure to China's Coronavirus Epidemic
Salvatore Babones
18 February 2020 | AP7

This paper estimates the direct and immediate effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the revenues of Australia’s major export industries. It breaks down Australia’s exports to China across 18 major industry groups, including both goods and services exports. China’s coronavirus epidemic is likely to cost…

The China Student Boom and the Risks It Poses to Australian Universities
Salvatore Babones
20 August 2019 | AP5

Australia’s universities are taking a multi-million dollar gamble with taxpayer money to pursue a high-risk, high-reward international growth strategy. Their revenues are booming as they enrol record numbers of international students, particularly from China. As long as their bets on the international student market pay…

The China Challenge
Rowan Callick
28 July 2019 | OP171

The rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has helped make Australia rich, but it is also posing challenges to its values, interests, alliances and thus its identity. Xi Xinping’s ambitious New Era represents a decisive break with the Old Era under Deng Xiaoping…

Defending Liberal Democracy and Liberal Peace in the Time of Rising Populism and Fascism
Suri Ratnapala
01 July 2019 | AP3

Liberal democracy has been remarkably resilient in the face of external and internal threats, but now confronts new-old challenges from rising populism, mercantilism and fascist ambition. While the deepening fissures and fault lines within liberal democracies must be addressed, this division and dysfunction is coinciding…

Media & Commentary

Build back ‘freer’
Glenn Fahey
31 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

The Biden campaign this week announced its vision to ‘build back better’ — arguing “this is no time to just build back to the way things were before”. Instead, it’s…

Cooking up conspiracies
Simon Cowan
31 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre

Conspiracy theories! Every now and then you get caught thinking only gullible Americans, or the overly paranoid, fall into them; but then you realise just how seductive they are. Case…

What would Owen Harries do?
Tom Switzer
02 July 2020 | Financial Review

Australia is a typical middle power that benefits from the status quo in the region. We want to keep enjoying the best of both worlds: unconstrained trade with China under…

Responses to ‘Mitigating the New Cold War‘
Alan Dupont
01 July 2020 | CIS

Responses to Dr Alan Dupont’s CIS paper, which concludes that the linked US-China trade, technology and geopolitical conflicts have precipitated a new Cold War.  Dr Alan Dupont, outlines that the…

A Tribute to Owen Harries
Tom Switzer
25 June 2020 | The National Interest

There are people whose memory fades with time. There are others whose importance only grows. Such a man was Owen Harries, who died today at age ninety. Co-founding editor of…