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ADI Public Policy Forum: Whither Australia-China Relations?

ADI Public Policy Forum: Whither Australia-China Relations?

Relations between Australia and China are sinking to their lowest levels in decades. This raises two critically important questions which this Policy Forum will address.

1. What are the causes of the increased tensions between Canberra and Beijing?

2. What will the future of the bilateral relationship be in the next five to ten years?

Professor Baogang He will introduce the speakers and discuss China’s recent economic statecraft against Australia. Melissa Conley Tyler will discuss how and why the relationship between Canberra and Beijing has deteriorated, and will examine the proposed Foreign Relations Bill and its potential impact on the international engagement by Australian universities, councils and state governments. Tim Soutphommasane, in defence of multiculturalism in Australia, will discuss how the deteriorated relationship has impacted the life of the Chinese Australians. Finally, Mark Beeson proposes ways in which Australia could encourage the ‘G2’ – China and the US – to take a more constructive approach to addressing the looming reality of climate-induced catastrophes.


Melissa Conley Tyler is Research Fellow in the Asia Institute of The University of Melbourne. She was National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) for 13 years. Under her leadership, the AIIA was recognised as the Top Think Tank in Southeast and the Pacific and one of the top 50 think tanks worldwide in the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go To Think Tanks Index for three years running. Melissa is a prolific commentator on Australian foreign policy, Australia’s key relationships across Asia and the practice, of diplomacy.

Professor Tim Soutphommasane is Director of Culture Strategy at the University of Sydney. He was Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2013 to 2018. He has previously been a political staffer for Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd. His recent book is On Hate (Melbourne University Press, 2019).

Mark Beeson is Professor of International Politics at the University of Western Australia. Before joining UWA, he taught at Murdoch, Griffith, Queensland, York (UK) and Birmingham. He is the founding editor of Critical Studies of the Asia Pacific. His latest book is Rethinking Global Governance.

Professor Baogang He is Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in International Studies at Deakin University. In 2019 Prof. He was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Professor He has published research works on various aspects of Australia’s international relationships, including Australia’s management of the delicate relations between Washington and Beijing.


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