Brief on Aus-China relations launches

As Australia’s relationship with China becomes ever more critical, La Trobe Asia shines the spotlight on this increasingly complex topic in its latest La Trobe Asia Brief - Australia-China Relations: Finding the Elusive Balance.

The publication comprises a series of opinion pieces, published with a creative commons license, examining the Australia-China relationship by eight, highly-respected experts with diverse views from both Australia and China.

Executive Director of La Trobe Asia, Dr Euan Graham, outlined the importance of the publication.

“This brief captures a critical, highly quotable spectrum of expert opinion on the Australia-China bilateral relationship, from both countries,” Dr Graham said.

“It makes a timely and valuable contribution to Australia’s sometimes polarised China debate, and should serve as a valuable resource for policymakers, scholars and members of the public.”

The eight contributors are:

  • Professor Hugh White (ANU) – Facing China without our historical ally

“For all the talk of shared history and values, we can no longer rely on America to keep us secure.”

  • Dr Rebecca Strating (La Trobe) – Should Australia be involved in the South China Sea?

“For Australia, the dilemma is the extent to which it is willing to accommodate China’s rewriting of the maritime rules.”

  • Professor Chen Hong (East China Normal University) – Sensibility to prevail over prejudices

“It is deplorable that the bilateral relationship has been undergoing depression for two years.”

  • Dr Euan Graham (La Trobe) – Morrison’s China Choice

“The halcyon days of having one’s cake and eating it too are drawing to a close.”

  • Dr Dan Hu (Beijing Foreign Studies University) – Why is China annoyed with Australia?

“It is unrealistic to hope that such open opposition and criticism across a wide spectrum of issues would not be hurtful towards a country.”

  • Professor Nick Bisley (La Trobe) – Finding a new China policy equilibrium

“China policy must be pragmatic. The PRC and its influence and power cannot be wished away, and some kind of accommodation of Chinese interests will have to be negotiated.”

  • Rowan Callick (journalist) – A testing friendship

“China’s leaders feel they’ve got a pretty full measure of Australia – its capabilities and its limits. The reverse is far from true, despite China having become Australia’s largest trading partner almost a dozen years ago.”

  • Professor John Fitzgerald (Swinburne University of Technology) – Values in Australian diplomacy

“Australian governments will need to hold allies and partners to their word if they want to distinguish themselves from authoritarian alternatives.”

Public event – 30 July

A public launch event featuring five of the contributors will take place at the State Library of Victoria on 30 July. Media tickets are available on request.

A podcast about the topic with Rowan Callick can be found here.

About The La Trobe Asia brief series

The La Trobe Asia Brief is a publication from La Trobe Asia, based at La Trobe University. The series provides a platform for commentary, research and analysis of policy issues that of key importance in the Asian region. The work features La Trobe academics working with collaborators based in the region. The papers in The La Trobe Asia Brief series are written for an informed audience and authors are invited by La Trobe Asia to contribute.

About La Trobe Asia

La Trobe Asia was established to provide leadership on all aspects of the University's engagement with Asia.

It is a unique effort by an Australian university to focus on Asia with a 'whole of University' perspective and to make Asia a key part of teaching, research and external engagement. La Trobe Asia reflects the University’s belief in Asia’s importance both to Australia and the world.

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – - 9479 2315 / 0437 279 903