Australian Foreign Policy in a contested Indo-Pacific Region

Julie Bishop Portrait

The future of the Indo-Pacific region is being buffeted by an array of complex forces including the return of great power rivalry, rising illiberalism, and growing nationalism. La Trobe University is privileged to be able to host Australia’s Foreign Minister, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, who will deliver the first keynote address in Australia on foreign policy since the publication of the Turnbull Government’s foreign policy White Paper in November 2017.

Minister Bishop has been invited to discuss the significant foreign policy challenges Australia is facing in the Indo-Pacific and how Australia can promote its interests in the fast-changing regional and international environment.

The Foreign Minister’s address will be followed by a La Trobe University panel discussion with Professor Nick Bisley, Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow Tony Walker, and Dr Rebecca Strating lecturer in international relations in the Department of Politics and Philosophy.

Julie Bishop’s address completes a series on Australian foreign policy in the new era of China’s rise and the Presidency of Donald Trump begun with Paul Keating and Alan Gyngell and continued with Kevin Rudd and Linda Jakobson that has been hosted by La Trobe Asia and the Ideas & Society Program in celebration of La Trobe University’s fiftieth anniversary.


Wednesday 11 April 2018
7.15 am Event Registration and light breakfast commences
8.00 am Event starts through to 9.30 am


Grand Hyatt, 123 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000


University Events

Presented by

The Ideas & Society Program and La Trobe Asia


$35 General / $25 Alumni & Staff/ $15 Students


Keynote Speaker - The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minster for Foreign Affairs

Profile picture of Julie BishopJulie Bishop is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia's Federal Coalition Government. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998.  Minister Bishop was sworn in as Australia's first female Foreign Minister on 18 September 2013 following four years in the role of Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Bishop has overseen the single largest expansion of Australia's overseas diplomatic presence in 40 years, introduced the New Colombo Plan to support Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region, and established the innovationXchange within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop bold and creative solutions to long standing development challenges.

She has strengthened Australia's key strategic and economic relationships and enhanced Australia's engagement with Pacific Island countries, including normalising relations with Fiji, leading international recovery and reconstruction efforts in Vanuatu and establishing a school of government in Papua New Guinea.

Minister Bishop promoted Australia's interests at the United Nations Security Council, playing a lead role in the international response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

She previously served as a Cabinet Minister in the Howard Government as Minister for Education, Science and Training and as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues. Prior to this, Minister Bishop was Minister for Ageing.  Minister Bishop has also served on a number of parliamentary and policy committees including as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

Before entering Parliament Minister Bishop was a commercial litigation lawyer at Perth firm Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985, and managing partner in 1994.

Minister Bishop graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Adelaide in 1978 and attended Harvard Business School in Boston in 1996, completing the Advanced Management Program for Senior Managers. In 2017, the University of Adelaide awarded Minister Bishop the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for her contribution to Australian parliamentary service.

Tony Walker

Profile picture of Tony WalkerTony Walker is a published author, journalist and currently holds a position as a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University.  He began his career as an ABC Specialist Trainee (effectively a cadetship) in 1971 after graduating BA in 1968 in politics and international relations from the Australian National University. In his early career at the ABC he worked for the overseas broadcaster, Radio Australia, in its Melbourne headquarters before re-locating to Canberra where he served as Radio Australia’s first Canberra correspondent and diplomatic correspondent for the ABC.

Transferring to The Age in 1976 he served in various posts, including defence and foreign affairs correspondent and chief of staff before being posted to China in 1979 for Fairfax newspapers. There began a long career as a foreign correspondent for both Fairfax and the Financial Times of London. This included, Beijing (1979-1983); Cairo (1984-1993); Beijing again (1993-1998); and New York (1998-1999). He returned to Australia as political editor for The Australian Financial Review (2000-2004) before being posted to Washington as the AFR’s North American editor. He returned to Australia in 2010 as the AFR’s international editor.

He currently writes a number of regular columns for The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Conversation, among other writing assignments. He has won a number of journalist awards, including two Walkley’s for commentary and the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism.

Dr Rebecca (Bec) Strating

Profile picture of Bec ShawBec Strating is the Director of the Bachelor of International Relations and a lecturer in Politics in the Department of Politics and Philosophy at La Trobe University. She primarily researches and teaches in the areas of Australian and Southeast Asian politics and foreign policy. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Boyer Prize by the Australian Institute of International Affairs for best article published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs in 2017.  She has published extensively on politics and foreign policy, including in Australian Journal of International Relations, Asian Security, Journal of Current Southeast Asia, Journal of Pacific History and Contemporary Southeast Asia. Her most recent book, The Post-Colonial Security Dilemma: Timor-Leste and the International Community, will be published in 2018 with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Nick Bisley

Profile picture of Nick BisleyNick Bisley is the Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and previously was the Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations. His research and teaching expertise is in Asia's international relations, great power politics and Australian foreign and defence policy. Nick is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, the country’s oldest scholarly journal in the field of International Relations.

Nick is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs national executive, the board of the Australia-India Institute, a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and a China Matters advisory board member. He has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East West-Center in Washington DC.

Nick also regularly hosts Asia Rising, the podcast of La Trobe Asia which examines the news and events of Asia's states and societies.