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China is important to Australia’s future. It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with the People’s Republic of China right. While public discourse in Australia on China is increasingly lively, it is critical to Australia’s future that it be better-informed. Australians know that the PRC is important to Australia, but many do not have a nuanced understanding of the reasons why nor do they fully appreciate the risks and opportunities involved in relations with the PRC.
China Matters is an Australian policy institute established to stimulate a realistic and nuanced discussion of the PRC among Australian business, government and the security establishment, and advance sound policy.
The goals of this high-profile and high-impact effort are to expand awareness and understanding, inform public and elite opinions, and recommend solid policy in Australia on the complexities, opportunities, and challenges of Australia’s relationship with the PRC.
This is a discrete and unique effort, different from other China undertakings in Australia in that it is independent, is not tied to any institution, and is focused exclusively from a policy perspective on the rise of the People’s Republic of China and how it matters to Australia.
We also think it is important to engage with people interested in the PRC aged 35 or under who are working in the public or private sector. We achieve this through our China Matters Young Professionals project. We also strive to support young aspiring Australian foreign policy experts through our 40-day Junior Fellowship program.
China Matters hosts regular?national meetings?and China policy dinners to bring together a diverse set of senior representatives from government, business and academia. We regularly engage with parliamentary representatives at our China Matters in Parliament forum. Our aim is to formulate recommendations to strengthen Australian policy toward the People’s Republic of China. Check out our Eighth National Meeting, held at Como House in Melbourne.
China Matters board directors, advisory council and team members regularly publish commentary in Australian media which can be viewed on our public outreach page. China Matters does not have an institutional view.
We now have our own policy brief publication China Matters Explores. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Check out our latest edition, ‘What should Australia do about its politics being too white?’?by Mr Osmond Chiu. Other policy briefs include ‘What should Australia do about research collaboration with the PRC?’ by Mr Dirk van der Kley. In June 2019, we published ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’, written by Ms Linda Jakobson. This was the culmination of a six-month process which included several brainstorming sessions with our supporter circle members, an event in Canberra to launch the next-to-final draft of the Narrative, and the soliciting of public commentary online.
In the latest China Matters Explores policy brief,?Osmond Chiu argues that Australia is politically much less representative than other comparable English-speaking democracies. He recommends that Australia’s political parties adopt a target of 20 per cent culturally diverse candidates in winnable seats and halt preselection processes if there is no genuine attempt to find diverse candidates.
Chinese-Australians face added hurdles because of perceptions, spurred and strengthened by the foreign interference debate, that Chinese-Australians could have ties with the Communist Party of China.
In addition to adopting cultural diversity targets, Chiu calls for political parties to measure and publish data on their diversity and foster and train a group of culturally diverse candidates. He also advocates establishment of a national integrity commission to investigates issues of undue political influence and passing laws to cap political donations.
Read the brief here.
Osmond Chiu is a Research Fellow at the Per Capita think tank. He has worked in policy roles for over a decade.
China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.
In the latest China Matters Explores policy brief, Jennifer Hsu argues that Australia should co-operate with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to deliver aid assistance to developing countries in the Pacific, despite Canberra’s concerns that Beijing could use its development aid to try and influence geopolitical outcomes in the region.
Australia sees itself in competition with the PRC in many areas in the Pacific. But the reality remains that PRC lending to the Pacific has decreased significantly in recent years and Australia is still the largest aid donor to the region.
Australia and the PRC can cooperate in areas such as jointly treating non-communicable diseases in the Pacific, even if competition continues in other areas.
Hsu contends that it is in Australia’s interest to ensure Pacific Island economies are affluent and resilient. Collaboration with the PRC is an effective way of achieving that outcome. Hsu recommends that any trilateral co-operation must first be suggested by Pacific countries.
Read the brief here.
Dr Jennifer Hsu is a Policy Analyst at China Matters
China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s
China Matters held its Eighth National Meeting in Melbourne on 18 October 2019 in partnership with La Trobe University. Senior business executives, government officials and university leaders discussed ways for Australia to respond to a more assertive People’s Republic of China (PRC). Each session ended with one or two policy recommendations for the Australian government.
The four panel sessions focused on:
- Does the security establishment adequately consider Australia’s economic interests with the PRC?
- What are Canberra’s policy options if the PRC decides to punish Australia economically for being too supportive of the US?
- How should Australia deal with PRC-US strategic technological competition?
- What should Australia do?
The Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, delivered the welcoming dinner’s keynote address. Read it here. The dinner was hosted by China Matters Chair, Mr Kevin McCann AM.
Read more about the National Meeting, including discussion papers and the agenda, here.
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We are grateful to our supporters for making possible the research, publication, and outreach work of China Matters. We would like to do more. If you share our goals and would like to contribute financial support to our project, please contact us.