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Asian Century White Paper is a foreign policy fail, but not by accident

Hameiri, S. (2012) Asian Century White Paper is a foreign policy fail, but not by accident. The Conversation, 30 October .

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For a policy document purporting to map out future directions for Australia in the so-called “Asian Century”, the recently released White Paper pays remarkably scant regard to foreign policy.

Several chapters discuss in great detail the economic and regulatory reforms required to help Australia thrive in the rapidly changing global economic climate. Changes to school curricula and higher education also get considerable attention. But foreign policy appears to have been left almost as an afterthought.

The only chapter in which traditional foreign policy concerns, such as security and overseas development assistance, are explicitly canvassed is Chapter 8. And in a report in which many recommendations are essentially aspirational and currently unfunded, this chapter’s recommendations are the most aspirational and the least specific of all.

Indeed, the only measures currently funded for immediate implementation by the Foreign Ministry are the deployment of a Jakarta-based ambassador to ASEAN and 12,000 Australia Award (Asian Century) scholarships. To be sure, the latter is a substantial and welcome commitment but reflects an extension of Australia’s current scholarship program and not a new initiative.

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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