September 2021

The ultimate alchemy: transforming Pandora’s box into a can of worms

by Allan Behm in The Canberra Times

To say the very least, the government’s decision to acquire the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines is problematic. For those Australians familiar with the role of submarines in Australia’s defence planning – and there are more people involved in that arcane world than you might think – there is a kind of inevitability in the

Nuclear Submarines Transform Pandora’s Box into a Can of Worms

“To say the very least, the government’s decision to acquire a nuclear-powered submarine from the UK is problematic,” said Allan Behm, director of the international & security affairs program at the Australia Institute. “For those Australians familiar with the role of submarines in Australia’s defence planning there is a kind of inevitability in the Morrison

The US reacted to the 9/11 attacks as an act of war, not an act of terror

by Allan Behm in The Canberra Times

Twenty years pass so quickly, and so slowly. Memories of that Tuesday in September are very much alive because the shock remains so fresh, just as the shock of the fall of Kabul is so immediate. Of course, 9/11 and the catastrophe that has become Afghanistan are deeply connected – historically, psychologically and strategically. The

Privacy concerns cast shadow over vaccination passports

The lack of a clear blueprint for vaccination ‘passports’ that addresses public concerns around safety and security risks is undermining the implementation of vaccine mandates, warns the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. With vaccine passports for international travel reportedly just weeks away, there appears to have been little focus on the way a digital

August 2021

Complacency spells doom, at home and in Afghanistan

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

Things feel like they’ve taken a turn for the apocalyptic lately. Between the fall of Afghanistan, the IPCC report and the exponential growth of Covid cases in NSW, every time you turn on the news things are spinning out of control. Not because there’s no hope, but because of the hubris of some of our

Khaki creep betrays lack of plan

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s repeated offer to deploy troops to help control people’s movements in Sydney’s lockdown areas has found acceptance – not by Gladys Berejiklian, but by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller. The commissioner likes a bit of fear in the community, and with a couple of regiments of soldiers in cams, he’ll have it.

July 2021

Send in the troops

featuring Allan Behm and Ebony Bennett

When the going gets tough, the Morrison government calls in the military to boost its authority and credibility. In this episode, Allan Behm discusses the securitisation of domestic policy issues and how bringing in the ADF doesn’t really solve anything. The Australia Institute // @theausinstitute Host: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guest: Allan Behm,

What the bloody hell is a CBAM?

featuring Ebony Bennett, Hannah Melville-Rea and Richie Merzian

The EU has announced it will introduce a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) as part of its efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This has big implications for the Australian economy, especially carbon intensive expor industries. This week we talk to Richie Merzian and Hannah Melville Rea about what CBAMs are, how they

Coming soon: The carbon taxes that cannot be repealed

by Frank Muller and Richie Merzian in The New Daily

Carbon taxes are coming to Australia whether we like it or not. They are coming despite the triumphant ‘axing of the tax’ in 2014. They are coming despite the updated but equally loud ‘technology not taxes’ sloganeering from the Morrison government in 2021. They are coming despite our government’s refusal to commit to a net-zero

Anti-China Rhetoric Leaves Australia Fearful of Attack but Opposed to War: Polling

New research by the Australia Institute’s International & Security Affairs Program has revealed that a similar number of Australians think China will attack Australia soon or sometime (42%) as Taiwanese think that China will attack Taiwan (51%)—a result that may have been stimulated by recent strong-arm tactics by the Government of China, and anti-China rhetoric

June 2021

Australian Manufacturing at Risk from Morrison Resistance to Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism at G7 Summit

New analysis by the Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program shows that the use of carbon border adjustment mechanisms, to be under discussion at the G7 Summit this week, will put Australian industry and manufacturing processes – mainly steel, aluminium and alumina, at risk if Australia continues its recalcitrant role on the global stage. At

April 2021

This Anzac Day, lest we forget the brave Afghans who supported our military venture

by Allan Behm in Sydney Morning Herald

On ANZAC Day we remember lives lost in the strategic failure that was Gallipoli – a salute to Churchillian hubris and a newly emerged ex-colony only too keen to prove itself in defence of the “mother country” and her Empire. On this ANZAC Day, we prepare ourselves for another strategic failure, just as we did

March 2021

Poll: Support for an independent inquiry into the AG

More than half of Australians support an independent inquiry into whether Christian Porter is a fit and proper person to be Attorney General, according to new research from the Australia Institute. The Australia Institute surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Australians between 11 to 12 March 2021, about whether they support an independent inquiry

February 2021

The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism with Dr Anne Aly MP

Join international counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly MP, member for Cowan, for a frank discussion about the rise of right-wing extremism. In conversation with Dr Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute. Hosted by Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute. Part of the Australia Institute 2021 webinar series, this discussion was recorded

January 2021

Summer special: Friends, Allies and Enemies with Karen Middleton & Jonathan Pearlman

featuring Ebony Bennett and Allan Behm

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, host Ebony Bennett talks to Karen Middleton, Jonathan Pearlman and Allan Behm about the tenth issue of Australian Foreign Affairs which examines the alliances, blocs and rivalries emerging across the Asia-Pacific

Biden Presidency: ANZUS No Longer Sufficient, Time for Australia’s Security Reset

To mark the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the US, The Australia Institute has released research that shows the Australia, New Zealand and United States Security (ANZUS) Treaty is no longer a sufficient basis for Australia’s security relationship with the US—it is time for a security reset. The Australia Institute’s International

PM’s Responsibility to Correct Misinformation & Condemn Trump’s Role in Riots

In the era of fake-news, new research by the Australia Institute shows that the majority of Australians think the Prime Minister bears a responsibility to correct & criticise members of his own government who post misinformation online, and to condemn President Donald Trump for his role inciting the US Capitol insurrection. The Australia Institute surveyed

There is no reason to believe it couldn’t happen here

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

“We love you, you’re very special.” Thus US President Donald Trump addressed the armed insurrectionists looting the Congress in more loving terms than with which one suspects he has ever addressed his own children. But we have come to expect as much from the President who once described neo-Nazis as “very fine people”. It was

December 2020

War Crimes: Where does ultimate responsibility lie? Only a Royal Commission will determine the answer

by Allan Behm in Pearls and Irritations

by Allan Behm[Originally published in public policy journal, Pearls & Irritations, on 21 Dec 2020] The Brereton report has major deficiencies around where ultimate responsibility lies for war crimes in Afghanistan. To understand this and to eradicate the cultural and systemic causes of the alleged crimes, we need a Royal Commission. War crimes are perhaps

War Crimes Royal Commission Needed, Brereton Inquiry Deficient

The Australia Institute has released a discussion paper, critical of the Brereton Inquiry, and calling for a Royal Commission into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Key findings: Justice Brereton was given narrow terms of reference to establish matters of fact, not to assign or excuse responsibility or blame. The finding that no information on potential

Until recently, pressure on Australia to drop carryover credits had little impact. But times change

by Richard Denniss in The Guardian

by Richard Denniss [Originally published by Guardian Australia, 09 December 2020] Political pressure makes the impossible inevitable. Unfortunately, so much has been written about how democracy is broken, that it can seem churlish to point out that sometimes it works just as it is designed to: slowly, imperfectly and then suddenly. Take, for example, Scott

The US Election result and what it means for Australia

featuring Ebony Bennett, Richie Merzian and Allan Behm

In this episode we unpack what a Biden Administration means for climate and foreign policy in Australia, with Richie Merzian and Allan Behm. The Australia Institute // @theAusinstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennett Guests: Richie Merzian, director Climate & Energy Program // @richiemerzian Allan Behm, director International & Security Affairs program

November 2020

Australia’s diplomatic approach needs a major revamp

by Ben Oquist in The Canberra Times

by Ben Oquist[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 28 November 2020] Suddenly it seems diplomacy is important.  The Foreign Minister has praised the role Australia’s diplomats played in the release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert; the Prime Minister is defending the use of an Air Force plane to help get Mathias Cormann elected to the plum post

Renewed calls for Climate Levy on Fossil Fuel Exports as Black Summer Disaster Bill Soars

In the lead-up to Summer, the Australia Institute, emergency leaders, and bushfire survivors have renewed coals for a Climate Levy on fossil fuel exports to help pay for increasing disasters due to climate change. The call follows estimates that the Black Summer bushfires cost Australians over $50 billion, which represents a step change in disaster

Australia’s leaders are lagging behind on climate

by Ebony Bennett in The Canberra Times

by Ebony Bennett[Originally Published in the Canberra Times, 14 November 2020] Australia is experiencing climate change now and warming is set to continue, according to the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO’s 2020 State of the Climate report released yesterday. This news won’t come as a galloping shock to most Australians – we can see the evidence of global warming

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