Has Australia lost the Pacific?

Author: James Kell, ANU

It’s 2023. Civil unrest on the streets of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, threatens another coup. At the request of the Solomon Islands government, the Chinese Communist Party provides its Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) peacekeepers to quell the violence. In a process honed on the streets of Hong Kong and Urumqi, the PLA is effective in executing the government’s wishes.

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Why Australia needs a cyber approach to the Quad

Author: Daniel Phelan, Monash University

Australia’s cyber capabilities present a huge opening for progress to be made, especially in terms of closing gaps upon certain cyber norms such as propelling interstate cooperation on security and protecting critical infrastructure. Australia can work towards acting as a regional ‘cyber-superpower’ towards its neighbours in the South Pacific alongside nations like Singapore with similar interests. This would ensure Australia and its allies can promote effective and positive cyber norms, while also enacting measures to prevent foreign interference.

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The direct threat of climate change to Australia

Author: Jessica Walters, Monash University

Following the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, debate and discussion has unfolded surrounding the risks that climate change will pose to Australia’s national security. As it affects societal and human well-being, impacting health, food and water resources, and the countries neighbouring Australia.

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Australia should have careful faith in ‘great and powerful’ friends

Author: Alexandra Robson, ANU

If Australia was situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, neatly between the United States (US) and Western Europe, much of the anxiety that has defined Australian foreign policy would be alleviated. This anxiety, based on enduring feelings of vulnerability and isolation, has historically driven Australia to seek protection in alliances with powerful and culturally similar states. Today, Australia’s security is underpinned by our alliance with the US. The 2016 Defence White Paper identified this alliance to be at the core of Australia’s security and defence planning as we confront the challenges posed by the changing dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.

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Where to for Australia and the Quad?

Author: Alex Bulley, University of Sydney

Only a few years ago, Australia was supporting much of China’s involvement in regional affairs. But with increasingly tense disputes in the South China Sea and the current COVID-19 pandemic, this has taken a different turn. Australia is now wary of China’s intentions in the region and as a result is leaning to a more traditional position as an ally of the US. But as Australia severs diplomatic ties with China, new opportunities for collaboration emerge.

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Why we must ban kinetic anti-satellite weapons

Author: Cosmo Jones, ANU

During escalating geopolitical tensions over ownership of an island in the South China Sea, a number of missiles are launched from a submarine lurking deep below the surface. Never to return to earth, their target is a satellite orbiting thousands of kilometres above. Moments later, another barrage is fired from a nearby island. They too hurtle towards an orbiting satellite. They all hit their targets. These are the firsts shots fired in anger in a conflict between major powers.

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Australia is not prepared for an infodemic

Author: Abigail Masters, RMIT

The lack of attention given to media literacy and misinformation by government stakeholders may grow to be one of the biggest national security failures of the 21st Century. Australia is currently playing catch up to address strategic cyber-threats but has failed to meaningfully mitigate the danger of misinformation in Australian digital spaces.

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The ethical dilemma of online surveillance

Author: Kearly Schirrman, Australian Crisis Simulation Summit

In the digital age, telecommunications have become part of our everyday lives. They play a central role in our communication with others, development of our services and integration of policies and laws. But this has simultaneously inspired their misuse, visible in issues like the rise of online extremism, cyber-attacks and coordination of transnational drug dealing.

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The contested geopolitics of outer space

Author: Helen Argyris, University of Melbourne

Our world is becoming more competitive and contested, extending its geopolitical challenges from Earth to outer space. Since World War 2, states have increasingly recognised the benefits and risks that outer space might pose to national security, prosperity, and international diplomacy.

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