Australia’s Fear of Abandonment: Foreign Policy in an Era of Global Change

In this National Press Club Address Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans and Adjunct Professor Allan Gyngell will discuss the key themes have woven through the foreign policies of every Australian government for the past seventy-five years.

Professor the Hon. Gareth Evans AC QC

Gareth Evans is Chancellor of The Australian National University. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments from 1983-96, in the posts of Attorney General, Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Transport and Communications and - from 1988-96 - Foreign Minister. During his 21 years in Australian politics he was Leader of the Government in the Senate (1993-96) and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives (1996-98). From 2000 to 2009 he was President and CEO of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, the independent global conflict prevention and resolution organisation.

He has written or edited 12 books and published many newspaper articles and over 100 journal articles and chapters on foreign relations, human rights and legal and constitutional reform.

He currently Co-Chairs the International Advisory Board of the New-York based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and is Patron and Emeritus Convenor of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament.

Allan Gyngell AO

Allan Gyngell is an Adjunct Professor at the ANU's Crawford School of Public Policy. His earlier appointments included Director-General of the Office of National Assessments, founding Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, senior positions in several government departments and foreign policy adviser to Paul Keating.

His new history of Australian foreign policy, Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World Since 1942, will be officially launched at the Address.

The book looks at the way Australian governments have responded to the fear of abandonment which lies deep in the history of European settlement in Australia. Three separate themes have woven through the foreign policies of every Australian government for the past seventy-five years: a close alliance with a great and powerful friend; efforts to shape the region around it through engagement with its Asian and Pacific neighbours; and a commitment to a global order with accepted rules which Australia has played a part in setting.

With nationalist and protectionist sentiments on the rise, the final chapter - and this National Press Club discussion - consider the tests Australia now faces in a world very different from any in its modern experience, with globalisation under pressure, a US administration backing away from its post-war global role, a growing and increasingly ambitious China, and multilateral institutions under new strain.