China today looms larger than ever in myriad aspects of Australian life — economic, political, strategic and cultural. Already it is plain that this must have implications for our relationship with the United States, as Australia seeks to balance its growing relationship with China and its highly–valued traditional links with America. This balancing act has become even harder under Donald Trump’s unpredictable presidency, with fears that he will swing between provocative assertions of American primacy in Asia on the one hand, and protectionist and isolationist ‘America First’ tendencies on the other. How can Australia best navigate this uniquely challenging strategic and diplomatic environment over the next few years? What goals can we realistically set ourselves for the management of these two critical relationships, and how can we best achieve them?
Gai Brodtmann is the Federal Member for Canberra, and Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence Personnel having been elected in 2010. She has extensive experience in the public, private and community sectors.She was a federal public servant, primarily with Foreign Affairs and Trade and Attorney–General. Gai has represented Australia in India and has worked on a range of international and domestic issues, from Indigenous youth development and climate change to defence capability, tax and foreign policy.