New book examines Australia's changing role in Asia

2 March 2015

After 30 years of effort we are thoroughly integrated in the region. However many of the advantages that gave Australia influence during this period are also at an end.

A new book on Australia’s role in Asia finds the country has moved to a new phase in its relationships in the region.

Written by ANU foreign affairs expert Dr Andrew Carr, the book Winning the peace: Australia’s campaign to change the Asia-Pacific confronts the question of just how much influence Australia can have in Asia.

He finds that Australia has been surprisingly influential as a middle power, yet some of the key foundations of that influence are slipping away.

“The era of Australia’s engagement with Asia is now over,” says Dr Carr from the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. 

“After 30 years of effort we are thoroughly integrated in the region. However many of the advantages that gave Australia influence during this period are also at an end.

“The engagement has been confirmed and now the challenges of a married relationship begin, with all the extra roles and responsibilities.”

Dr Carr’s book outlines how Australia has flexed its muscle and affected change on issues like weapons of mass destruction, trade and asylum seekers.

Head of the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Dr Brendan Taylor, said “Winning the Peace” marks a paradigm shift in Australian foreign policy thinking.

“After decades of ultimately successful struggles for security with rather than against our region, Carr’s new book is a must read for Australian policymakers tasked with keeping Australia peaceful, prosperous and influential in the so-called Asian century,” Dr Taylor said.

Winning the peace: Australia’s campaign to change the Asia-Pacific will be launched by The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly in Parliament House on Wednesday.