New book offers frank views on Australia-China ties

29 October 2014

In a global world, it is the relationship that looms largest for our nation. Now a new book on Australia’s links with China brings together new voices and fresh thinking on the shared future of the two nations.

Launched at Parliament House by the Hon Andrew Leigh MP and Senator Dean Smith, A New Australia-China Agenda is the latest publication from the ANU Australian Centre on China in the World (CIW).

Centre director and co-editor Professor Geremie Barmé said it was time to stop talking in overused platitudes about the ongoing relationship.

“The Australia-China relationship touches on virtually every aspect of our national life,” Professor Barmé said.

“A mature and beneficial engagement of such breadth and depth requires the leadership and support of government at all levels, as well as public stewardship, media engagement, educational enhancement, and the strategic involvement of the business communities.

“We are long beyond finding comfort in nostrums about the special nature or excellent quality of ‘Australia-China’ relations. Such tired talk fails to encompass the many fields in which Australia requires insightful expertise.”

The book includes essays on China’s leaders and where the Communist Party is headed; security, military ties and ongoing territorial disputes; business and economics; law and corruption; science and technology; climate change; and culture.

“Of vital importance, is to be mindful of and understand conversations unfolding in China itself,” Professor Barmé said. “The essays by China scholars are valuable contributions to Australia’s understanding of what China wants.

“This book is a rich collection of expert ideas and suggestions that we hope will be part of the ongoing Australia-China discussion.

A New Australia-China Agenda is available online at