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2021 will see Melbourne Forum offer a stimulating range of face-to-face and virtual events featuring eminent experts from differing specialties, both national and international. Our thought-provoking member-only interest groups enhance how we learn and exchange ideas.

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March 23
5:30 pm - 6:45 pm


A Zoom event under Chatham House rule

China’s Strategy and Australia’s Future

A Melbourne Forum Online Interest Group: The Non-Fiction Book

Hosted by:
Peter Lamell
Dianne Jacobs

March 23 @ 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm


‘China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order’ draws on insights from Australia’s former ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, on Australia’s future position in global affairs.

Disruption has blown the old world apart. The rise of China, Trump’s America First policies, division within Europe and successful defiance by authoritarian states are affecting the shape of the emerging new order. Human rights, rule of law, free media and longstanding global institutions all seem set to be weakened. Autocracies are exercising greater control over world affairs.

Australia will need to engage heightened levels of diplomacy to forge relations with countries of opposing principles. It will need to be agile in pursuing a realistic foreign policy agenda.

In ‘China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order (Melbourne University Press, November 2020) Raby discusses how Australia must position itself for this future.

What is the likely trajectory of Australia’s relationship with China? How should Australia position itself amid the shifting sands of its new geopolitical environment? How should Australia assess its international environment, and what might a realistic foreign policy agenda look like for Australia? How should Australia pursue diplomacy, including when it comes to countries with opposing principles?

Geoff Raby AO was Australia’s ambassador to China (2007–11; ambassador to APEC (2003–5); and ambassador to the World Trade Organization (1998–2001). He is chairman of VisAsia at the Art Gallery of NSW and chairman of the Australia–China Institute of Arts and Culture at the University of Western Australia. Raby was awarded the Order of Australia in 2019 for services to Australia–China relations and to international trade.

“This book is above all a lucid clarion call for common sense. Argued with evidence and reason, but also informed passion, and sprinkled with anecdotes from his travels around China that sharpen the strategic insights, it is the necessary injection of precision into a debate that suffers not so much from too little memory, but from too much.” (James Curren, The Lowy Interpreter)

Click on the Ex Libris image for member-only content about the book, subscribe to the posts, find and share resources, watch author interviews or participate in the digital discussion.

This Melbourne Forum interest group gives us an opportunity to view contemporary themes through the lens of the non-fiction written word. Come with an open mind, hear differing perspectives and uncover what your fellow readers think.

As our group continues to meet, we’ll be posting on Ex Libris each new theme, book, written piece, poll or author interview for the interest group to explore.