Why China Matters

China is important to Australia’s future.

It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with China right.

While public discourse in Australia on China is increasingly lively, it is critical to Australia’s future that it be better-informed.

Australians know that China is important to Australia, but many do not have a nuanced understanding of the reasons why nor do they fully appreciate the risks and opportunities involved in relations with China.

Our goals

China Matters was established to stimulate a realistic and nuanced discussion of China among Australian business, government and the security establishment, and advance sound policy.

The goals of this high-profile and high-impact effort are to expand awareness and understanding, inform public and elite opinions, and recommend solid policy in Australia on the complexities, opportunities, and challenges of Australia’s relationship with China. This is a discrete and unique effort, different from other China undertakings in Australia in that it is independent, is not tied to any institution, and is focused exclusively from a policy perspective on China’s rise and how it matters to Australia.

OUR work

China Matters board directors, advisory council and team members regularly publish commentary in Australian media which can be viewed on our public outreach page. Read Founding Director Linda Jakobson’s essay “What does China want?” in the inaugural issue of Australian Foreign Affairs; a joint report with PwC on PRC investment in Critical Infrastructure; and the book China Matters: Getting It Right for Australia, by Professor Bates Gill and Linda Jakobson.

Read Linda Jakobson’s submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

We now have our own policy brief publication China Matters Recommends. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China.

Read board directors Linda Jakobson and Prof Stephen FitzGerald’s letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald.

China Matters Young Professionals project engages with people interested in China under the age of 35 who are working in the public or private sector. We also strive to support young aspiring Australian foreign policy experts through our three month internship program. Applications close 23 March 2018: read how to apply here.

Sixth National Meeting

The Sixth National Meeting was convened in Canberra on 17 October 2017. Held in partnership with the Australian National University, the meeting brought together senior figures from business, policy and academia for off-the-record discussions on Australia-China relations. Participants formulated policy recommendations for the Australian government on each of the section topics.

Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC, Vice-Chancellor and President of the Australian National University, delivered the keynote address at China Matters’ welcoming dinner.

The three sessions focused on:

  • How should Australia respond to Xi Jinping’s ambition?
  • Australia needs PRC investment. But how to deter PRC control, especially in critical infrastructure?
  • How does Australia respond to growing PRC influence and activity in Australia, without creating prejudice against Chinese-Australians?

Panelists included: Ambassador Jan Adams AO PSM, Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and Board Director, China Matters; Ms Frances Adamson, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Mr John Denton AO, Partner & CEO, Corrs Chambers Westgarth; Mr David Irvine AO, Chairman, Foreign Investment Review Board; Mr Chris Moraitis PSM, Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department; Ms Ming Long, Non-Executive Director, AMP Capital.

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