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 goal

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.

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 latest piece in the Australian Financial Review.

In late 2016 China Matters launched a new Young Professionals project aimed at people interested in China under the age of 35 who are working in the public or private sector. We also strive to support young Australian foreign policy experts through our three month internship program.

On 16 March China Matters board director Dr Stephen FitzGerald presented the 2017 Whitlam Oration at the Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University. Read the transcript of Dr FitzGerald’s speech here.

On 29 March China Matters board director Professor Bates Gill and CEO Ms Linda Jakobson launched China Matters: Getting It Right for Australiaa book that explores Chinese politics, economics, and foreign relations today and their implications for Australia tomorrow.

On 30 March The Hon Peter Costello AC presented a keynote address on the Australia-China relationship at the Melbourne book launch of China Matters: Getting It Right for Australia. The launch was held at the State Library of Victoria and was co-hosted by La Trobe Asia and Black Inc. Publishing and was sponsored by MMG.

FIFTH National Meeting

The Fifth National Meeting was convened in Brisbane on 24 March 2017. Held in partnership with the University of Queensland, 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.

Mr Dennis Richardson AO, Secretary of the Department of Defence, delivered the keynote address at China Matters’ welcoming dinner.

Panellists at the Fifth National Meeting included Major General Richard Burr DSC AM MVO, Deputy Chief of Army; Mr Andrew Harding, CEO of Aurizon; Mr Dennis Richardson AO, Secretary of the Department of Defence; Mr Peter Varghese AO, Chancellor of the University of Queensland; The Hon Keith Pitt, Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; Mr Andrew Michelmore, Executive Manager of MMG; Professor Peter Coaldrake AO, Vice Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology; Ms Susan Cao, Assistant Principal (External Engagement) of Top Education Institute; and Professor Bates Gill, Professor of Asia-Pacific Studies at the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and China Matters Board Director.

The three sessions focused on:

How should Australia shape its ties with China in an unpredictable era?

How should Australia prepare for a changed trade and investment landscape?

What should Australia do to meet the aspirations of Chinese international students?

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