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.

FOURTH National Meeting

The Fourth National Meeting was convened in Perth on 22 September 2016. Held in partnership with the Perth US Asia Centre, 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.

Panellists at the Fourth National Meeting included Mr Dennis Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Defence; Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group; The Hon Kim Beazley, National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs; Mr Adam Handley, Managing Partner of Minter Ellison WA; Mr Andrew Hastie, Federal Member for Canning; The Hon Stephen Smith, Professor at the University of Western Australia; and Mr Allan McKinnon, Deputy Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The three sessions focused on:

Do China’s regional ambitions threaten Australia’s interests?

Does Australia really welcome foreign investment from China?

The Chinese government’s deepening engagement in Australian society: is it a concern?

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