Why China Matters

China is important to Australia’s future. It is essential for Australia to get its relationship with the People’s Republic of 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 the PRC 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 the PRC.

 

Read ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’ 

Our Goals

China Matters is an Australian policy institute established to stimulate a realistic and nuanced discussion of the PRC 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 the PRC.

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 the rise of the People’s Republic of China and how it matters to Australia.

We strive to support young aspiring Australian foreign policy experts through our 24-day Internship program.

Our Work

China Matters hosts regular national meetings and China policy dinners to bring together a diverse set of senior representatives from government, business and academia. We regularly engage with parliamentary representatives at our China Matters in Parliament forum. Our aim is to formulate recommendations to strengthen Australian policy toward the People’s Republic of China. Check out our Eighth National Meeting, held at Como House in Melbourne.

China Matters board directors, advisory council, associates and team members regularly publish commentary in Australian media which can be viewed on our public outreach page. China Matters does not have an institutional view.

We have our own policy brief publication China Matters Explores. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Check out our latest edition, where two Members of Parliament, one from each side of the aisle, Mr Dave Sharma MP and Mr Tim Watts MP pen their views on ‘What Australia should do about its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC)? Other policy briefs include ‘What should Australia do about the influence of United Front work?‘ by Dr Dirk van der Kley and ‘What should Australia do about PRC nationalists?’ by Ms Yun Jiang.

In June 2019, we published ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’, written by Ms Linda Jakobson. This was the culmination of a six-month process which included several brainstorming sessions with our supporter circle members, an event in Canberra to launch the next-to-final draft of the Narrative, and the soliciting of public commentary online.

Latest

img description Views from across the aisle – Dave Sharma

In the latest editions of China Matters Explores, two Members of Parliament, one from each side of the aisle, pen their views on what Australia should do about its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Dave Sharma argues for greater frankness from our political leaders about the challenges in the relationship. He also thinks that Australia should encourage the United States to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); and include Taiwan in the CPTPP.

Dave Sharma MP and Tim Watts MP both unequivocally oppose decoupling from the PRC. Both note that it is in Australia’s interests to have a “constructive”, “productive” relationship with the PRC.

Dave Sharma is the Federal Liberal Member for Wentworth.

Read the brief here.

China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.

img description Views from across the aisle – Tim Watts

In the latest editions of China Matters Explores, two Members of Parliament, one from each side of the aisle, pen their views on what Australia should do about its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Tim Watts writes that greater effort is needed to embed Australia in Southeast Asia and build an independent foreign policy in the region. Southeast Asia is home to countries that share our interests and we should aim for inclusion in fora such as the ASEAN Plus Three Summit.

Dave Sharma MP and Tim Watts MP both unequivocally oppose decoupling from the PRC. Both note that it is in Australia’s interests to have a “constructive”, “productive” relationship with the PRC.

Tim Watts is the Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand and Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Cyber Security.

Read the brief here.

China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.

img description OP-EDS

Professor Michael Wesley, China Matters Board Director, argues that ‘Australia has entered a world in which it must maintain a relationship with a powerful country it deeply distrusts, and which deeply distrusts it. The place to start in reconceptualising our relationship with China is by admitting our strategy so far has failed.’

Dr Geoff Raby, China Matters Associate, writes that although revised international estimates now show China will overtake the US as the world’s largest economy in 2028, nearly five years earlier than previously expected, “critics [still] can’t decide if they are sure it’s going to collapse or that it’s about to take over.”

Read these and other op-eds by supporter circle members here.

Professor Allan Gyngell, China Matters Board Director and National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA), is co-host of the podcast Australia in the World, a bi-monthly discussion of international affairs through a uniquely Australian lens. Listen here.

China Matters does not have an institutional view; the views expressed here are the author’s.

Our Key Supporters

We are grateful to our supporters for making possible the research, publication, and outreach work of China Matters. We would like to do more. If you share our goals and would like to contribute financial support to our project, please contact us.

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