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 Mr Thom Woodroofe pans his views on ‘What should Australia do about PRC and US climate ambitions?‘. Other policy briefs include ‘Why should Australia be concerned about rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait?’ by Ms Linda Jakobson and ‘What should Australia do about its relationship with the PRC? by Mr Dave Sharma MP and Mr Tim Watts MP.

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.


img description Policy Brief

In the latest China Matters Explores, Thom Woodroofe argues that both the Biden Administration’s ambitious climate change agenda and Xi Jinping’s pledge for carbon neutrality by 2060 casts the global spotlight on Australia’s inaction on climate change. Continued Australian refusal to both increase the 2030 Paris target and to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 will not only hold Australia back economically, but it will hamper relations with both the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Australia’s lack of climate ambition will be detrimental to its alliance with the US. Meanwhile, in the Australia-China relationship, Canberra’s inability to grapple with the implications of the PRC’s efforts to tackle climate change means Australia risks missing massive economic and political opportunities.

Read the full brief here.

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

img description Upcoming Event

China Matters is pleased to host “Rethinking China” with Jason Yat-sen Li on 21 April at the Museum of Sydney.

Our 2021 in-person Sydney Lecture Series: Rethinking China features speakers of diverse expertise and background with the aim to inject breadth and depth into the public discussion about China.

Jason, a prominent business and community leader, will describe how he sees the China, why he sees China the way he does, and on that basis share his thoughts on what Australia’s approach to the PRC should be.

Renowned journalist and broadcaster Geraldine Doogue will moderate the event.

The event will feature pre- and post-lecture musical performances. Drinks and canapés will follow the lecture.

Book tickets here.

img description In the news

Hugh White, member of the Advisory Council of China Matters, in the Australian Financial Review warns if Washington doesn’t change its tone towards the PRC after the abuse and name-calling in Alaska, “they will face a choice between the only two alternatives to negotiating a new order in Asia – going to war with China or withdrawing from the region”.

Peter Leahy, member of the Advisory Council of China Matters, in the Australian Financial Review examines the questions Australian leaders must ask themselves if the US looked for support in a military conflict with the PRC over Taiwan. He argues that in the end it is Australian sovereignty, Australian values and Australian interests we must honour.

Read these and more op-eds from our supporters circle 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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