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 (PRC) 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 PRC and how it matters to Australia.

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

Our Work

We have our own policy brief publication China Matters Explores. This series focuses on individual tough issues in Australia’s relationship with the PRC. Check out our latest edition, ‘What should Australia do about its foreign interference and espionage laws?’ by Melissa Conley Tyler and Julian Dusting.

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 the PRC. China Matters is pleased to host Rethinking China with Louise Edwards at PwC Australia when COVID-19 restrictions allow. Previous lecture speakers have included Bill Birtles, Linda JaivinJason Yat-sen Li, and Stan Grant.

China Matters hosts China policy dinners to bring together a diverse set of senior representatives from government, business and academia.

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

In 2019, we published ‘A New China Narrative for Australia’, of which Linda Jakobson was the head author and Stephen FitzGerald, Allan Gyngell, Jackson Kwok, Andrew Parker and Michael Wesley were co-contributors.


img description Policy Brief

In the latest China Matters Explores, Melissa Conley Tyler and Julian Dusting argue that Australia’s foreign interference and espionage laws are flawed. They are too widely cast – subjecting new areas of activity to national security scrutiny. The laws scrutinise links and connections, rather than improper conduct. They have had demonstrable negative impacts on Australia’s relations with the PRC and on individual Chinese Australians.

Conley Tyler and Dusting note these laws should be tightened to increase the resilience of Australia’s democracy.

Melissa Conley Tyler was previously National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. She is Research Associate at the University of Melbourne. Julian Dusting is studying for a Juris Doctor at Monash University.

Read the full brief here.

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

img description Event Update

Unfortunately, due to stay at home orders for the City of Sydney Local Government Area the event, Rethinking China with Louise Edwards on 30 June at PwC Australia will not be going ahead.

We will look to reschedule this event at a future date.

If you have purchased a ticket for this event, you may hold on to it for the rescheduled event at a future date or contact us for a refund at [email protected].

We will keep you informed about the rescheduled date and future Rethinking China lectures.

img description In the news

Linda Jakobson, Founding Director of China Matters, speaks to Allan Gyngell and Darren Lim on their podcast Australia in the World. In Part One, Linda provides insights on Chinese politics and Findlandisation. In Part Two, Linda shares her thoughts on Australia-China relations and Taiwan.

Writing on the 100-year anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Stephen FitzGerald, Board Director at China Matters, says Gough Whitlam’s ground-breaking and ultimately successful trip to Beijing 50 years ago, seen as mad by many even in his own party, was based on a care about Australia’s future in an emerging, post-colonial, Asian world. Geoff Raby, Associate at China Matters, writes “Whitlam could see that Australia’s interests would be best served not by ideology, but by adopting a pragmatic realist foreign policy”.

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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