Australia and Southeast Asia: ASEAN vs. Minilateralism?



About the Seminar

In 1974 Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner and it has been an enthusiastic participant in regional multilateralism. For some years now, Australia has emphasised the importance of Southeast Asia to its national interests and ASEAN’s role in its approach to the region. Yet, Australia has found matching its rhetoric with substance difficult across Southeast Asia as a whole. More recently, it has been an active player in the emergence of minilateral approaches to regional security, notably with the Quad and AUKUS groupings. This reflects both the deteriorating security environment in Asia as well as Canberra’s lack of confidence in the security benefits produced by the broader multilateral mechanisms many of which are ASEAN-centred. The election of the Albanese government in 2022 has introduced some moderation in aspects of Australia’s regional policy, both in tone and substance. This seminar will examine Australia’s approach to Southeast Asia, the tensions that exist between its traditional multilateralism and more recent embrace of competitive minilateralism, and what this tells us about the broader state of Asia’s dynamic international environment.

About the Speaker

Prof. Nick Bisley is the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and the President of the Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. Prof. Bisley is a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs between 2013 and 2018, and has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East West-Center in Washington DC.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

Apple Store

Play Store

Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.


Feb 22 2023


10:00 am - 11:15 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar