Coercion and Resistance: How Australia Awoke from its China Dream


About the Webinar

Over the last year, the deterioration in Australia-China relations has broadened and deepened. China has imposed more unilateral punitive trade measures on the Australian economy, and Canberra has become more vocal in its criticism of China’s international behaviour. With China’s share of approximately 35% of Australia’s total exports, Australia is more trade dependent on China than any Southeast Asian economy is.

The recent State of Southeast Asia 2021 Survey Report by ISEAS indicates that Southeast Asian policy elites are worried about China’s use of its economic and strategic power to limit the autonomy of Southeast Asian states. The deterioration of Australia-China relations and the Australian government and society’s response provide a good test case of how the Xi Jinping administration is using China’s growing power and influence, and how affected states can resist its coercive elements.

About the Speaker

Professor Rory Medcalf has been Head of the National Security College (NSC) at the Australian National University since January 2015.

His professional background involves three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, academia and journalism, including as founding Director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute from 2007 to 2015.

In government, Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the then Office of National Assessments (now the Office of National Intelligence), Canberra’s peak intelligence analysis agency. He was also an Australian diplomat, with wide experience including a posting to New Delhi, a secondment to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, truce monitoring after the civil conflict in Bougainville and policy development on Asian security institutions. His earlier work in journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys, in 1991.

Professor Medcalf has been prominent in developing Australia’s relations with India. He has been recognised as a thought leader internationally for his work on the Indo-Pacific concept of the Asian strategic environment, as articulated in his 2020 book Contest for the Indo-Pacific (released internationally as Indo-Pacific Empire).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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If you have questions for the speaker, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.


May 07 2021


10:00 am - 11:00 am