Alexander Downer

Alexander Downer is a former Australian foreign minister and chairman of the thinktank Policy Exchange.

Is the Quad finished?

Since the late 1990s, Australian governments have been considering how to make their neighbourhood, the Indo-Pacific, a stable and peaceful region. Australia has articulated the need for a balance of power, between a rising China on the one hand and the liberal democracies of the region on the other.  Australia has been particularly concerned about

Italy’s new wave: Europe’s escalating migrant crisis

45 min listen

This week: Christopher Caldwell writes The Spectator’s cover piece on Italy’s new wave of migrants. This is in light of the situation in Lampedusa which he argues could upend European politics. Chris joins the podcast alongside Amy Kazmin, Rome correspondent at the Financial Times, to debate Europe’s escalating migrant crisis. (01:23) Also this week: In his column, Matthew Parris

Does CPTPP make it harder to reverse Brexit?

16 min listen

Britain has agreed to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a £9 trillion trade bloc with 11 members. James Heale, speaks to Katy Balls and a special guest, Alexander Downer about whether this is a win for the government. And what it could mean for those looking to reverse Brexit. 

With Alexander Downer

30 min listen

Alexander Downer is an Australian former politician and diplomat, whose roles have included Leader of the Liberal Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.  On the podcast he discusses his earliest memories growing up on a farm in Southern Australia, the role of food and wine in successful diplomacy, and

The threat to Britain’s undersea cables

‘In the digital age of cloud computing, the idea that steel and plastic pipes are integral to our life seems anachronistic,’ wrote Rishi Sunak. ‘But our ability to transmit confidential information, to conduct financial transactions and to communicate internationally all depend upon a global network of physical cables lying under the sea.’ And what if

The West is falling behind China in the next space race

It is the first duty of governments to keep their citizens safe, protecting them from harm. This means constantly being vigilant. We have to keep a close eye on our adversaries and competitors and their capabilities, whether they are states, organisations or individuals. But vigilance is not enough on its own – imagination is also

Prison island: Australia’s Covid fortress has become a jail

Australians have a reputation for rugged individualism, grit and competence. But when it comes to the pandemic, we have seen another side to my country: insecure, anxious and frozen by the fear of death from Covid. A recent global poll found that Australians more worried about the virus than any other western country. They have

The UK-Australia free trade agreement is a triumph

How significant is the UK-Australia trade deal announced this week during Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to Britain? Well, Australia already has 17 genuine free trade agreements, including with the United States, Japan and China. But the free trade agreement with the UK is undoubtedly one of the highest quality agreements Australia has ever reached.

How to deal with an aggressive China: lessons from Australia

What can the UK learn from Australia and its occasionally rocky relationship with China? The welcome decision to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network has prompted concerns that China will find a way to hit back. This is hardly surprising, as the Chinese ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, has warned Britain that ‘if you want to make

The free trade deal Britain must sign up to after Brexit

Now the UK is leaving the EU, Boris Johnson’s government can start planning a serious trade strategy for life after Brexit. So far the focus has been on a UK/US free trade agreement. But before that, the initial challenge for Britain will be to establish a rational set of priorities. First, the government must ask

No deal need not be a disaster

Spare a thought for us foreigners. We’re desperately trying to understand the meaning of the Brexit arguments being thrown around in the House of Commons. We all have our own countries too, so we view those arguments through the lens of our homelands. So here are a few reflections on how we react.  Theresa May’s deal