Australia and China: A conversation with Paul Keating

Oct 5, 2022
Paul Keating speaker Ideas and Society

La Trobe University’s Ideas and Society Program is extremely pleased to be able to invite you to an online discussion between former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, and James Curran, a Professor of History at the University of Sydney and author of Australia’s China Odyssey, on a question fundamental to the future of Australia – our relations with China and, thus, the United States.

In the words of the Convenor of the Ideas and Society Program, Professor Robert Manne:

“Fully a quarter century since his Prime Ministership, Paul Keating remains the political voice a very large number of Australians believe most worth listening to.

“Mr Keating has long argued that Australia must seek security not from Asia but in Asia. By contrast, the Morrison government sought to resurrect Australia’s reliance on our two “great and powerful friends” with its creation of the AUKUS Treaty.

“The present leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, has even argued that it is “inconceivable” that we would not go to war in defence of Taiwan, thus effectively abandoning the longstanding United States and Australian policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding China and Taiwan.

“The Albanese Government has, so far at least, altered the tone but not the substance of the China policy it inherited from its predecessor.

“In relation to China, Paul Keating has called for realism, calm and balance. Most recently, he criticised the decision of Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to visit Taiwan, a visit to which China responded with a series of threatening military exercises aimed against Taipei and which notably ratcheted up the tension between Washington and Beijing.

“For both supporters and opponents of the Keating argument regarding a question that will shape Australia’s future, Paul Keating’s conversation with James Curran ought not to be missed.”

Event overview:

Title: 2022 Ideas & Society – Australia and China: A Conversation with Paul Keating

Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Time: 5:00 PM Australian Eastern Daylight Time (Victoria)

Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Speakers:

The Honourable Paul Keating – 24th Prime Minister of Australia

Paul Keating served as Australia’s 24th Prime Minister, from 1991 to 1996, having been Treasurer between 1983 and 1991.

His political legacy includes the fundamental economic and social reforms that laid the basis for Australia’s last quarter century of economic performance which includes the complete deregulation of Australia’s financial, product and labour markets. Paul Keating also established Australia’s compulsory superannuation system – the fourth largest pool of savings in the world – now with more than $3.4trillion under management. He worked for inclusive social policy, for Australia to become a republic, establishing the Native Title legislation, while releasing the Creative Nation program; the seminal arts policy of the period. His reforms in education included establishing the Australian National Training Authority for vocational education. In foreign policy, he established the APEC Leaders’ Meeting and worked to forge Australia’s place in the region, especially with Indonesia.

His book, Engagement: Australia faces the Asia Pacific, was published in 2000 and was translated into Chinese and Japanese. In October 2011, his book of post Prime-Ministerial speeches, After Words, was published. Keating, the book based on the 2013 four-part ABC interview series with Kerry O’Brien, was published in 2015, followed by Paul Keating: The Big Picture Leader by Troy Bramston, released in November 2016.

He maintains his interest in architecture and urban design and is the progenitor of the world-leading Barangaroo project on Sydney Harbour, including and especially its Headland Park. He was recently a co-panellist on a review for a vision of the historic Macquarie Street East precinct in Sydney, commissioned by the NSW government.

Paul Keating is an occasional public contributor on Australian and international economic issues, geopolitics, foreign policy and security and on superannuation. He specialises on the geostrategic settings of East Asia.

Professor James Curran – Professor of Modern History – University of Sydney

James Curran is Professor of Modern History at Sydney University. A foreign affairs columnist for the Australian Financial Review, he has also written policy papers and analysis for the Lowy Institute and China Matters. His commentary has appeared in the East Asia Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations Asia Unboundseries, and The National Interest. His poetry has been published in Meanjin and Quadrant. In 2013 James was the Keith Cameron Chair at University College Dublin and in 2010 a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University. He is a member of the DFAT Historical Documents Advisory Board. Prior to being an academic, Curran served in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as intelligence analyst at the Office of National Assessments.

Professor Curran has published a number of books and journal articles on Australian political culture and foreign affairs, including The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image (2004), The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire (with Stuart Ward, 2010) (shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s History prize) Curtin’s Empire (2011) Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War (2015) and a Penguin special Fighting with America (2016). Curran’s most recent book, published in late 2021, is a study of the sporting genius of Australian rugby legend David Campese, entitled Campese: The Last of the Dream Sellers. His next book, Fear and Greed: A Modern History of Australia-China Relations, is to be published by Newsouth Press in August this year.

Professor Susan Dodds -Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Industry Engagement)
La Trobe University

Professor Susan Dodds is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) at La Trobe University. She is a nationally and internationally recognised philosopher, especially known for her leadership in research ethics and public policy development related to emerging medical technologies in applied ethics and political philosophy.

Professor Dodds is the leader of the ethics, policy and public engagement theme of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES). Previously, she has held roles at the University of Wollongong, the University of Tasmania and the University of New South Wales.

You can watch the conversation from the comfort of your home.

Register here. 

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