Author Archives: Geoff Raby

Geoff Raby

About Geoff Raby

Geoff Raby AO is an Australian economist and diplomat. He served as the Australian Ambassador to the People's Republic of China from February 2007 until August 2011.

The Australian Government regards China as a strategic competitor, a revisionist power, and one that must be resisted.

At last the contradiction that over the past four years has been at the heart of Australian foreign and security policy towards China has been resolved. In a series of important announcements, the Australian Government has now made it clear … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. PM’s Virus Inquiry was a Lose-Lose Call (AFR 4.5.20)

The Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister have handily demonstrated over the past fortnight how not to get an international inquiry into the origins and early management, or mismanagement, of COVID-19.  It has been a useful lesson for students of … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Health, Politics, World Affairs | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY supports Pearls and Irritations.

Pearls & Irritations has become indispensable reading for those with a serious interest in public policy and commentary.

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GEOFF RABY.- China is coming out the winner in the coronavirus pandemic

With increased confidence in the Chinese bond market and lagging health measures taken in many of the worlds richest countries, Beijing may come out as an economic winner after the global coronavirus pandemic.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY COVID-19 is unlikely to be Xi’s Chernobyl moment(AFR 2.2.2020)

Cynicism is prevalent but is trumped by the CCP’s patriotic narrative and the government’s performance in delivering on people’s expectations.

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GEOFF RABY. Australia-China:The year ahead (UTS/ACRI Forum5.2.2020)

Civil emergencies have marked the start of the New Year for both Canberra and Beijing. Each in its own way is likely to have some implications for foreign policy and how the bilateral relationship is managed.

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GEOFF RABY.-Why Xi Jinping has had a very good year(AFR 18.12.2019)

China’s leader has shrugged off a trade war and an uprising in Hong Kong, and confounded Australia’s establishment security hawks.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY. China in a time of change.

The Chinese Communist Party: Does It Stay or Does It Go? Contemporary China cannot be comprehended without understanding the role of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).   With 85 million members it represents a tiny share of the total population (1.4 … Continue reading

Posted in China Series | 4 Comments

GEOFF RABY.  Beijing’s Own Goal on Hastie and Johnson (Australian Financial Review, 21 November 2019)

These days there is never a dull moment in Australia-China relations.  After a seeming slight thaw with the recent meeting between Prime Minister Morrison and Premier LI Keqiang in Thailand on the margins of the recent ASEAN meeting, Beijing has … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 4 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Beijing’s Winning Hand in Hong Kong

Far from Hong Kong being a negative and putting Xi under pressure, as is commonly believed by most foreign commentators, including myself, the ongoing disturbance and violence have achieved two things for the Communist Party: fatal damage within China to … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY. The lowest ebb – the decline and decline of Australia’s relationship with China

Today, the Australia-China relationship is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations began 46 years ago.  (This Annual La Trobe China Oration was delivered on 29 October 2019.  It is much longer than usual postings. The issues involved however are very … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY. The China Threat leads to dead ends (Australian Financial Review, 29 October 2019)

The Australia-China relationship is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations began 46 years ago.  This is something the Australian Government doesn’t wish to discuss.  Its diplomats are paid to put a positive spin on things.  Elements of the conservative … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 4 Comments

GEOFF RABY.  An Economic Giant With More Brittle Politics Than Ever. AFR 1 October 2019

China’s 70th Anniversary will be a razzle-dazzle extravaganza celebrating the achievements of the Communist Party of China since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.  The party-state’s propaganda machinery has already been in over-drive extolling the Party’s achievements over … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 4 Comments

GEOFF RABY. The end of Hong Kong as we know it (AFR 6 Sep 2019)

Tragically, the turmoil in Hong Kong can only end badly.  No good outcomes are available to the participants.  Whatever happens, Hong Kong will never be the same again.  2046, the last year of the 50-year transition, will begin once the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY.  Our China Threat is based on a fundamental error (Australian Financial Review, 19 August 2019)

Andrew Hastie’s intervention on the China Threat helpfully highlights the extent to which Australia’s intelligence, security and defence establishment (ISDE) is running Australia’s China foreign policy.   In stark language he has laid out many of the assumptions that underly the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 6 Comments

GEOFF RABY.  Xi Jinping: much more than just one man (The Interpreter, Lowy Institute, 16 July 2019)

Book Review: Xi Jinping: The Backlash by Richard McGregor (Penguin, Lowy Institute, 2019) Richard McGregor has written a dazzling account of the first six years of the Xi Jinping era and what he sees as the “backlash” to Xi’s increasing … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY.  The Problem with China’s Soft Power: It doesn’t have any( AFR 17 July 2017)

Last week the US Pace Gallery announced it was closing its flagship contemporary art gallery in the famous 798 art space and expanding at home.  Also last week, police squads and bulldozers moved in to demolish several more of Beijing’s … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY and IRVIN STUDIN. Can Australia think for itself?

Some years ago, in his usually provocative way, Kishore Mahbubhani published a polemic, Can Asians Think? It was his push back against the uni-polar moment and the perceived arrogance of the Washington Consensus. Asia was capable of working out its … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing has been changed for ever

Hong Kong’s relationship with Beijing has been changed for ever Whatever the precise figure, the demonstrations in Hong Kong were the biggest ever in the city and possibly the biggest in Chinese history against a government.  Confident in the power … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 4 Comments

GEOFF RABY. What a Morrison Government could do on China.

The Accidental Morrison Government needs now to face up to Australia’s most important foreign policy challenge: how to restore relations with China.  Under Turnbull/Bishop’s mismanagement, the relationship plumbed its lowest depth since diplomatic relations were established 47 years ago.  Doing … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. Wresting China diplomacy back from the securicrats.

In the fading days of the Morrison Government, two important decisions are likely to be overlooked. Both came last week.  One was to establish the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations and the other the appointment of a new Ambassador to … Continue reading

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Trump will create early tests for a new Labor Government (AFR 13.2.2019)

In a few months, Labor is likely to take charge of Australia’s foreign policy and security. It will be doing so with a global order vastly different that which existed last time it held power. It is important then to … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

GEOFF RABY. How a desert book festival outshone the chill over Davos.

Last week two major events on the calendar of global gatherings kicked off the New Year.  They could not have been further apart.  Some 20,000 attendees, mainly middle aged and older, made their way up the snow blanketed steep valleys … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. China needs a grown-up foreign policy for a changed era.

At the key 19th Party Congress in October 2017, Xi Jinping set out his signature policy – Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era – which, unusually early on in his term, was inscribed into the Party’s Constitution as … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. Xi Jinping’s Year of Living Dangerously.

2018 may well go down as a defining year for President Xi Jinping’s leadership – one that marks the beginning of the end for the “President for Life”.   President Xi began the year in full command of the country, seemingly … Continue reading

Posted in Asia | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Australia has normalised relations with a China-led future (Australian Financial Review, 21.11.18)

The Australia-China relationship is almost back to normal.  The speed at which it has recovered has surprised.  It has taken two statesman-like speeches by the former Prime Minister and his successor, and the appointment of a new Foreign Minister as … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 7 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Time to ground Australia’s China fear in facts (AFR 29.10.18)

As December draws near, thoughts turn to annual anniversaries and remembrances. This December marks the 51st anniversary of one of the more bizarre events in Australia’s political history. On December 17, 1967, then prime minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. East Asia Just Became a More Dangerous Place

Hugh White in his controversial 2010 book, China Choice, warned Australian policy makers that with the rise of China, the time would come when the US would have to make a choice as to whether to withdraw gradually from East … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

GEOFF RABY. Prometheus bound: How China’s power is constrained

The more Australia positions itself as if there is only a binary choice between US or Chinese hegemonic influence in the region, the more likely conflict becomes.

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

GEOFF RABY. Australia needs a foreign policy not a speech (Australian Financial Review, 21.08.18)

The Prime Minister’s intervention last week to take charge of China policy and begin to set out a clearer framework for managing the relationship was much too late and probably too little, but it was a welcome start nonetheless.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment