What will Biden's Summit mean for the Indo-Pacific?

Producers
Bridi Rice & Madeleine Flint
Contributors
Richard Maude, Asia Society
Serena Sasingian, The Voice
Prof. John Blaxland, Australian National University
Dr Nicola Nixon, The Asia Foundation
Peter Yates, The Asia Foundation
Stefaan Verhulst, New York University
Andrew Young, New York University
Uma Kalkar, New York University
Dr Bryce Wakefield, Australian Institute for International Affairs
Blake Chrystal, USAID

Podcast

The Readout

Democracy Series • Part
Special Episode: Anka Lee Situation Room Address

Recent events have put aid, China and the Indo-Pacific squarely on the map for many Australians. So there was no better a time for The Lab to host Anka Lee, USAID’s acting Deputy Assistant Administrator and Senior Advisor for the PRC, at our Situation Room just last week. He was in Australia on behalf of USAID who are creating a policy on countering China’s growing influence.

The Situation Room is a Chatham-house style discussion among industry professionals, foreign policy experts and development leaders. However, Anka’s opening address was too good not to share. With his permission, join the Lab’s own Bridi Rice as we share Anka’s opening remarks and unpack what that means for Australia.

He dives into the challenges that USAID is trying to solve when it comes to China and development, and what principles they’ll take into developing a response. Bridi tackles what all of this means for Australia and how our own narratives determine where to from here.

Democracy Series • Part
00
Reintroducing: The Readout

The Readout is the Development Intelligence Lab's podcast hosted by CEO Bridi Rice. Each episode, you'll meet one development leader, hear their big idea and discover how it can shape the future of Australian development assistance. The show features Australian and international development leaders at the top of their fields.

Democracy Series • Part
01
A Summit for Democracy

President Biden has just held the first Summit for Democracy. What will it mean for the Indo-Pacific? Before we dive into the complexities for our region, let’s find out what happened at the Summit. With Richard Maude from Asia Society and Bryce Wakefield from AIIA.

Democracy Series • Part
01
The Readout — Series 3 Episode 1

With so much going on in the development space, The Lab called in old friends Jo Choe and James Gilling to sit in front of The Readout microphones. Over the morning, we delved into the Federal Budget, DFAT capability and the imminent policy. Not bad for a first conversation and there’s plenty more to unpack over the coming weeks.

Democracy Series • Part
01
Dame Meg Taylor x Aid is not development: The true character of Pacific aid

Aid is not development. Dame Meg Taylor, former Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, argues that most aid to the Pacific “comes in, it’s filtered through the system, and then it goes back to Australia”. According to Meg, Australia needs to change the way it does aid to ensure transparency and effectiveness.

Read Dame Meg Taylor and Soli Middleby’s “Aid is not Development: The True Character of Pacific Aid” here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dpr.12745

Democracy Series • Part
01
Dr Mike Green x The main game for Australian development is development, not building influence

Has Australian aid become too embroiled in geostrategic competition? We take you behind the scenes of a Lab hosted debate, with Dr Mike Green, CEO of the US Studies Centre, and Senior Advisor and Kissinger Chair in Strategy at CSIS. Mike lays out his geostrategic rationale for why Australian development should focus primarily on shoring up the long-term vibrancy of open, inclusive and accountable states in our region.

If you want to read more about the topic of this episode, here’s where to look:

Professor Hugh White’s piece on The Intel, ‘Using the aid program for geostrategic competition: good, bad or indifferent?’ - https://www.devintelligencelab.com/intel/23june2022

Lab Head of Analysis and Engagement Heather Murphy’s presentation at the Australasian Aid Conference 2023, ‘Transactional or transformational? Navigating the competing purposes of Australia’s aid program’ - https://devpolicy.org/2023-Australasian-AID-Conference/AAC2023_Panel1e_Murphy.pdf

Lab CEO Bridi Rice’s episode on Australia in the World podcast, ‘Australia’s international development policy’ - https://australiaintheworld.podbean.com/e/ep-116-australia-s-international-development-policy/

Development policy Centre Senior Research Officer Cameron Hill’s piece on the Dev Policy Blog ‘A new aid strategy: purpose, priorities, and plumbing’ - https://devpolicy.org/a-new-aid-strategy-purpose-priorities-and-plumbing-20221012/

Democracy Series • Part
01
Lisa Denney x Diverse Pathways to People Centred Justice

Why does Australia continue to privilege policing and formal justice sector support given that research shows most people in our region seek justice through informal systems? With Deputy Director of La Trobe University's Centre for Human Security and Social Change Lisa Denney, we discuss people centred approaches to justice. Lisa speaks on the fundamentality of peace and prosperity in the region where the rule of law delivers for people, not just for institutions.

Read Lisa’s International Development Law Organisation report here: https://www.idlo.int/publications/diverse-pathways-people-centred-justice

Democracy Series • Part
02
A Pacific Perspective

To learn more about the state of democracy, and what the Summit will mean for the region, let’s start where we should – with a Pacific perspective. With Serena Sasingian from The Voice.

Democracy Series • Part
02
The Readout — Series 3 Episode 2

Jo Choe and James Gilling sit down with the Lab's CEO Bridi Rice to discuss the Biden no-show, all tools of statecraft, and the value of effective country planning.

Democracy Series • Part
02
Solstice Middleby x Aid is not development: The true character of Pacific aid, part 2

Solstice Middleby, PhD Scholar at Adelaide University, says that Australia is on overdrive with the “family” or “Vuvale” and “good neighbour” or “Falepili” narrative, but it’s actions do not follow. According to Soli, the aid industry is not tooled to deliver on the needs of the Pacific peoples. As a consequence, Australia is losing credibility in the Pacific as a development partner.

Read Dame Meg Taylor and Soli Middleby’s “Aid is not Development: The True Character of Pacific Aid” here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dpr.12745

Democracy Series • Part
02
Jane Edge x Disability Equity and Rights Strategy - what's critical for effectiveness?

Is Australia walking the talk on its longstanding commitment to disability? With CEO of CBM Australia Jane Edge, we discuss how Australia can retain its leadership and hard-won gains made in disability inclusion. Jane lays out what is most critical for Government to consider as it drafts a new Disability, Equity and Rights Strategy.

Read Jane’s piece for the Lab’s Intel here: https://www.devintelligencelab.com/intel/02november2023

Democracy Series • Part
02
Hervé Lemahieu x How Australia Can Unleash Its Own “Brussels Effect” in the Pacific Island Region

How could the integration of Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand achieve development outcomes, remedy power asymmetries and inoculate against an excess of geopolitics in the Pacific region? With Director of Research at the Lowy Institue, Hervé Lemahieu, we discuss borrowing some of the logic of European integration to better equip the region to advance its collective interests.

Read Hervé Lemahieu’s piece, ‘How Australia Can Unleash Its Own “Brussels Effect” in the Pacific Island Region.’ here: https://www.australianforeignaffairs.com/essay/2024/02/dead-in-the-water

Democracy Series • Part
03
A Security Perspective

So we’ve heard why governance support is critical for prosperity in the region. But just how seriously should Australia take this? According to one of Australia’s top security experts – very. With Professor John Blaxland from ANU.

Democracy Series • Part
03
The Readout - Series 3 Episode 3

In this episode, Bridi again sits down with Jo Choe and James Gilling to chat about the development debates that have surfaced in the past few weeks.

The group discuss Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's speech in Singapore at the International Institute for Strategic Studies earlier this month, where he talked about Australia's commitment to the region and the importance of dialogue 'at the heart of our efforts'. How does this impact how Australia delivers its development program?

They dive into James' recommended reading, 'The Long Slow Death of Development' published in 2022 in the American Affairs Journal. Is there a shift in traditional modes of development?

And they take a look at the possibility of a development program reset - signalled in the Terms of Reference of the new Development Policy. Will the ideas in the TOR be reflected in the new policy and drive a new way of doing development?

Democracy Series • Part
03
Diastika Rahwidiati x Australia in Southeast Asia: Do we have the development skills, stamina, and leadership?

Does Australia have the development skills, stamina and leadership to keep up with the region? Diastika Rahwidiati, Senior Strategic Innovation Designer at Chora Design thinks so, provided that Australia learns “across the different portfolios of aid investments” and provides “these as intersectional recommendations for the Government.”

Read Diastika Rahwidiati’s "Australia in Southeast Asia: do we have the development skills, stamina, and leadership?" here: https://www.devintelligencelab.com/intel/15june2023

Democracy Series • Part
03
Melissa Conley Tyler x What does it look like for Australia to take a whole-of-nation approach to international policy?

What is a whole-of-nation approach to international policy? And what does it look like? With Asia Pacific Development, Diplomacy and Defence Dialogue (AP4D) Executive Directer Melissa Conley Tyler, we give you an exclusive preview of the upcoming AP4D paper, 'What does it look like for Australia to take a whole-of-nation approach to international policy?’

Democracy Series • Part
04
A Practitioner Perspective

What exactly does ‘democracy promotion’ mean in real terms? How do practitioners approach the work? And critically – what’s the challenge with adopting a US-style approach to the issue? With Dr Nicola Nixon and Peter Yates from The Asia Foundation.

Democracy Series • Part
04
The Readout - Series 3 Episode 4

In this episode, The Development Intelligence Lab’s CEO, Bridi Rice, chats virtually with Jo Choe and James Gilling about recent development news.

The trio unpack recent headlines: the Foreign Minister’s announcement of an increase in humanitarian aid to Sudan; the release of Overseas Development Institute's new Principled Aid Index; and Japan’s new development compact (its first since 2015).

Reflecting on the Lab’s recent Intel question - Bridi, Jo and James muse about the types of development skills and the role Australia should play in SE Asia. Is this a radically different proposition from our engagement with the Pacific?

And they consider the USAID approach to localisation (read USAID’s first review of its ambitious 2021 targets here). What lessons can Australia’s aid program take from both the setting of targets and the review process?

Democracy Series • Part
04
Richard Moore x Australian Development Cooperation: Urgent and important, but “not a priority”

“The great promise of integration was that we would be bringing different policy instruments to bear.” Strategic Advisor at the Development Intelligence Lab Richard Moore says little has changed in Australia’s international development policy since the DFAT-AusAID merger. Development cooperation may be important in the rhetoric, but facts suggest it is “not a priority” in practice.

Read Richard Moore’s “Australian development cooperation: Urgent and important, but “not a priority” here: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/australian-development-cooperation-urgent-important-not-priority

Democracy Series • Part
04
Natalie Sambhi x Generals gaining ground: Civil-military relations and democracy in Indonesia

What does an expanded role of the military in civilian government mean for Indonesia's next government, and how does this affect Australia’s development assistance and support of democratic institutions in Indonesia? Founder of Verve Research and Non-Resident fellow at Brookings Institution Natalie Sambhi explains how civil society and trust in public institutions play a crucial role in strengthening democracy in Indonesia, as we explore her article ‘Generals Gaining Ground: Civil-military Relations and Democracy in Indonesia.’

Read Natalie’s article for Brooking’s here: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/generals-gaining-ground-civil-military-relations-and-democracy-in-indonesia/

Democracy Series • Part
04
Mira Sulistiyanto x Pulse Check Indonesia

How can Australia deliver on its commitments to be a ‘better listener,’ understand the needs of the region, and be ‘less transactional’ in the delivery of its development assistance? With Mira Sulistiyanto, Analyst at the Development Intelligence Lab, we discuss the findings of the Pulse Check x Indonesia. Mira dives into ideas and insights from Indonesian non-government experts, and highlights what policymakers could make of these results.

Read the Pulse Check x Indonesia findings here: https://www.devintelligencelab.com/pulse-check-sea/indonesia

Democracy Series • Part
05
A US Perspective

We’ve heard a lot of about the different approaches of the US compared with Australia. So how does the US go about democracy promotion? With Blake Chrystal from USAID.

Democracy Series • Part
05
The Readout - Series 3 Episode 5

In this episode, the Lab’s CEO, Bridi Rice, sits down again with Jo Choe and James Gilling.

The group discuss recent development headlines: staffing moves at DFAT including Ambassadorial appointments and bureaucratic shuffles of Rod Brazier, Elizabeth Peak and Ewen McDonald, reactions to the recent visit by the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, and the China-Solomon Islands implementation plan on policing.

Given it is SDG reporting season at the UN HQ in New York at the moment Bridi, Jo and James discuss the latest UN SDG progress report and muse about why the SDGs have had limited impact here in Australia.

Finally, the trio once again consider Australia’s new development policy (expected to drop shortly). How prominently will climate feature in the new policy, what might it say about climate finance and will we see climate follow gender and adopt a mainstreaming approach?

Democracy Series • Part
05
Stephen Howes x Tuvalu election and the Falepili Union

What does the recent Tuvalu general election mean for the implementation of the Falepili Union? With Director of the ANU Development Policy Centre Stephen Howes, we unpack the possibilities of the agreement, discussing his article “Australia-Tuvalu deal brings a visa-free Pacific closer”.

Read Stephen's piece here: https://devpolicy.org/australia-tuvalu-deal-brings-a-visa-free-pacific-closer-20231114/

Democracy Series • Part
05
Sue Robertson x ‘There but for the grace of God…’ – reflections on leading the APS Integrity Taskforce

How will investing in the psychological safety and contestability of the public service deliver better foreign policy results for Australia? With leader of the APS Integrity Taskforce, Sue Robertson, we discuss her experience and what lessons can be adopted to cultivate integrity within the Australian Government at home and abroad.

Read Sue’s piece, ‘There but for the grace of God,’ reflecting on her time with the Taskforce here: https://anzsog.edu.au/news/sue-robertson-reflections-aps-integrity-taskforce/

Democracy Series • Part
05
Mat Tinkler x What’s the secret to a successful donor-implementer relationship?

What’s the secret to a successful donor-implementer relationship? With CEO of Save the Children Australia, Mat Tinkler, we discuss his latest piece for the Intel - asking just that. Expanding on his piece, Mat highlights the importance of trust, and stresses the need for government and delivery partners to step up their game to effectively deliver on development funding.

Read Mat Tinkler’s piece, ‘What’s the secret to a successful donor-implementer relationship?’ here: https://www.devintelligencelab.com/intel/11april2024

Democracy Series • Part
06
Marc Purcell x The Safer World For All Campaign

What does the Safer World For All campaign want? With CEO of the Australian Council For International Development (ACFID), Marc Purcell, we discuss the origins of the campaign, its engagement strategy and its key demands. In the lead up to the budget, Marc highlights the role of activism in holding policymakers to account.

Dive into the Safer World For All Campaign here: https://saferworld.org.au/

Democracy Series • Part
07
Dr Elizabeth Buchanan x The Sad State of Australia's Security Discourse

Why has Australia “all but institutionalised self-censorship in intellectual strategic thought”? With Dr Elizabeth Buchanan, Senior Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), we discuss her piece ‘The Sad State of Australia’s Security Discourse.’ Elizabeth lays out the importance of cultivating rich, robust, contestable, and nuanced dialogue in security and broader foreign policy spaces.

Read Elizabeth’s piece here: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-sad-state-of-australias-security-discourse/

Democracy Series • Part
08
Heather Murphy x Navigating the competing purposes of Australian development

How can Australian policymakers better navigate the competing objectives of Australia’s development program? With Heather Murphy, Head of Analysis and Engagement at the Development Intelligence Lab, we discuss her recent policy brief ‘Navigating the competing purposes of Australian development.’ Heather lays out the importance of looking beyond the binary, and explores how Official Development Assistance (ODA)-funded activities can, and do, produce both geostrategic and development outcomes - but not without some costs.

Finally, Heather pitches her idea for what should be on the radar of Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jan Adams AO PSM.

Read the policy brief here: https://www.devintelligencelab.com/analyses/navigating-the-competing-purposes-of-australian-development

Democracy Series • Part
09
Dr Darren Lim x Australia’s Reassessment of Economic Interdependence with China

How can Australian policymakers untangle the intricate threads of the nation's relationship with China? With Dr. Darren Lim, Senior Lecturer at the ANU, we discuss his piece on ‘Australia’s Reassessment of Economic Interdependence with China.’ Darren navigates the convergence of economics, national security, and geopolitics, shedding light on Australia's evolving statecraft while emphasising the significance of development cooperation in the region.

Finally, Darren pitches his ideas to policymakers, including to Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, and the Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific.

Read Darren’s piece here: https://www.nbr.org/publication/australias-reassessment-of-economic-interdependence-with-china/