Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Feature Interviews

Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Australia-Indonesia Cattle Trade: John Cunnington

For Indonesia, Australia has become a reliable source of large volumes of disease-free livestock that thrive in a similar tropical environment. Among the greatest challenges currently confronting the industry are: price and supply issues, largely due to prolonged drought and devastating floods, especially in northern Australia; a lack of dialogue at the government-to-government level; and the slowness of the industry to tell its side of the story, including of the importance of the live export trade, especially to northern Australia, and the work that has been done to improve animal welfare.

Vale Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd).

The Founder, Chairman and Patron of Future Directions International, Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd), sadly passed away in December of last year. One of his many legacies, that will continue to touch the lives of Australians, was his dedication to the regeneration of the landscape. To acknowledge his contribution FDI is today publishing a Feature Interview with General Jeffery in his role as National Advocate of Soil Health.
From 2012 to very shortly before his passing, General Jeffery strove to provide leadership and national strategic direction to the good work being done by soil scientists and landscape managers across Australia. He worked tirelessly to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity and helping to meet global challenges, including food and water security and climate change.

Boosting Trade and Investment Integration among Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Countries: Professor Peter Draper

24 November 2020 | Feature Interviews, Indian Ocean

Each of the five IORA sub-regions contains core member states that are driving trading patterns and trade integration across the wider IORA region. It is a region with tremendous demographic potential, which will be significant from a trade and investment point of view. As a leader in the mining and services sectors, Australia should be looking more closely at ways to harness the demographic and economic growth of the East Africa sub-region, where, in the medium term and beyond, there is a lot of potential in those areas.

Rick Wilson Federal Member for O’Connor and Chairman of the House of Representative Standing Committee for Agriculture and Water Resources

Mr Rick Wilson is the Federal member for the electorate of O’Connor, an electorate that covers a large area of Western Australia. He is currently the Chairman of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources. He is also a member of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil. Recently, FDI took the opportunity to interview Rick about these organisations and Australian agriculture and water resources generally.

The British Indian Ocean Territory: Clouds on the Horizon for Diego Garcia? – Dr Peter Harris

18 August 2020 | Feature Interviews, Indian Ocean

UK sovereignty over the islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory (also known as the Chagos Archipelago) has been ruled to be illegitimate by the International Court of Justice and the UN General Assembly. US and British concerns over Mauritian sovereignty of the territory are centred on the possibility that the US military might be evicted from Diego Garcia, but retaining the US presence has strategic and financial value for Mauritius.

Indonesia in 2020 and Beyond: Bill Sullivan – Part Two: COVID-19, Economic Reform, Foreign Relations, 2024 Election

In its relationship with China, Indonesia faces very similar issues to Australia and is realising that having a close relationship with Beijing brings risks for Indonesian sovereignty and interests. Given their historical closeness, Indonesia may follow India’s lead and develop a closer relationship with the United States as a way of counterbalancing Chinese expansionism.

Indonesia in 2020 and Beyond: Bill Sullivan – Part One: Australia, Legal System, IA-CEPA, Mining and Resources

The Australia-Indonesia relationship will inevitably include rocky patches and may never be truly close, but there are enough incentives for both countries to enjoy a productive working relationship. The principal challenge faced by all foreign investors and businesses in Indonesia is the opaque and non-transparent nature of the Indonesian legal and court systems that are inherently difficult for foreigners to deal with.

Contemporary and Future Challenges in Indonesia: Ross Taylor

Indonesia’s decentralised, three-tiered regional autonomy structure of governance exacerbates the difficulty of doing business in the country and has heightened the confused responses to Covid-19. While Australia and Indonesia are working very well together across a range of issues, awareness of that needs to be raised in both countries because any coverage of the relationship still tends to be dominated by the things that go wrong, rather than by all the things that are going right.

Energy and Defence Outlook in Indonesia: Colin Singer

The energy sector faces significant challenges in attracting foreign investment, as the Indonesian Government is moving towards nationalising the industry. There is a push to bring defence down to the people, and which is largely supported by the public, with a focus on the equipping of a more localised military force, as opposed to expenditure on aircraft and submarines. Australia has arguably gone backwards in its understanding of its giant neighbour and needs to develop a deeper awareness of the shifting geopolitical realities in the region.

Justin Bellanger: The Dieback Disease Threat to the Forests of South-West Western Australia

Phytophthora dieback poses a significant threat to the Australian environment. This introduced plant pathogen spreads easily, causing disease, death and potential extinction in susceptible plants and the loss of habitat for native animals. It poses a major threat to over 40 per cent of the native flora in Western Australia, particularly in the South-West regional area. Justin Bellanger, from the South Coast Natural Resource Management agency recently spoke to FDI, outlining the extent of the disease, its impacts and the work his organisation is doing in dealing with the problem.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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