Free Trade Focus
Australia's prosperity has been built on our open, export oriented economic model, heavily reliant upon our ability to trade with the rest of the world.
With a relatively small population on a large resource-rich continent, we are dependent on overseas demand for our exports to maintain our high standard of living.
Living within our means to avoid a crisis – lessons from Cyprus
There is an old saying that it only takes one shot to start a war.
While technically correct, this ignores the build-up - a failure of diplomacy, increasing tensions, months or years of military escalation and a collapse of trust in the opposing government or military force - that ultimately leads to that first shot.
There is a parallel with the European sovereign debt crisis where one event in recent days could turn out to be the tipping point.
The debt crisis has taken years to develop as governments in Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, among others, have steadily accumulated ever increasing levels of debt.
By consistently spending more than they derive from taxation income, false community expectations about the role of government have been created, which will be ever more difficult to wind back.
Australia cannot afford to be complacent about China
The first official overseas trip taken by China’s new president Xi Jinping has revealed a number of key priorities for China in coming years.
A predictable first port of call was Russia, with the two nations having a long-standing and deep relationship based not only on geography but also history and political systems.
Their trading relationship is also important.
China has been a significant buyer of Russian military hardware in the past, including advanced fighter jets, submarines and ships.
Julia Gillard in her glass house - rewriting history and throwing stones
Last weekend Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave a speech at the Boao Forum in China.
The audience included President Xi Jinping and other world leaders. I was present along with a delegation of Australian business leaders.
While it was not entirely unexpected, it was disappointing all the same to hear the Prime Minister claim total ownership of the Australia - China relationship.
She lavished praise on the efforts of the Whitlam and Hawke governments, as well as her own, but studiously ignored the contribution of the Howard Government, or indeed any other government, to the current strength of the bilateral relationship.