Australia’s Misguided Turn Inward

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A decade of political self-indulgence is leaving the country without a credible voice in Asia.

By George Megalogenis

Mr. Megalogenis is the author of “Australia’s Second Chance.”

Dec. 3, 2018

“MELBOURNE, Australia — A wealthy country that should be well placed to prosper as global power shifts toward Asia, Australia is stumbling into a crisis of relevance in the region.

The old Australian posture as an affluent outlier in Asia with the stature to do as it pleases — a country that could switch from being a regional bully on refugee policy to being a neighbor’s best friend without being punished for its double standard — is no longer viable.

This is a crisis largely of our own making. A decade of political self-indulgence at home risks leaving us without a credible voice in Asia.

At a time when China, our major trading partner, is ascendant and our traditional allies in the North Atlantic are in retreat, Australia should be stepping up as a champion of openness. But our politicians are turning inward, and now the beleaguered conservative government of Scott Morrison is threatening to reduce immigration, our main engine of growth.”