Disruptive Asia Debate | Values vs Interests (Sydney)


Australia and China in the Pacific: Collaborators or Competitors?

Disruptive Asia China edition

When it comes to China, how do we balance our values vs our interests? 

This year Disruptive Asia focuses on China. We asked our authors, what should Australia's ‘bounded engagement’ with China look like?

Now we broaden the discussion with a public debate series across Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne unpacking the boundaries and parameters of our relationship with China.

In Sydney on 3 September we ask, are Australia and China collaborators or competitors in the Pacific? We will be joined by authors Dr Bates Gill, Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University and Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF Australia, along with China and Pacific specialists Glenda Korporaal, China Correspondent for The Australian, Dr Merriden Varrall, Director of Geopolitics and Tax at KPMG Australia & Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute and Shiu Raj Singh, Senior Private Sector Development Officer, Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office at the Asian Development Bank.

Date: Tuesday 3 September 2019
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Venue: State Library of NSW, Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Street Wing, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

This event is open to all members of the public. Registration essential. If you're unsure, please contact programaustralia@asiasociety.org for further information. 

Register here >> 

Since the launch in 2017, Disruptive Asia has become widely recognised across policy, business and education circles for its contribution to understanding the major issues facing Australia-Asia relations. The publication offers original analysis, nuanced perspectives and practical policy recommendations.

In 2020 the debate series will be stepped-up to quarterly program across the major state capitals.

About our speakers:

Dr Bates Gill, Professor of Asia-Pacific Security Studies, Macquarie University & Associate Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House, London)

Bates Gill

Dr Bates Gill has a 30-year international career as an educator, scholar, and policy advisor. An academically-trained and internationally-respected China specialist, he has led a global top-ten think tank and held academic and research positions at world-leading universities and public policy research institutions in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific.

Before joining the Security Studies Department at Macquarie University, Dr Gill held positions at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney (2012-2017).  He was Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)(2007-2012) and held the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C (2002-2007). He also served as a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies and inaugural Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution (1998-2002).

Among his international honours, Dr Gill holds the Royal Order of the Commander of the Polar Star, the highest award bestowed upon foreigners by the Swedish monarch. In 2015, he was named a top-ten American China expert by the Chinese Foreign Affairs University. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was inducted in to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2007.

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Dermot O’Gorman, Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Fund for Nature Australia

Dermot O'Gorman

Dermot O’Gorman is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature Australia. He began his career with the NSW Parks & Wildlife Service and, after studying in London, joined WWF in the UK in 1998. During nearly two decades with WWF he has worked in conservation all over the world, including as CEO of WWF-China, CEO of WWF-Pacific and, since 2010, back home as CEO of WWF-Australia.

This has given Dermot a wealth of experience working with vastly different stakeholders and exposure to a range of local, regional and global conservation issues.

Dermot is passionate about the big picture of conservation; how to provide sustainable food and energy for seven billion people while maintaining space for nature, and using collaboration and partnerships to protect the natural world today for tomorrow’s generations.

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Dr Merriden Varrall, Director of Geopolitics and Tax, KPMG Australia & Nonresident Fellow, Lowy Institute

Merriden Varrall

Dr Merriden Varrall is Director of Geopolitics and Tax at KPMG and a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. From 2014- 2018, Merriden was the Director of the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Before joining the Institute, Merriden was the Assistant Country Director and Senior Policy Advisor at United Nations Development Programme, China, where she worked on China’s role in the world, focusing on its international development cooperation policy.

Prior to that she worked for the Australian Government Treasury and the Department of Family and Community Services. Merriden spent almost eight years living and working in China, including lecturing in foreign policy at the China Foreign Affairs University and conducting fieldwork for her doctoral research.

Merriden has a PhD examining Chinese foreign policy from Macquarie University, Sydney, and the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from the Australian National University, and completed her undergraduate studies in international studies at the University of Technology Sydney

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Shiu Raj Singh, Senior Private Sector Development Officer, Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office, Asian Development Bank

Shiu Raj Singh

Shiu Raj Singh is the Senior Private Sector Development Officer at ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office. Shiu joined the office early in 2019 and his work involves country programming and project preparatory work.

He has previously been ADB’s country officer and country economist for Fiji and Samoa and country economist for Cook Islands. He has been with the ADB for over 5 years.

Before joining ADB, Shiu worked in the IMF Suva office and was IMF economist for Samoa and Tuvalu. Shiu began his economics career working in the Fiji public service from 1998 as a graduate trainee until 2010 finishing as the Chief Economist in the Ministry of Planning.

Shiu has a Master’s degree in Economics (Hons) from Lincoln University, Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of the South Pacific and a Bachelor’s degree in Business (multidiscipline) from Monash University.

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Glenda Korporaal, China Correspondent, The Australian (Moderator)

Glenda Korporaal

Glenda Korporaal has been covering business and finance in Australia and around the world for more than thirty years. She has worked in Sydney, Canberra, Washington, New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore and has interviewed many of Australia's top business executives. Her career has included stints as deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review and business editor for The Bulletin magazine.

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Disruptive Asia is a thought-leadership project by Asia Society Australia launched in 2017. It presents – through long-form essays – new perspectives and policy recommendations on how Asia’s rise is impacting Australia’s foreign policy, economy and society and how Australia should respond. Disruptive Asia deliberately looks at both external aspects of Australia’s relationship with Asia (foreign policy, business connectivity, international education) and their domestic implications and manifestations (community relations, leadership diversity, education settings and capabilities).

Event Details

Tue 03 Sep 2019
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

State Library of NSW, Metcalfe Auditorium, Macquarie Street Wing, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000


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