Australia’s Relationship with the Pacific Islands


Level of study: Career Based/Vocational

The Pacific “Step-up” has been one of the Australian Government’s highest foreign policy priorities in recent years. How and why has this come about? This credential considers the extent to which current policy reflects longstanding themes in Australia’s attitude towards the Pacific Islands (including PNG), dating back to the 19th Century, and the extent to which it represents a qualitative change of focus.
The credential will consider Australia’s preponderant role as the primary security provider, and largest aid donor, in the region, alongside both its allies and friends in the region, and its strategic competitors. The credential material will also cover the nature of non-government links between Australia and the Pacific, and the impact that opening Australia’s labour market to Pacific Islanders is having on relationships in the region. The credential has a strong policy orientation and draws heavily on practitioner as well as academic perspectives. It will expose participants to Pacific Islander views, perspectives and assumptions about Australia and Australian policy towards the region.
Overview of the history of Australia’s relations with the Pacific islands
Contemporary relations: the Step-up and its origins
Security cooperation between Australia and the Pacific Islands
Australian aid in the Pacific: challenges and choices
People-to-people links including labour mobility
How do Pacific Islanders perceive Australia?
Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion, enrolees will have the knowledge and skills to:
Understand the key themes of, and constraints on, Australia’s approach towards the Pacific Islands over time
Understand the strengths and weaknesses of Australian whole-of-government cooperation in the Pacific
Critically analyse and articulate Australian policy choices in its relations with the Pacific Islands
Articulate ways in which Australian approaches and initiatives may be perceived, and critiqued, by Pacific Islands governments and decision-makers

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