Engaging an Elephant in the Room? Locating Africa in Australian Foreign Policy

David Mickler, N. Pijovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, School of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Queensland and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Africa has traditionally been marginal to the Australian foreign policy agenda, aside from British colonial and Commonwealth ties and later efforts to end minority rule in southern Africa. Yet a resources boom, strong economic growth, increasing democratisation and reformed governance institutions have created new international interests in engaging with Africa and made it difficult for aspiring global players like Australia to ignore the continent's opportunities and challenges. Under Labor (2007-13), Canberra pursued substantial "new engagement" with this "new Africa", enhancing political and diplomatic relations, supporting major Australian commercial interests and quadrupling the Africa aid budget. Following the election of the Abbott Coalition government in September 2013, the article argues that while commercial opportunities and some specific security and humanitarian concerns will keep the Coalition interested in Africa, the enhanced level of engagement with the continent pursued under Labor is unlikely to be sustained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-120
JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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