If Australian foreign policy has generally been marked by bipartisanship and, frankly, an element of disinterest by voters, the Lowy Institute debate between Foreign Minister Bob Carr and opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Julie Bishop last night changed all that. There was a clear divide between the two that could, potentially, resonate with voters on September 7.
Bishop carved out a new Coalition policy position that foreign affairs would henceforth be about trying to secure Australia’s economic interests. All else fell away by comparison. “Foreign policy will be trade policy,” Bishop said, “and trade policy will be foreign policy.”