Plenary Session Two

Is there freedom of speech in the Australia-China discussion?

For Australia, the spectacular rise of China has meant the opportunity for a rewarding trade partnership. However, there are risks and uncertainties. For the first time in Australia’s history, our most important economic relationship is with a state very different in values and politics.

In recent times, there have been attacks on Beijing over China’s alleged interference in Canberra politics and the role of overseas Chinese students in promoting a Chinese Communist Party-doctored image of their homeland in Australian universities. Meanwhile, anxieties are growing about China’s geo-political rise: some strategists fear that Beijing wants to push the Americans out of East Asia, much like the US pushed the European powers out of the Western hemisphere in the 19th century.

Are claims of China’s interference in Australian affairs overstated? How are our leaders protecting Australia’s sovereignty and democratic values? What issues do we face with our security, media, government and education? Can we afford to be tougher with China? And how do we reconcile relations between our most important trade partner and our most important security ally?

Anastasia Lin

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Dr Alan Dupont

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Dr Geoff Raby AO

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Sue Windybank

Director of China and free societies program, CIS

Director and Founder of the Centre for Independent Studies

Professor of Public Policy and Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University


Sociologist, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney.
Author of The New Authoritarianism

Director, Free Market Foundation, (Hungary)

Health Director, Health and BioSecurity, CSIRO

Director and Founder, Academy of Ideas, London, (UK)

Founder and CEO, Cognoscenti Group

Executive Director, The New Zealand Initiative (NZ)

Australian writer and columnist for the News Limited Press

Research Director, CIS

Programme Co-ordinator of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Western Australia

Chinese Canadian human rights advocate

Senior Research Fellow, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

CEO and Founding Director, China Matters

Former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives and Cabinet Minister

Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, and Professor of History, Australian Catholic University

Cancer researcher and clinical oncologist, with Genesis Care Newcastle

Founder and President, Middle East Forum, publisher Middle East Quarterly Journal, (US)

Professor of Economics, University of Melbourne

Senior Research Fellow and Director, Culture, Prosperity & Civil Society Program, CIS

Internationally acclaimed novelist and journalist, (US)

Head of Economic Research, Reserve Bank of Australia

Executive Director, CIS

Professor of Economics at Stanford University; Senior Fellow in Economics at the Hoover Institution and Chair of the Working Group on Economic Policy, (US)

UQ-CSIRO Chair in Personalised Nanodiagnostics, Professorial Research Fellow, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland

Diplomat, American Board of Pathology

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

Liberal Party Member for Berowra

Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011, Chairman & CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd based in Beijing

Director of China and Free Societies program, CIS

Senior Research Scholar, Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, (US)