« Asia and the Pacific/Geopolitics and Regionalism

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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:

  1. Understand the key themes of, and constraints on, Australia's approach towards the Pacific Islands over time
  2. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of Australian whole-of-government cooperation in the Pacific
  3. Critically analyse and articulate Australian policy choices in its relations with the Pacific Islands
  4. Articulate ways in which Australian approaches and initiatives may be perceived, and critiqued, by Pacific Islands governments and decision-makers

Indicative Assessment:

Research essay: 200 words analysing a case study in Australian relations with the Pacific; 60%; links to Learning Outcomes 1, 4

Seminar presentation based on selected policy challenges; 40%; links to Learning Outcomes 2, 3

Assumed Knowledge:

This micro-credential is taught at graduate level and assumes the generic skills of a Bachelors or equivalent.

Micro-credential Stack Information:

 This Micro-credential is currently not part of a stack.


Course Code: DPA04

Workload: 62-72 hours

  • Contact hours: 12 hours
  • Individual study and assessment: 50-60 hours

ANU unit value: 3 units

Course Code level: 8000

Contact: ANU Department of Pacific Affairs: dpa@anu.edu.au

This Micro-credential is taught at a graduate level.  This is not an AQF qualification. 

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