Huong Le Thu
The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper released by the Turnbull government in November 2017 was refreshing in the way it reprioritised Southeast Asia as a key focal point. Southeast Asia is an important region for Australia due to its proximity and economic potential, among other reasons. However, Australia’s recent enthusiasm over Southeast Asia needs to be accompanied by a more nuanced and patient understanding of the region, as well as its defining institution the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While imperfect and often perceived as ineffective, ASEAN remains an important actor in the evolving multipolar world order and it is in Australia’s best interests to support this multilateral institution.