Writing & News

No Enemies No Friends: restoring Australia’s Global Relevance by Allan Behm


We were delighted to celebrate with Allan Behm the shortlisting of his excellent book in the inaugural Australian Political Book of the Year award on 9 November 2022 in Canberra. The Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers presented the award to Dean Ashenden for his book Telling Tennant’s Story: the Strange Career of the Great Australian Silence (Black Inc). The judges were Laurie Oakes, Laura Tingle and John Warhurst and this is what they said about Allan’s book (published by Upswell in March 2022).

This book calls on us to confront the past and present hypocrisy of the way Australia presents itself to the world. Our racist, patronising and narrow-minded flaws are on display for all to see, no matter how much we believe everyone thinks we are great. That leaves us, as he says, with no real friends, let alone enemies. The book sounds the alarm on just how far we have retreated into foreign policy being dictated by domestic politics, and provides a cutting critique of current policy. This is all done with an insider’s deep knowledge of how foreign policy works at a political and  bureaucratic level. Behm also does something many don’t: he provides solid proposals for how we reshape policy on the Pacific, South East Asia and China.

The Australian Political Book of the Year is jointly sponsored by Collins Booksellers and York Park Group, and was established this year to highlight the ‘significant role Australian political books play in better understanding politics and public policy’.

The Australian Political Book of the Year 2022. Authors and Judges in attendance (with Allan Behm fourth from the left.)