When European explorers came to the south Pacific in the sixteenth century, most islanders enjoyed the lifestyles of the richest lords in their home countries. Relative living standards for the majority of islanders in the 14 independent Pacific island states have now deteriorated to being among the lowest in the world, while small elites absorb great wealth. Crime, corruption and political unrest are the inevitable result. The research program analyses the causes of economic failure and suggests policies that would lead to modern living standards.


  1. Preserving Peace as China Rises I

    Benjamin Herscovitch | 13 Mar 2014 | Foreign Policy Analysis

    Inventive foreign policy that can simultaneously reassure the Indo-Pacific’s established powers and accommodate Chinese... Read More...

  2. Future Submarine Project Should Raise Periscope for Another Look

    Simon Cowan | 24 Oct 2012 | Policy Monographs

    Australia should not spend $40 billion to repeat the mistakes of the Collins Class submarine. Nuclear submarines, such as... Read More...

  3. Southeast Asia’s American Embrace

    Jessica Brown | 29 Mar 2012 | Foreign Policy Analysis

    All Southeast Asian states want to take advantage of the benefits of a rising China, yet none wants it to be in a position... Read More...

  4. The Bipolar Pacific

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 21 Aug 2008 | Issue Analysis

    Guest-worker schemes, which have been proposed as a development solution for the Pacific, no doubt benefit the individuals... Read More...

  5. FEATURE: The Illegal Pacific, Part 1: Organised Crime

    Susan Windybank | 04 Jun 2008 | POLICY Magazine

    Until the islands establish the rule of law, they will continue to suffer from the 'dark side' of globalisation.

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Opinion & Commentary

  1. End the cargo-cult aid mentality that has ruined our neighbours

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 16 Apr 2012 | The Australian

    Pacific elites have appropriated the bulk of aid, mineral, forestry and other incomes to become immensely wealthy at the ... Read More

  2. Pakistan a Chinese pawn to stall India

    John Lee | 19 Jul 2011 | The Australian

    AT the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting of defence ministers in Singapore last month, Indian Defence Minister Pallam Raju was ... Read More

  3. The Fiji meeting would be a farce if it were funny

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 30 Mar 2011 | The Canberra Times

    ‘Melanesia’ is an anthropologists’ construct that has no economic and little other sense. It the arcane world of United ... Read More

  4. What a difference a decade doesn't make to the lives of Pacific Islanders

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 12 Jun 2010 | The Australian

    Ten years after the UN pledged to address poverty and poor health and education levels in the Pacific region, the shameful ... Read More

  5. Army of well-paid advisers keep Pacific poor

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 22 Feb 2010 | The Australian

    Poorly targeted aid to the Pacific hinders rather than helps the region.... Read More

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