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The Australian National University

Dr Graeme Smith

BSc (Hons), PhD (Sydney); BA (UNSW), PhD (ANU)
Research Fellow, State Society & Governance in Melanesia Program, School of International, Political & Strategic Studies
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: + 61 2 6125 9923

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Asian Society 169903
  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Political Science 1606

Research interests

The political economy of: Chinese outbound direct investment in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, service delivery in rural China, development assistance, migration, resource projects and agribusiness.



I joined Political and Social Change (PSC) as a Visiting Fellow in July 2009, and took up a part time appointment in 2014. My main research interests are Chinese state and non-state actors in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, and the political economy of local government in rural China. I have authored several book chapters, as well as articles in The China Journal and The China Quarterly, and edited volumes of Pacific Affairs and Asian Studies Review. My recent project, undertaken in collaboration with Sinclair Dinnen and Paul D’Arcy, examined Chinese outbound direct investment in Papua New Guinea, and the migration and aid flows which have accompanied it. This research is being expanded to include other Pacific Nations (Samoa, Tonga and New Caledonia). With the support of UNDP China, DFAT and CAITEC, I am working with several Pacific and Chinese researchers to develop recommendations for trilateral cooperation between China and Australia in the Pacific region.

Career highlights

Appointment as a research fellow at the University of Sydney (2012); a postdoctoral fellow at UTS (2009); research associate at the ANU (2007), lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of NSW (1999-2004). Visiting scholar at Sun Yat Sen University (2013), and the School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University (2001). Various academic awards, including the best article prize for The Journal of Pacific History (2013), the Gordon White Prize for the best article in China Quarterly (2011), WJ Liu Esq. Memorial Prize (2001), UNSW-Tsinghua Scholarship (2001), Chinese Government Scholarship (1998-1999).

Current student projects


Denghua Zhang, A promising new trend? Factors driving growing Chinese trilateral aid cooperation

Col. Pete Connolly, Chinese and Australian interests in Melanesia

Shaun Gessler, China answers Yali’s question? Landowner politics at Ramu nickel


Beyongo Dynamic, Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in Australia and Zambia

Laurentina (Mica) Barreto Soares (Swinburne University), China and Timor-Leste’s state-building process

He Wenzheng (Tsinghua University), The preservation and cultivation of moralities in a Fijian village


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Updated:  28 June 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers