Australia’s preoccupation with the US-China dynamic in recent years is unsurprising — given its historic relationship with America and the size of economic engagement with China. It is to be expected that some see a role for Australia in mediating the intensifying contest between these giants. To be realistic, however, the region of Asia where Australia has some strategic weight and credibility, born of a long record of deep engagement, is Southeast Asia. For this reason it is a positive development that the current Australian government seems committed to a policy of enhancing ASEAN relations. But there is much work to do.