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Ranked 6 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 30.8 out of 100.

Lost 1.6 points (−5% change) in overall score in 2021.


Australia is a middle power in Asia.

Australia’s overall score declined by 1.6 points in 2021. After gaining ground last year, the country’s comprehensive power is now approximately back to its pre-pandemic level.

Australia performs best in the defence networks measure, where it places 2nd as a result of the country’s strong showing for regional defence diplomacy with allied and non-allied partners alike. Its lowest rankings are in the economic capability and future resources measures, coming in at 9th place for both.

Australia held its rankings across all eight measures of power in 2021. The country improved its resilience score in 2021 with enhanced geoeconomic security. China’s trade tariffs and informal sanctions have been largely offset by untouched iron ore exports to China and trade diversion in other sectors.

A new AUKUS trilateral pact, which includes the United States and the United Kingdom, promises to create the bedrock for a future fleet of Australian nuclear-propelled submarines that will eventually allow the country to project power at long range into key theatres of the Indo-Pacific. Nonetheless, Australia is trending down on military capability and has lost 2.7 points in its regional defence networks in 2021.

The first development highlights the fact that the nuclear-powered boats will not arrive for perhaps two decades, during which time Australia’s signature military capabilities will remain limited and its navy reliant on an existing fleet of ageing conventional submarines. The second is a reminder that the trilateral pact marks a deepening rather than a widening of Australia’s regional defence networks.

Australia exerts more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score. However, it is trending down in two key measures of influence — diplomatic influence and economic relationships. The latter, in part, due to its displacement by China as the primary foreign investor in Papua New Guinea.

Read more analysis in the Key Findings report . Explore further results in the Scores section.

Bilateral Influence

Bilateral trade, current dollars (2020)

Countries that influence Australia

Globally, which countries does Australia do most of its trade with?

China 38.3%

Japan 8.8%

European Union 8.8%

United States 7.8%

South Korea 4.7%

Countries influenced by Australia

Which countries in the region rely most on trade with Australia?

Papua New Guinea 25.9%

New Zealand 12.7%

Brunei 3.9%

Japan 3.7%

China 3.6%