We kick off our election coverage with short posts from Lowy Institute experts on what they regard as the most important international policy issue of this campaign.

Asylum seekers and people smuggling ought not to be the main international policy issues of the campaign, but each party has placed them front and centre. Each party's policy is settled ahead of the election: the PNG solution vs Operation Sovereign Borders. Even putting aside human rights objections to either policy, questions persist.

To provide just a selection: what is plan B for the PNG solution if the number of boat arrivals exceed the numbers that can be transferred to PNG (and latterly Nauru)? If boat journeys stop or decrease markedly, what fate for the likely 10,000+ asylum seekers and refugees already in Indonesia? How does this shift in policy affect the 20 August regional summit, agreed to with Indonesia in early July? If towing boats is a key plank of Coalition policy, what will the alternative measure be if this policy is unworkable?