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.

The most important but least discussed issue of the campaign will be population policy.

After the Asian Century White Paper launch, both big parties embraced the happy-clappy version of Asia's rise: it's all about opportunity and ambition. But as Indonesia, Vietnam, China, India and others grow, our strategic and diplomatic weight, and that of our major ally, diminishes. We gradually lose the ability to shape our own destiny.

Does Australia want to be a security maker or security taker? Ultimately, that question rests on the size of our economy and tax base, determined in large part by our population size.