The 2014 Lowy Lecture has been widely acknowledged in international press as signaling a turning point for German foreign policy:
…the speech the German chancellor gave in Australia, a few days after Vladimir Putin stormed out of the G20, may go down as a major shift in European geopolitics...Germany seems to be closing down Ostpolitik, the policy that has driven much of its diplomacy for decades. This has potentially huge repercussions that may shift the power games in Europe… It is worth listening to Merkel's Sydney speech. In a few swift sentences, she cast the Putin regime not just as a nuisance in a nasty regional rivalry, but as a threat to the very heart of European wellbeing. – Guardian (UK Edition)
Angela Merkel is a disciplined and cautious public speaker. So when she makes statements that seem fired by passion and resolve, it is good to take note. And if those statements prompt her foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to urge a softer tone, something big probably happened. That is what happened in Sydney, Australia, on November 17th, when Mrs Merkel talked at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Her main subject was the aggression of Russia's Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. – The Economist
German Chancellor Angela Merkel now speaks openly about, 'outdated thinking in terms of spheres of influence which tramples international law' and says it 'must not be allowed to prevail.' It's a thought she may have harbored many times, but when she said it in Sydney last week, it marked the first time she had uttered such sentiments to a global audience. It was a clear challenge and turning point after a year of diplomatic efforts that, while not useless, now appear to have been exhausted. – Der Spiegel
As relations between Russia and the West increasingly resemble the bygone days of the Cold War, Ms. Merkel abandoned her traditionally cautious tone on Monday, castigating Russia for its actions in Ukraine, for intimidating sovereign states in Eastern Europe and for threatening to spread conflict more broadly across Europe. 'The Ukraine crisis is most likely not just a regional problem,' Ms. Merkel said in a speech at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. 'In this case, we see it affects us all'. – New York Times
If that's not enough to convince you to read the full transcript or watch the full video, watch this 4 min highlights video, which captures Chancellor Merkel's key comments on Russia. Shout out to Modular Productions for aptly capturing the 'buzz' from the lecture.