We now take our place among the global giants: Luxembourg and Rwanda.
The direct costs of the bid were exorbitant enough, but the dramatic increase and redistribution in aid funding does no credit to Australia, will harm the economic development of recipient countries and damage Australia’s budget further. These aid pledges are just like the Rudd Government’s pink bat fiasco.
But I almost choked reading Michael Fullilove’s fawning drivel in the Drum.
Let’s examine Fullilove’s comments:
Australia’s election to the Security Council earlier today is a magnificent win for Australian diplomacy. All those involved in the initiation and prosecution of the campaign deserve kudos.
No, the taxpayer purchased the votes. There is no proof that any of the Australian public servants or ministers changed even one vote.
Membership of the Security Council is manifestly in our national interest.
Quite the contrary, membership (temporary, non veto) is demonstrably against Australia’s national interest as demonstrated by Sheridan. It diverts Australia’s foreign policy to trivia and away from our region, as Sheridan states: “Now more than ever our foreign policy will be caught up in the boutique trivia of UN reform, the media-friendly issues of the Middle East and Africa, where we can have no impact, and in the great global gabfests.”
It is the pointy end of the United Nations. UN bashers hate to hear this, but the 2002-2003 debate over the invasion of Iraq demonstrates the centrality of the Council in conferring legitimacy on the use of force, or denying it – which in turn affects the risks and costs of a military operation.
A stupid comment. The five permanent members of the Security Council always meet separately and then dictate to the other members. Do you really think that Rwanda is going to be consulted before a UN military action is contemplated? No, the temporary members just suck it up.
Sitting on the Council will increase our international leverage. It will add to our international reputation. Like our alliance with the United States, Council membership will be a source of international prestige, but a different and complementary source of prestige.
Oh, please, what crap. Does it increase the international reputation of Luxembourg, Rwanda and Argentina? Will that reputation be lost when we relinquish membership two years later? Australia’s international reputation is made or lost by our behaviour and our trade. It is made by our economic prosperity and freedoms. What an Ambassador does or does not do inside a Security Council meeting does not enhance Australia’s prestige.
We now have the opportunity to make our own arguments in our own name. Anyone who has a large opinion of Australia’s possibilities should welcome this.
No, this will be making Julia Gillard’s arguments, not ‘our’ arguments. Personally I think that Finland would better represent Australia’s national interests than the Gillard Government.
This is a big opportunity for Australia. We are a country with global interests and capacities. We have the 12th largest economy in the world and a highly professional military. We have a remarkable record for contributing to international security. Now we can bring those capacities to bear in the Security Council. The benefits to us will spill over into many of our other bilateral relationships, including in the region.
No, it is a big opportunity for the Australian Ambassador to the UN. It makes no real difference to Australia – our influence is best met outside the United Nations. The Australian economy has grown substantially since we last held a temporary position on the UNSC. It is inconceivable that there will be any significant bilateral benefits to Australia from the next term.
But this will also be a test for Australian politicians and officials. It will stretch our foreign policy establishment, which is severely under-resourced. Sometimes Australian policy makers have let important global issues go through to the keeper. As a Security Council member, we can no longer do this. This result will push Australian foreign policy in a global direction.
In fact this is the biggest risk to Australian taxpayers, who will now be tickled for more money to fund an already bloated foreign service. Our foreign service should be cut (there is substantial fat) and yet the SC membership will be used as a tool to increase spending on DFAT and the public service generally. I guess Australian winemakers should rejoice, with the new spending on Embassy receptions.