Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

By Henry S. Albinski | Go to book overview

against Australia if, on a matter such as trade or the treatment of foreign investment, Australian policy ran across stated American interests. Careful checking by the author failed to uncover any instance of punitive US measures against Australia. Indeed, regarding trade differences, the United States was circumspect and tried to minimize damage to Australia. Washington seemed to understand that aspects of the most vital American stakes in Australia, such as the defence facilities, depended on large doses of mutual goodwill.

There also was evidence that, on its part, Australia could afford to be selective in its trade with America. In a late 1974 interview, Renouf drew an illuminating example. Australia would soon need to decide on a wide-body civilian aircraft. The options were between US models and the multi-nationally built European airbus. Australia should buy the airbus, Renouf said, for "good diplomatic and political reasons". Australia's relations with the United States were strong enough to withstand Australian rejection of American aircraft; "It is in our interests that we should be looking after the Europeans. In any case, this is the sort of line Foreign Affairs will be taking to the Government." 101

The record seemed to indicate that, under Labor, overseas trade was carried out with a conspicuously pragmatic hand, and with good results. There was some evidence of combining a drive for export markets with a reluctance to reciprocate with ample opportunities for imports, but this occurred without visible counter-productive consequences. Where foreign policy considerations intruded on trade, their effect, at least in the short to middle term, appeared to range from neutral to positive. Of the three pillars of international economic policy--foreign investment, resource management and trade--it was trade that seemed to be most coherently, and successfully, pursued.


NOTES
1.
For aid performance under L-CP governments, see Parliamentary Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Report on Australia's Foreign Aid ( Canberra: 1973). For material that includes the Labor period, see Australian Development Assistance Agency, Australian Aid to Developing Countries ( Canberra: 1975); Australia's Overseas Development Assistance, 1975-76, Budget Paper no. 10 ( Canberra: 1975); and B. Juddery assessment, Canberra Times, 23 August 1975. For representative opposition criticisms, see Peacock News Releases of 17 April and 13 May 1974, and his remarks in Commonwealth [Australian] Parliamentary Debates (APD), House of Representatives (HR), ( 18 September 1974), pp. 1480-81.
2.
For a review of Australia's Papua New Guinea aid programme and its drawbacks, see C. Ashton, National Times, 2 December 1974; and B. Toohey, Australian Financial Review, 24 July 1975. For some adverse PNG reactions to Australian aid, see B. Toohey , Australian Financial Review, 24 July 1975 and Melbourne Age, 13 August 1975.

-219-

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Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Liberal Inheritance: I 1
  • Notes 25
  • 2 - The Liberal Inheritance: II 28
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Australia and the International Scene 60
  • Notes 89
  • 4 - External Policy: Diplomatic Dimensions: I 92
  • Notes 120
  • 5 - External Policy: Diplomatic Dimensions: II 124
  • Notes 173
  • 6 - External Policy: Economic Dimensions 178
  • Notes 219
  • 7 - External Policy: Defence Dimensions 225
  • Notes 268
  • 8 - The External Policy Process 274
  • Notes 317
  • 9 - Electoral Politics and External Policy 321
  • Notes 352
  • Bibliography 355
  • Index 359
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