June 12, 2006


Carry on the battle to conquer tyranny: From Iraq to Solomon Islands, Australians have a special duty to help extend the blessings of liberty and democracy across the world (Alexander Downer, June 13, 2006, The Australian)

Australia continues to be a significant force for the spread of freedom and democracy. We have fought wars for these values in the past, we continue to fight for them now and we will work in many ways to achieve the same outcomes in the future. [...]

It is a recurring theme in Australian foreign policy that where an oppressed people stand for freedom and democracy, Australia plays its part.

We are a significant country that is determined to use its resources and influence to support these values, whether it be with troops in the mountains of Afghanistan or with public servants in the offices of a Pacific island finance department. The desired outcome is similar.

I will not deny that there is a streak of altruism in this position. But it is also very much about self-interest. As I argued earlier, democracy, freedom, accountability and the rule of law all work against extremism and in favour of moderation and tolerance.

Therefore, by acting to support these values with our neighbours, in our region and across the globe, we help to provide a stable and secure environment in which we can live peacefully and prosper. This reality is borne out by simply contemplating the alternative: Australia trying to prosper in a region or a world of failed or despotic states.

While Australians are a little coy about how we express our commitment to freedom and democracy, we are also stoic and effective in the way we undertake the tasks involved. Our soldiers, our aid workers, our police and our bureaucrats are universally praised for their co-operative and egalitarian attitude as they go about their work in a matter-of-fact manner here and abroad. We will need those qualities for many years into the future because this is no easy task.

No matter how we express it, or the many ways we tackle it, support for freedom and democracy has to be an enduring aim of our foreign policy. And it will continue to be our guiding principle.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2006 5:34 PM

We in the Anglosphere understand our duty to humanity.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 12, 2006 6:28 PM