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Australia as a Good International Citizen

Australia as a Good International Citizen

By Alison Pert

From time to time, politicians describe Australia as a “good international citizen”. But what does this mean, exactly? What constitutes good international citizenship? And does Australia really qualify as a good international citizen? This book attempts to answer these questions. Very little has been written about good international citizenship. Most of the limited literature is by international relations scholars and practitioners and therefore naturally tends to focus on Australian foreign policy.

Australian Constitution Justice 

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    From time to time, politicians describe Australia as a “good international citizen”. But what does this mean, exactly? What constitutes good international citizenship? And does Australia really qualify as a good international citizen? This book attempts to answer these questions. Very little has been written about good international citizenship. Most of the limited literature is by international relations scholars and practitioners and therefore naturally tends to focus on Australian foreign policy. Nobody has ventured a definition of the term, or even a list of qualities that a good international citizen should possess.

    This book therefore begins by proposing such a list, and identifies two particularly important elements: compliance with international law and support for multilateralism.

    Using these elements as a yardstick, Dr Pert then seeks to measure Australia’s good international citizenship throughout its post-Federation history. Account is given of the shenanigans of Billy Hughes at the 1919 peace conference in Versailles (not a great example of good international citizenship); the forgotten contribution to international economic and social cooperation of Stanley Bruce in the late 1930s; “Doc” Evatt’s astonishing performance at San Francisco in 1945, where the United Nations Charter was negotiated, and his personal influence on the form the new world organisation was to take; the almost dormant Menzies years; the Whitlam revolution and re-engagement with the world; and the Fraser reaction. The analysis continues with the Hawke/Keating, Howard, and Rudd/Gillard governments.

    One of the main conclusions the book draws from this analysis is that states – whether Australia or others such as the archetypically “good” Scandinavian states – can be paragons of good international citizenship in one area (say, overseas aid) but the opposite in another (such as repulsion of asylum-seekers, or arms exports). Thus, it argues, “good international citizenship” is not a blanket term that can be applied to a state. Instead, a state can be a good international citizen in some areas, and quite the opposite in others. A full account of how Australia rates from this perspective is given from Federation to the demise of the second Rudd government in 2013.

  • About the author
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    ISBN: 9781862879874

    Published: 2015

    Format: Hardcover

  • Table of contents

    Foreword by Gareth Evans AC QC

    Acknowledgments

    Table of Cases

    Table of Statutes

    List of Treaties

    INTRODUCTION

    CHAPTER 1: WHAT IS A “GOOD INTERNATIONAL CITIZEN”?

    1.    Development of the concept

    2.    Good international citizenship activities

    3.    Good international citizenship attributes

    4.    Are the attributes cumulative or independent?

    5.    Does undertaking good international citizenship activities necessarily make a state a good international citizen?

    6.    The focus of this book

    CHAPTER 2: FROM FEDERATION TO VERSAILLES 1901-1919

    1.     Australia’s international legal status at Federation

    2.    Domestic politics before the First World War

    3.    Australian foreign policy 1901-1919

    4.    The White Australia policy

    5.    Australia’s international citizenship prior to the Great War

    6.    The First World War

    7.    Paris 1919

    8.    The relevance of the White Australia policy to good international citizenship

    9.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 3: 1919-1941

    1.     Domestic politics in the inter-war period

    2.    External affairs in the inter-war period

    3.    Engagement with international law

    4.    Multilateralism

    5.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 4: 1941-1972

    1.     Domestic politics

    2.    External affairs

    3.    Engagement with international law 1941-1972

    4.    Multilateralism

    5.    The White Australia policy

    6.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 5: WHITLAM AND FRASER 1972-1983

    1.     The Whitlam Government (1972-1975)

    2.    The Fraser Government (1975-1983)

    3.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 6: THE HAWKE AND KEATING GOVERNMENTS 1983-1996

    1.     Engagement with international law

    2.    Multilateralism

    3.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 7: THE HOWARD YEARS 1996-2007

    1.     Domestic policy

    2.     Foreign policy

    3.     Engagement with international law

    4.    Multilateralism

    5.     Conclusions

    CHAPTER 8: THE RUDD AND GILLARD GOVERNMENTS 2007-2013

    1.     Engagement with international law

    2.    The Rudd and Gillard governments’ attitude to multilateralism

    3.    Conclusions

    CHAPTER 9: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

    Has Australia earned the title of good international citizen?

    Themes and patterns

    General themes

    Some concluding thoughts

    Bibliography

    Index

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