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Monday, 27 September 1999
Page: 10514


Mr RUDD —From time to time in this place various members utter certain forms of madness. Fortunately, these forms of madness are most often confined to our domestic political debate. When they do extend abroad, however, the airing which they get is usually of a type which does not go to the core of the interests of our neighbours in the region. However, unfortunately the same cannot be said of the recently proclaimed Howard doctrine, as outlined in last week's Bulletin . As part of the Howard doctrine, which supposedly will underpin our future defence and foreign policies in the region, Australia will now be running around the region as some sort of apprentice to Wyatt Earp in pursuing a broader security policy interest on behalf of the United States.

One of the things that could be said about persons who start naming doctrines after themselves is that self-delusion has already started to exceed rationality. Certainly Presi dent Monroe comes to mind when he started to proclaim the Monroe doctrine in the United States some time ago. The regional reaction from every capital in Asia—from Beijing to Bangkok—to this statement which came out of the Prime Minister last week about a Howard doctrine and about acting as a deputy sheriff to the United States has been one of puzzlement and concern. At difficult times like this it is important that Australian Prime Ministers and foreign ministers exercise restraint in their language on sensitive questions of foreign policy and security rather than engaging in wild Rambo statements. (Time expired)