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Latham's little Australia.



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MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ALEXANDER DOWNER

April 7 2004

Latham’s little Australia

Labor Leader Mark Latham has outline d a foreign policy vision that views Australia as a “little” country begging for acceptance in Asia and retreating from the great issues of the world.

In a keynote speech on Australia’s foreign policy, the Leader of the country’s alternative Government makes no international policy commitments to the War against Terrorism. He has nothing to say about global efforts to combat the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. He has nothing to say about Australia’s role in assisting failing and weak states. Yet these are the defining issues of our time.

Under Latham’s Labor, Australia would shrink back within its borders, hiding from threats it seeks neither to understand nor challenge.

Labor would only seek to take on terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction after they were visited upon our shores. Mr Latham shows no understanding of how our national interests are global in scope.

The low priority Mr Latham places on our Pacific neighbours is shown by his extraordinary pledge to downgrade responsibility for their affairs in Australia to an assistant Minister.

Mr Latham promises to weaken Australia’s already robust e ngagement with Asia through a return to the obsequious posturing of the Keating years.

The Australian people will not be fooled by Mr Latham’s professed support for the US alliance. He opposes America protecting itself and its allies from missile attack and he wants to cut and run from Iraq. The US-Australia Free Trade Agreement (our largest trade initiative in 40 years) is viewed so negatively that it doesn’t even rate a mention.

Sadly, Mr Latham’s foreign policy manifesto contains not a single new idea. It is just a pathetic retreat into fortress Australia.

Media Inquiries: Chris Kenny 0419 206 890