Curtin, champion of the Empire

7 March 2011

This article first appeared in the Australian Literary Review, March 2011 and was published in the Australian, March 02, 2011.

In June 2008 Julia Gillard, as deputy prime minister, addressed a gathering of the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue in Washington, DC.

Speaking in the lavish US State Department dining room that overlooked the Lincoln Memorial, Gillard drew on the familiar rhetoric of shared values and common interests that defined the relationship between Australia and the US.

The occasion was widely seen as her debut on the foreign policy stage, a chance to show the supposed movers and shakers of the alliance and the Washington power elite that she had the necessary mettle to handle international affairs.

When Gillard took over from Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister two years later, it was the text of this speech to which many journalists and analysts turned to try to discern what her prime ministership might mean for the direction of Australian foreign policy.

For the full article: The Australian

Dr Curran is on the staff of the History Department, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.