Does Australia deserve a seat on the Security Council?

23 October 2012

Australia is a worthy candidate for a seat on the UN Security Council, writes Professor Ben Saul.

In an article for ABC Online's The Drum, Professor Saul examines the merits of Australia's performance as a good global citizen in the lead-up to the vote on 18 October 2012.

"The Australian Government has naturally put forward its strongest case.

"Much of Australia's track record is impressive and hard for its rivals, Finland and Luxemburg, to beat (if only countries voted objectively on the merits).

"Our bid website lists a dazzling array of achievements, in peacekeeping, disarmament, development, climate change, disasters, human rights, gender, the global economy and international law.

"There is, indeed, much to be proud of.

"While we often expect more from Australian governments at home, by relative world standards, Australia is more often than not a constructive player in international affairs rather than a spoiler.

"Our diplomats are very good, even though there are not enough of them, they are too often tasked to advocate for bad policies, and too many drunk Australian backpackers waste too much of their time.

"While Australian foreign policy triumphs sparkle in our bid's glossy online brochure, our spectacular failures and deep disappointments are naturally omitted.

"Let's naively assume for a moment that other countries will vote for council candidates on their objective merits, rather than out of selfish or strategic reasons.

"A dark underside to our foreign policy in recent years then emerges and is hard to paint over."

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