Senator Willessee, Australia’s special Minister of State, has just attended the eighteenth Annual Council meeting of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), established in 1955 and originally including eight member countries: the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, the US, UK, France, Australia and New Zealand. The military pact.
The conduct of Australia’s foreign policy under the Rudd and Gillard governments was anything but inspiring. Under Tony Abbott, we have so far been treated to a succession of gaffes bordering on farce.
Every so often over the last 50 years, Australia’s relations with Indonesia have hit stormy waters. The present tensions over the spying scandal may not be the most serious, but they are serious enough.
We have yet to devise policies that acknowledge the richness of Asian cultures, their literatures, their values, their ancient and still living wisdom. Our much vaunted multiculturalism could gain much from a deeper religious and ethical understanding as well as the political and legal systems that are integral to a re-emerging Asia.