Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 01:56 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 01:56 | SYDNEY

Labor foreign policy: A confession of sorts


Sam Roggeveen


18 January 2008 08:30

I'm one of the colleagues Michael refers to in his last post as being in the 'minimal change' camp when it comes to the foreign policies of the new government. I saw some reason to question this position even in December (a post which sparked further discussion here and here), and I agree with Michael that the new government's record so far indicates that there will be real differences with the Howard era. But when the issue first arose in discussions among colleagues, I like to think I was taking a more Olympian view of things. That is to say, despite changes on uranium, whaling, climate change and whatever else the Rudd Government next has in store, I think its foreign policy will still fit within the broadly centrist Australian foreign policy tradition. There will be no dramatic break with the past as there was in, say, New Zealand under David Lange. Others might argue that a succession of smaller changes, such as those we've already seen, will cumulatively represent a substantial shift. These are arguments that will ultimately get bogged down in definitional disputes about the meaning of 'radical' and 'substantial' and 'dramatic'. Luckily, that makes for excellent blog fodder.