Friday 30 Oct 2020 | 13:35 | SYDNEY
Friday 30 Oct 2020 | 13:35 | SYDNEY

The rise of Brazil


Martine Letts

5 October 2012 08:53

In the second of our series of interviews conducted at the Melbourne Latin American Dialogue in August hosted by the University of Melbourne (part 1 here), we took a look at Australia and Brazil from a Brazilian perspective.

University of Sao Paulo's Professor Amancio Silva's polling of elites and the public in Brazil tells us that Brazil sees itself as an 'intermediate' power with a strong attachment to multilateralism. High priority is given to a permanent seat for Brazil on the UN Security Council. 

Australia's ambitions are not dissimilar, if a little more modest, as perhaps befits a country with one ninth of Brazil's population and an economy ranked 14th behind Brazil's number 6 ranking. We view ourselves as a 'middle power' and only have aspirations for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. 

What surprised Professor Silva was how little Brazilians know about Australia, even at the elite level. A lot more work to be done here. Perhaps future Lowy polls could include a question on how Australians view Brazil.

Ronaldo Veirano, Honorary Consul of Australia in Rio de Janeiro, is confident Brazil's rise is here to stay, with successive administrations supporting solid policies of economic growth and stability, built on the platform of its return to democracy and the control of inflation. He sees a lot of scope for capitalising on common interests and strengths through economic and think tank collaboration. We were pleased to hear that, even if Professor Silva's polling reveals a low level of awareness in Brazil of Australia, Ronaldo Veirano notes that the Lowy Institute is well known in Brazil 'and the world'.