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The Conservatives you can bet on this will forelock tug their way to Washington and our future as an independent country as a republic in Asia in our neighbourhood will be lost The Hon Paul Keating speaking at the Australian Labor Party Centenary Dinner 2001 Should Australian foreign policy continue to take the stance of recent American administrations or should the Federal Government distance itself and strive for a new identity within the Asia Pacific Australias foreign policy under the current government has become such that we now look more like Americas little brother than an independent nation We have on our doorstep a wondrous opportunity to tap into the Asia Pacific region where we are geographically located and strive for a new identity as a leader rather than a sidekick With George Bushs declaration of the axis of evil the opposition to the International Criminal Court the pursuit of missile defence and the abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol criticism of the US is at a high not only in Asia and the Middle East but also throughout Europe Australia has lost a lot of credibility on the world forum for its lack of individuality and simply following America on critical issues We must move away from the somewhat rash gun ho decisions of the US and move towards Asia and the Super Tigers of the world to benefit both politically socially and economically However this does not mean we should simply ignore the United States rather a change of focus The ANZUS agreement invoked in the fallout of September 11 provides great advantages to Australia Our defence force would struggle to survive without the intelligence weaponry technology and research provided by this alliance Since the attacks on America Australians fear for their safety from possible terrorist attacks The real threat to our nations security lies in the fragile countries north of our borders and in the struggling nations
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