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Delegates – it is my great pleasure as Labor’s Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs to move Chapter 11 of our Platform – Australia’s place in a disrupted world.
In doing so, I want to thank the work of our rank and file members, our affiliates, elected members of the National Policy Forum, my Caucus and Shadow Ministerial colleagues – for their work in presenting this Chapter to Conference.
We live in a time characterised by disruption.
Power is shifting. The global order we have known and relied on since World War 2 is being disrupted.
We are witnessing changes in the balance of economic and strategic power, globally and in our region, economic and social inequality, the rise of nationalism and challenges to democratic principles and erosion of support for international norms, rules and institutions.
This is the terrain a Labor government will need to navigate to promote Australia’s strategic, economic and foreign policy interests.
As Shadow Foreign Minister, I have been working with my colleagues, especially Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen, Richard Marles, Jason Clare, and Claire Moore to formulate an independent, confident and ambitious foreign policy.
Labor’s foreign policy is founded on the belief that we deal with the world as it is and we seek to change it for the better.
We are an independent, multicultural nation, confident of our place in the world.
We know our values and what we stand for: compassion, equality and fairness, promoting and protecting democracy, free speech and the protection of rights.
We know what our interests are:
- the security of the nation and its people;
- the prosperity of the nation and its people;
- the strategic stability of our region anchored in the rule of law; and
- constructive internationalism – working collectively to deliver collective benefits.
And we know who we are – an inclusive diverse nation which can draw strength and pride from the waves of immigrants who have come to this continent, and from our First Peoples.
These elements – our values, interests and identity – underpin the way we understand, prosecute and advance our foreign policy.
Our foreign policy will speak to who we are, for the confidence we have in ourselves, for the values we believe in, and to the region and the world in which we want to live.
A Shorten Labor Government’s approach to foreign policy will look to our region.
We have articulated Labor’s FutureAsia strategy – a fundamental whole-of-government, nationwide strategy to deepen and broaden our engagement with Asia.
FutureAsia is a step change in our relations with Asia that will help secure Australia’s future prosperity by improving our capability at home and driving greater engagement and collaboration in our region.
We will expand our presence in the region, establishing four additional diplomatic missions in the Asia-Pacific region in consultation with our regional partners.
Labor will ensure the Pacific is front and centre of our foreign policy, engaging with the Pacific with respect, to promote the wellbeing of the entire region, for the benefit of both Australia and the ten million people of the Pacific islands.
Labor will bring what we know best – working together collectively to achieve collective goods – to our foreign policy.
What I call constructive internationalism builds on the work that was begun by Gareth Evans twenty-five years ago.
It recognises that the key to a prosperous and secure Australia is an international rules-based order where the rule makers are also rule takers, and where the rules are negotiated and not imposed.
And it is through this approach, that Labor will seek to deal with the global problems too challenging for an individual nation to address alone.
And Labor will rebuild Australia’s international development assistance program – to reflect the generous spirit of Australian people.
Labor will restore Australia’s credibility and reputation as a creative, collaborative and energetic member of the community of nations committed to reduction carbon pollution.
Labor will advocate globally for more ambitious climate action.
Labor will act with urgency to reduce the risk of nuclear war and to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Because Labor’s foreign policy is founded on the belief that we deal with the world as it is and we seek to change it for the better.
This platform reflects the confidence and ambition that Labor will bring to Australia’s foreign policy.
I commend the Chapter to the Conference.
Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.