Following on from the Imagining Australia ideas on national identity, here areÂ a few that relate to revamping our international engagement.
We argue that freed from the constraints of the Cold War, enterprising middle powers-such as Australia-can take the lead in identifying global challenges and opportunities, developing solutions and strategies, and then generating the political will and resources necessary to enact them. We present proposals to illustrate how Australia can create a new role for itself on the international stage and become a leading global citizen.
We begin by suggesting four initiatives to help address some of the major issues facing the world today.
– We propose re-establishing the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons with a renewed and expanded mandate: eradicating all weapons of mass destruction and curtailing the trade in small arms.
– We discuss a market-based alternative to the Kyoto Protocol that should be acceptable to all countries-developed and developing alike-and will better help address the problem of global climate change.
– We recommend that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) join forces with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to create a World Broadcasting Service to enhance the quality and flow of information and ideas around the globe, particularly in the developing world.
– We propose establishing a Strategic Recovery Facility to coordinate international efforts to help countries that have suffered from war or state-collapse quickly become functioning and stable states.
We also advocate a series of major institutional initiatives to build a stronger and more cohesive region.
– We believe that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) should be rejuvenated by transforming it into an expansive social and economic community to respond to the ever-widening range of issues affecting the region.
– We propose creating a permanent regional security organisation to address the broad array of security threats facing the Asia-Pacific region.
– We advocate establishing a supranational body, the Australasian Union, to reap the benefits of deeper political, economic and social integration between Australia and New Zealand.
We also see Australia playing a greater role in addressing global poverty and fostering economic and social development.
– We advocate establishing a Department for International Development with a minister of Cabinet rank, to give greater priority to the challenge of development in our international policy.
– To meet our international obligations and to increase the impact of our foreign aid, we recommend increasing our aid expenditures and experimenting with non-bureaucratic delivery channels such as market-based voucher schemes.
– Finally, we recommend establishing a scholarship program to create incentives for some of our best and brightest to focus on the challenges of development and contribute to the global contest of ideas.