The former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, has delivered a stinging criticism of Australia’s foreign policy direction in a speech in Melbourne tonight.
Keating delivered the Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library of Victoria.
He argued the era of effective foreign policy activism had passed, replaced by a flagging sense of independence and “an easy accommodation with the foreign policy objectives of the United States”.
Keating reiterated his long-held views about the decline of the “Anglosphere”. He said that as prime minister, “I rejoiced in the diversity around us and the fact that the big and old societies of the East, formerly locked down by colonialism and poverty, were free to go their own way.”
“We need to concentrate on where we can be effective and where we can make the greatest difference.”
Text of Paul Keating’s Keith Murdoch Oration.
Asia in the New Order: Australia’s Diminishing Sphere of Influence
Keith Murdoch, in whose name this oration is given, represents an important position in the history of this institution. Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1939 to1945, of what was then the Melbourne Public Library, he came to the position from an industry devoted to information, namely, newspapers.
He was appointed editor of the Melbourne Herald in 1921 and played a corporate role in the Herald acquiring the Sun News-Pictorial in 1925, becoming managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times in 1928. And so began the entrepreneurial career of the first Murdoch, building the Herald and Weekly Times, which sixty years later his son Rupert acquired. [Read more...]