The Foreign Policy of the Hawke-Keating Governments: An Interim Review

Author/s (editor/s):

James L. Richardson

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1997/4 (PDF, 2.66MB)

James L. Richardson, 'The Foreign Policy of the Hawke-Keating Governments: An Interim Review', IR Working Paper 1997/4, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, October 1997.

Still close to the events, this paper attempts an assessment of the foreign policy of the Hawke-Keating governments. It argues that, within the constraints which any government was bound to observe, the Australian Labor Party government responded creatively to the new security environment arising from the ending of the Cold War, especially in its wholehearted regional engagement but also with respect to arms control. Its reversal of Australia's traditional protectionism and its thoroughgoing support for free trade internationally signified a more radical break with the past but its overall policy mix amounted to a high-risk strategy for reforming the Australian economy. Its espousal of the 'good citizen' role enabled Australia to make constructive contributions to the new 'world order' agenda, but it missed the opportunity to challenge some of the more oppressive features of the emerging order. Nonetheless, on balance the ALP government's foreign policy served Australia's national interests well, setting a high standard for its successor.

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