Plus Ca Change? The Coalition, Labor and the Challenges of Environmental Foreign Policy

Middle Power Dreaming: Australia in World Affairs 2006-2010

Author/s (editor/s):

Lorraine Elliott

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

Find this publication at:
Oxford University Press

Published in James Cotton and John Ravenhill, eds, Middle Power Dreaming: Australia in World Affairs 2006-2010, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 208-23.

When the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was elected to federal office in November 2007, many commentators anticipated a substantial and substantive change in Australia’s foreign environmental policy. The change in rhetoric before and after November 2007 was, indeed, pronounced. In the five years from 2006-2010, national debate on global environmental change was dominated by the climate change issue, illegal logging and whaling. Few other global environmental issues made it onto the public or political agenda. This chapter focuses on the ‘before and after’ of these three issues which were prominent in Australian public discourse and on which the ALP made key election promises in 2007 intended to distinguish it from the Coalition government then in power. However, the change in foreign policy and implementation was less dramatic than the rhetoric of change might have suggested, even on issues such as climate change, where the Liberal Party and the ALP were at pains to paint themselves as almost entirely at odds.

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