July 06, 2006 | Tom

Foreign Policies in the Menzies and Howard Years

I wrote:

The Australian Historical Association is holding its 2006 Conference at the Australian National University on July 3-7. …
One item of note is the session 11 am to 12:30 pm, Thursday “Comparing Menzies and Howard”, with:

Richard Broinowski, writer and Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney:
Menzies had an embarrassing attachment to the UK. After WW2, Menzies sent Australian forces to the Malaya confrontation and the Vietnam War. Howard has followed a similar pattern. He sent forces to East Timor, Afghanistan, and to an (illegal) invasion of Iraq.
Menzies and Howard have common beliefs: Australia needs defending and is incapable of defending itself. Howard did not need to invoke the ANZUS treaty after 911, as it is a Pacific Treaty. The concern expressed about North Korean missiles is not justified.
Menzies supported apartheid South Africa and avoided Asia. Howard “shed no tears” when Indonesia abrogated the military treaty with Australia. Howard sees the relationship with Asia as being economic only, not cultural.
Menzies had a contempt for international organizations: “UN a disunited blamange”. But Menzines had a respect for the rule of law and would have sent David Hicks home. Howard has refused to ratify international treaties on human rights.
Menzies didn’t want nuclear weapons. Saw a balance between USA and USSR. Howard has a similar perspective of the USA as a great and powerful friend. Blair is an acolyte of Bush.
Australian is buying landing ships, a fighter jet which falls between two stools, both weapons to fight a conventional war. But the risk seen by the USA and Australia is of a suitcase nuclear bomb.

Posted by Tom at 11:58 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Where does Broinowski get the idea that Howard doesn’t think Australia can defend itself? What sort of an attack does Broinowski anticipate? If it is a nuclear bomb in a brief-case one, what sort of defence strategy is he suggesting?

    Comment by Graham Young — July 6, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

  2. But Menzines had a respect for the rule of law and would have sent David Hicks home.
    You sure? He tried to ban communism and anyone remotely related to it.
    The foreign policy you are describing is the ‘great and powerful friends’ doctrine [GAPF]. Menzies and Howard both adhere to it, though Menzies was confused as to who the great and powerful friend was. He wanted it to be Britian, Spender recognized it was going to be the US.
    Howard’s defence spending/procurement has been confused. The GAPF has internal contradictions between a regional and expeditionary posture. Ther has not been a white paper since 2000 either, which suggests Howard does not want to revisit defence doctrine, prefering to make it minimally politically intrusive as possible.

    Comment by cam — July 6, 2006 @ 9:53 pm

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