Alexander's Big Backdown On The UN Security Council
Kevin Rudd - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs
Media Statement - 5 July 2002
Reports that Australia will now not pursue a bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council are a disturbing reflection of Australia's current lack of international political standing.
Having failed in our last bid to secure a position on the Security Council, Mr Downer's current proposed campaign was to win a two-year term on the paramount UN body in 2007-2008.
Mr Downer's reported reasons for reviewing the desirability of proceeding with the bid is that he has suffered a backlash within the Coalition parties on the Government's "five minutes to midnight" decision to ratify the ICC statute.
This is a pathetic excuse. No one in the Coalition party room voiced opposition to Mr Downer's previous announcement that Australia will seek a position on the UN Security Council - particular as it will be 20-years since we were last on the Council under the Hawke Labor Government.
The more likely explanation is that our posts around the world are telling Mr Downer our international standing is now so low we would not win a Security Council seat.
Mr Downer's real motivation is to avoid the loss of face that would come from running for the Security Council and then losing. That's why his is seeking to instead blame it on the rabid right-wingers within his own party who undermined him on Australia's support for ICC ratification.
Labor stands ready to support, on a completely bi-partisan basis, a bid for the UN Security Council in 2007-8. Mr Downer's challenge is to simply not wimp out - but instead, to use the intervening period to rebuild Australia's international standing from the low point it has now reached.