In 2008 I was heartened by Tony Kevin’s conclusion (Eureka Street 11 Apr 08) that Prime Minister Rudd’s current trip was doing much to repair the damage done by the Howard government to Australia’s international reputation. For there was much repair work to be done. In particular, we had to stop slavishly emulating the U.S. foreign policy. Mr Kevin said then:
I don’t think Rudd-immersed in domestic politics these past ten years—understands how much Australia put the UN General Assembly offside under John Howard’s rule. … Still-fresh images of Australia voting with UN pariahs, the US and Israel and a few bought failed states, and of Australian delegates taking orders from US delegates in corridors, behind the meeting rooms and near the toilets, will not be quickly forgotten.
Australia offended the majority UN membership by the way we treated refugees in detention, by pushing refugee boats away, by anti-Muslim harassment at home …
I’ll stop there. We’re doing it all again. I try not to be too angry or ashamed.