BIDS & BRIBES: THE UN SIDESHOW
UPDATE: October 19. 2012
Australia has won its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. It was announced in New York last night that 140 of 193 countries had voted in our favour.
Monica Attard wrote about the process to secure the seat in September this year:
The Australian diplomatic road show to secure a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council hit a crescendo this week with the PM and the Foreign Minister in New York City – home of the United Nations – selling our credentials.
The bid is one of the few Rudd era initiatives that Prime Minister Gillard hasn’t thrown out the window.
Foreign Minister, Bob Carr speaks at a press conference prior to meetings with the UN in New York. Image via Bob Carr’s blog.
She and her Foreign Minister Bob Carr appear to agree with Kevin Rudd that holding one of the five seats up for the taking would give Australia strategic and diplomatic clout when it comes to convincing (or coercing) other nations to take a stand against the big, ugly issues with which the United Nations is generally concerned.
Australia has long seen itself as a middle power with a voice that deserves to be heard.
National pride, or ego, as Foreign Minister Carr puts it, has motivated Canberra to want to formalise that self-belief, even if it costs – as it has thus far – some $55m in programs to woo support and flying diplomats, ministers and the Governor-General around the world to lobby the case.
And that’s not to mention the reverse schmoozing when Australia foots the bill to host the diplomats of countries whose vote we need to secure to win the seat.
Sounds an awful lot like state-sanctioned bribery.
We won’t know until mid October whether this expensive exercise to get Australia noticed, heard and listened to on the world stage has been successful. But given the expense, wouldn’t you want to know that it’s a “safe bet” that the goal can be achieved?
I would. But I’m not a government.
This is how confident the Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr was when speaking to Leigh Sales on 7.30 on ABC TV: “Only very guardedly optimistic. 193 nations vote. It’s a secret ballot. The ambassadors in New York might vote differently from the commitments made by Foreign ministers. Always competitive for Australia to win in international forums, and, it’s hard, it’s competitive, but there’s lot of good will towards Australia.”
No doubt, $55m has bought a lot of good will on the diplomatic cocktail circuit.
But what are we really up against?
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