I agree with Roger Pulvers’ (Nov. 18 article, “It’ll take more than few fine or foreign words to make Australia Asian“) that the Australian government’s white paper on engagement with Asia is laudable although lacking in specifics and funding. But calling Australians the little self-aggrandizers of Asia is probably a little harsh.
Australia’s coziness with America is more a reflection of its sense of vulnerability, or inadequacy perhaps. As a republican, I am disappointed that the current Labor government does not pursue the republican cause, but it must be remembered that we would have been a republic if not for Prime Minister John Howard’s maneuvering at the 1999 referendum that saw him divide the republican vote. Also, the government has had its hands full in recent years with trifles such as protecting the country from the global financial crisis, implementing an emissions trading scheme and securing for the populace more spoils of the mining boom.
Some might argue that properly dealing with the Constitution’s neglect of its indigenous heritage should take precedence over meddling with a government system that many do not see as broke.
Maybe there is some reason for Asia to celebrate Australia, along with New Zealand, as the most robust and functioning democracy in the region (more so than Japan as my colleagues and students suggest). It has come a long way the past 40 years in correcting past wrongs. At the risk of self-aggrandizement.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.