Australia has just been elected to join the UN Security Council for two years from January. This is excellent news. William Hague called Foreign Minister Bob Carr to congratulate him. We look forward to having such a strong partner on the UNSC. This will keep my political team in Canberra busier than ever, coordinating on the very wide range of issues which come onto the UNSC’s agenda.
Australia was elected outright on the first ballot. This was a tribute to the excellent campaign run by our friends in DFAT. But it was also international recognition of the important contribution which Australia makes through its armed forces, its growing aid budget and its active participation in a range of international bodies from G20 to the Commonwealth.
I gave a speech on the Commonwealth at the annual national conference of the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship last weekend. I was invited by their national president, Nicky Downer, wife of Alexander the distinguished former Foreign minister. It was good to spend time with the Downers in Adelaide and benefit from Alexander’s wealth of knowledge of Australian Foreign Affairs. The Victoria League has declined in numbers over the years, and the current leaders acknowledge that they have they have not been as successful as they would like in attracting younger members. But they continue to do very good work including supporting a hostel in London for Commonwealth students, as well as projects in Africa.