Australia Must Avoid ‘A Negative Globalism’: Scott Morrison

October 7, 2019 Updated: October 7, 2019

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded Australia play a greater role in standard-setting in international institutions so as to avoid “a negative globalism.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to conduct an audit into the international institutions in which Australia has the greatest stake, saying the country must play a more active role in standard-setting around the world.

He advised against a “reflex towards a negative globalism” which centralised power under international bodies rather than state-led action.

Morrison on Oct. 3 evening addressed the Lowy Institute foreign affairs think tank in a speech that outlined Australia’s global role.

Acknowledging the economic rise of China had created a more multipolar world and prompted great-power competition, Morrison said Australia needed to continue defending a rules-based international order.

However he also said globalism should “facilitate, align, and engage” state-led cooperation, rather than impose decisions made by what he labelled “an often ill-defined borderless global community.”

He did not refer to any specific international bodies or actors but his remarks echo U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in which he said “the future does not belong to the globalists, it belongs to the patriots.”

“Only a national government, especially one accountable through the ballot box and the rule of law, can define its national interests,” Morrison said.

“To paraphrase former prime minister John Howard, as Australians, ‘we will decide our interests and the circumstances in which we seek to pursue them.'”

The prime minister told attendees the Australian government would do more to lead the conversation on issues related to its key national interests, which he identified as global stability, open international trade and aid transparency.

He had requested DFAT audit the international bodies and laws most relevant to Australia’s welfare so the government could do more to shape them.

“When it comes to setting global standards, we’ve not been as involved as we could be. We cannot afford to leave it to others to set the standards that will shape our global economy,” Morrison said.

“I’m determined Australia will play a more active role in standards-setting.

“I want to send a message here tonight that we will be looking to tap Australian expertise as part of our efforts.”

The speech follows Morrison’s trip last month to Washington D.C., where he became the first Australian prime minister since Mr Howard in 2006 to be invited to a White House state dinner.

He was just the second foreign leader to whom U.S. President Donald Trump bestowed the honour, after French President Emmanuel Macron.

Three days later, Morrison skipped a United Nations climate summit in New York to give a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

In that speech, he said he wanted to see China recognised as a “developed” country, rather than its current trade-distorting “developing” status.

He revisited that statement on Oct. 3, saying he made the argument as a “compliment, not a criticism” and in the hope China assumes the responsibilities accompanying its major-power status.

He also repeated the view Australia was not required to make a definitive choice between United States and China, currently locked in a major trade dispute.

“China has in many ways changed the world, so we would expect the terms of its engagement to change too,” Morrison said.

“That’s why when we look at negotiating rules of the future of the global economy, for example, we would expect China’s obligations to reflect its greater power status.”

Morrison also confirmed that he would visit both Japan and India in early 2020 amid increasing cooperation between the “Quad Group” of Japan, India, Australia and the United States following Australia’s withdrawal from the Quad under the Rudd Labor government.

By Angelo Risso. With editing by Epoch Times staff.