Gil­lard pushes for se­cu­rity coun­cil seat

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

LOB­BY­ING: Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard ad­dressed the US Joint Meet­ing of Congress in Wash­ing­ton DC AUS­TRALIA could find it­self at the heart of the world’s most se­ri­ous se­cu­rity is­sues if it suc­ceeds in its bid to win a United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil seat.

Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard will use a visit to New York to lobby around 50 African Union mem­bers at the UN to vote for Aus­tralia in the Oc­to­ber 2012 UNSC elec­tions.

Aus­tralia is seek­ing a non­per­ma­nent seat in 2013 and 2014, which puts the nation in the in­ner sanc­tum of the most pow­er­ful body of the UN but does not bring with it veto rights. Ms Gil­lard, who met with UN Sec­re­taryGen­eral Ban Ki-moon on yes­ter­day morn­ing is to ar­gue that Aus­tralia was a found­ing mem­ber of the UN and is one of the top 10 con­trib­u­tors to ma­jor pro­grams such as the UN Chil­dren’s Fund and the high com­mis­sioner for refugees.

Aus­tralian sol­diers have also taken part in UN and African Union peace­keep­ing mis­sions.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to dou­bling the aid bud­get over the next five years to more than $ 8 bil­lion.

‘ ‘ We value t he United Na­tions as a fo­rum that brings na­tions to­gether to dis­cuss and find ways to ad­dress peace­fully the globe’s most press­ing is­sues,’’ the Prime Min­is­ter said.

Mem­bers of the UNSC are cur­rently in in­for­mal talks to de­cide on ac­tion in Libya.

Ms Gil­lard’s first visit to New York as Prime Min­is­ter came af­ter she ad­dressed a joint sitting of the US Congress in Wash­ing­ton, where she paid tribute to t he Amer­i­can spirit of en­ter­prise and choked back tears as she re­called watch- ing the moon land­ing as a young girl in Ade­laide.

Ms Gil­lard choked back tears as she told Congress of the way she mar­velled as a child at the Moon walk.

‘‘ On that great day I be­lieved Amer­ica could do any­thing. I be­lieve that still,’’ she said at the end of the half-hour ad­dress.

She de­scribed the two na­tions as real mates and pledged stronger eco­nomic and de­fence ties. As she en­tered the packed house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives cham­ber she was given a t hree­minute stand­ing ova­tion.

Ms Gil­lard says Amer­ica needs to be ‘‘ bold’’ in tack­ling the eco­nomic and se­cu­rity chal­lenges of the fu­ture and can count on Aus­tralia’s sup­port.

‘‘ In both our coun­tries, true friends stick to­gether - in both our coun­tries real mates talk straight,’’ she said. ‘‘ So as a friend I urge you only this – be wor­thy to your best tra­di­tions. Be bold.’’

The Prime Min­is­ter vis­ited the New York Stock Ex­change yes­ter­day and will lunch with News Cor­po­ra­tion chair­man Ru­pert Mur­doch, who t urns 80 to­day.

Photo: GARY RA­M­AGE

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