Gillard pushes for security council seat
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.