Research essay on “Is Australia a Good Global Citizen”
The world has become a global village where people interact not only virtually through the internet but also physically due to the improved means of transportation. Accordingly, every country and its people have a responsibility to ensure sustainability and harmony in the world. Today, every country has a stake in improving the welfare of others through collaboration and participation in international practices to make the world a better place (Vincent, 2014). In the conceptualization of a global citizenship, it is evident that every person in the world is a citizen of the one globe; thus, requiring each member to behave in a way that demonstrates a respect for the globe and all the people on it. For this reason, there are specific values and attitude that a global citizen must demonstrate as a sign of making the world a better place for the others. In this conceptualization, nation states are treated as individuals since they have a stake in the welfare of the globe (Beeson, 2015). The values and attitudes of a global citizen include empathy, commitment to social justice and equity, respect for diversity, a concern for the environment and commitment to sustainable development, as well as a belief that people can make a difference.
In analysing if Australia is a good global citizen, it is important to understand the country’s engagements in the national and international level with a specific focus on its role in making the globe a better place for others. In this respect, the first analysis should examine the country’s membership to global communities or organization in the political and trade sectors. Secondly, to investigate Australia’s involvement in national and international Aid and Development with a focus on international disasters as well as its role in promoting the developing and underdeveloped countries and communities (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). The thirdly, examine the extent of promoting the rights of its indigenous people. Additionally, explore its environmental agendas and its dedication in promoting sustainability. Finally, examine its role in helping refugees and asylum seekers seeking shelter and aid for various reasons including war, disasters, and political reasons.
Membership of Global Community
In the 16th Century, a poet John Donne stated that no man is an island. Similarly, no country in the world can act alone but all nations need to collaborate in addressing world issues such as human rights, poverty, war, and climate change. Countries around the world collaborate by being members of international communities and Australia is a significant player in this sphere (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). Australia is a member of the United Nations and the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation. The country also participated in Boer War, the First and Second World Wars as well as signed treaty to demonstrate its status as a good mate.
Australia is among the 195 countries with a UN membership with a responsibility to promote security, health, and well-being around the world. Through this membership, Australia fulfills its international obligations by providing humanitarian aid/assistance to countries experiencing crises such as earthquakes and war. Despite being a small country in comparison to the US and China, Australia has used its UN membership to engage in international programs. Between 2012 and 2014, it had a seat on the UN Security Council which made a resolution to have access to the site where the Malaysian plane crashed in Ukraine (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). Australian has also engaged in peacekeeping mission through the UN by providing soldiers to take part in this international mission. Indeed, Australia is an active member given that there are over 3500 Australians serving in peace and security operations in different parts of the world.
Australia was a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1989. The organization has 21 member states that engage each other in trade and economic issues. The country has benefited from the organization given that 70% of its grain export goes to the APEC countries. The main objective of APEC is to promote trade, economic growth, and encourage regional development through reduced cost of cross-border trade, exchange of best practice information on trade and investment, simplified regulatory and administrative process, as well as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Australia has played a critical role in APEC by funding project that focuses on the organizational priorities, supporting its economic policy, and supporting project management reforms.
Aid & Development
Australia is an active player in providing aid in the international sphere. The country does this through direct partnership with NGOs like the World Vision, direct with other governments through bilateral aid, through international agencies such as the World Health Organization, World Bank, World Food Programme, and through humanitarian emergency relief as well as through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) programme (World Vision Australia, 2018). Through the United Nations, Australia has participated in various foreign aid endeavors through humanitarian programmes that involve the provision of money, skills, and other resources. Australia has provided aid to countries such as Fiji, Cambodia, and Indonesia (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). In its engagement in foreign aid, Australia has helped to address fundamental humanitarian challenges such as alleviating poverty and promoting community development through the construction of infrastructures such as schools, health centers, roads, and water supply. Additionally, it engages in foreign aid during emergencies such as the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) is responsible for the management of the Australian Government’s overseas aid programmes. The program has four major themes, which are increasing economic growth; investing in people through health care and education; improving governance, and increasing regional stability. The primary goal of AusAID is to reduce poverty in developing countries by providing humanitarian assistance. Australian aid focuses mostly on the Asian Pacific region (World Vision Australia, 2018). Australia partners with international and local organizations to provide domestic aid to its people. Through its local initiatives, it ensures the sustainability of the programs through training the people. AusAID also funds NGOs such as Oxfam in providing aid programmes to communities in developing countries. The involvement of Australia in Southern Sudan is indispensable. The world’s youngest nation founded in 2011 has experienced significant challenges related to war (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). Australia has intervened in the provision of peacekeeping missions to protect civilians, deliver humanitarian assistance such as food, setting up camps for the displaced, as well as providing expatriate guidance in establishing a rule of law and promoting economic development.
Environment & Sustainability
Australia is involved in international agreements and organizations that serve to protect the environment. As a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Australia identifies effective and economically efficient responses to environmental challenges that include biodiversity, ozone depletion, and air pollution from greenhouse emissions (Department of the Environment and Energy, 2018). Membership to the United Nations has changed the country’s perspective on economic change as it has signed the Kyoto Protocol and attended the Rio+20 – The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development as well as other international and regional treaties aimed at improving the environmental impact of development (Department of the Environment and Energy, 2018). Through the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australia is dedicated to improving its local and international footprint and impact on the environment by adopting environmentally friendly practices and policies.
Refugees, Human Rights, and Indigenous people
As a member of the UN, Australia upholds the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the basis for the international human rights laws. It does this by protecting the life of refugees as provided by the Universal Declaration that a person from another country has the right to seek and be given asylum from prosecution. Australia is a member of seven international human rights agreement two of which deal with the basic rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) address issues related to the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and assembly, as well as the right to vote and fair trial (Saldais, Easton, & Calandra, 2008). The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) promotes rights to equal pay, health and education, and adequate standards of living. Australia is an active member of the international community that provides refugee protection to asylum seekers in conflict countries in Africa and the Middle East as well as asylum seekers seeking a better livelihood.
Australia promotes the welfare of the indigenous people in the country such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The government is dedicated to improving the lives of the indigenous people through the Jobs, land, and economy program that focuses on improving the indigenous employment and creates business and economic opportunities for the vulnerable groups. Indeed, the Commonwealth government has illustrated its dedication by initiating the Community Development Programme (CDP), Indigenous Procurement Policy, Employment Parity Initiative, and Indigenous Enterprise Development Programme among others (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2016). Additionally, the government established the Aboriginal Heritage Act of 1972 to protect the indigenous people from exploitation and misuse of the lands by other groups.
The Australian involvement at the international level illustrates that it embraces all the essential attitudes and meets the requirements for a good global citizen. Its involvement with the UN and other non-governmental organization has helped it to addresses many international challenges relating to poverty, war, food insecurity, environment, human rights, and other humanitarian needs. Based on this analysis, it is evident that Australia is a good global citizen.