Foreign Minister Bob Carr has successfully secured a seat for Australia on the United Nations Security Council for two years. The money spent to win the bid seems rather irresponsible when urgent domestic issues are screaming out for more funding.
And it's all down to Kevin Rudd, it's his baby, just like his asylum seeker policy that has landed us in the mess we now find ourselves in. Nice going Kevy.
Bob Carr gushed "It's a big, juicy decisive win that endorses Australia's global standing." And then "It's a wonderful, heart-warming endorsement of Australia as a good local citizen."
But hang on Bob, you were prepared to put $25 million of our money on the table win or lose, that's an expensive gamble. Buying votes from third world countries with promises of big cash donations is something this Labor government excels at, but what about us?
Tony Abbott said he welcomes the result but questioned the expense of the campaign. "But it is two years we've got now at the top table, let's hope we can make the most of it."
So what is the UN Security Council?
- The Security Council was set up in 1946 and is based at UN headquarters in New York City.
- It's job is to maintain international peace and security and it has the powers to set up peacekeeping operations, implement sanctions and authorise military action.
- The five permanent members are the winners of World War II: China, France, Russia, UK, and USA and they have the power to veto resolutions.
- There are also 10 non-permanent members serving two year terms. They are currently Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal, South Africa (all serving terms to end this year) and Azerbaijan, Gutemala, Morocco, Pakistan, Togo (to the end of 2013).
So is Bob Carr thinking of distancing ourselves from the USA?
He said Australia "will speak up for the interests of middle powers and small powers and will vote against the United States if necessary."
"In the past, Governments in Australia - especially Labor governments - have been prepared to depart from America" he said. "That said, I've got to say that the Obama administration has been very alive to most of the concerns in foreign policy priorities we've got."