Australian Foreign Policy

Citizens and foreigners of a particular nation are entitled to security from their governments. All the resources and manpower should be protected from invaders who may cause harm to people and properties. As such, a good program against terrorism could improve the image of a country and thus investors, tourists and foreigners would be attracted to such a country. Wealth is therefore created because of the protected manpower and resources  (Cotton, 2000, p.41).

Terrorism is one of the important aspects of national security. Terrorism is threats of violent actions for political purposes in a country by foreigners or cohorts in their own counries. This mainly includes bombings of buildings, airplanes,  airports or even in vehicles. This leads to fear among residents and may lead to displacements or even people moving to other countries because when such happens, people are crippled and many deaths would occur. Such destructions may cause financial disaster and hampers the concerned country’s growth and development.

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A government therefore comes up with foreign policies concerning terrorism in order to deal with such attacks. Terrorism causes bloodshed, destruction of infrastructure and huge costs are incurred which may lead to seeking donor funds, or even grants (Ravenhil, 1997. pp. 61-68). Thus, this topic is being chosen because of its importance to a country’s development and chooses Australia’s foreign policy on terrorism as a case study.

Australian Foreign Policy Concerning Terrorism: Its Creation

Both Australia and the US are allies and Australia’s prime minister was shocked by the 9/11 attacks because he was in Washington at that particular time. The Australian Government announced to the Australia New Zealand and United States (ANZUS) treaty that the 9/11 armed attack required Australia’s response. This was a good gesture by Australia because it proved its determination just like the NATO countries. This major development by Australia due to its commitment introduced Australia’s external policy on terrorism (McDougall and Shearman, 2007, p. 106).

National security policy making was strengthened in 1996 through the National Committee of Cabinet (NSCC) with wider field activities. Ministers make up this committee and ensure Australia’s domestic and international security interests with a wide range of national security issues. Australian foreign policy concerning terrorism has been created due to the increasing terrorist threats beyond the duty, capability and resources of the Defense Force. Extra measures include policing, immigration, internal security, intelligence, customs and more agencies at state, federal and territory level (Howard, 2002).

Awareness of terrorism was intensified from September 11, 2001 and includes extra guarding and personal security for crucial diplomats, premises, in the airline industry and thorough scrutiny of all terrorist indicators. Australia’s prime minister together with Blair have given their fair share to Bush’s fight on terrorism. Regardless of the idea of strengthening Australia’s bond with the United States, the Australian Government believes that Bush’s strategy in fighting terrorism is right (McDouglall, 2007, p.106).

After a detailed analysis of counter terrorism plans in the early 2002, a variety of actions to prevent tourism were and are still being implemented everywhere including aviation security, Australian borders security, abrupt response, strong laws, intelligence capability and disaster preparedness. $1.3 billion was allocated in 2002 for counter-terrorism initiatives to fight terrorism for the next five years. This can be broken down as follows: 1) Extra financing for the country’s defense Force; 2) Improving of Australia’s Federal Police protective Security Services; 3) Good arrangements on Australia’s counter-terrorism to go with leader’s summit declaration on terrorism; and 4) Multi-jurisdictional crime. Advanced equipment and skills were given for the frontline response to the chemical, radiological incidents. Australia’s national information infrastructure’s security was reinforced. Australian protective services were advanced to cover the aviation industry and canine teams for detecting explosives. ASIO’s intelligence and capabilities coordination were strengthened. The Agenda for the future commonwealth, state and territory cooperation on the counter terrorism matters were introduced by the leaders on the summit on transnational crime and terrorism. It explained that the commonwealth was to be responsible for first action on any national terrorist case in Australia.

Implementation of Australia Foreign Policy Concerning Terrorism

Incident response arrangements were to be renewed. The Government created the National Counter Terrorism Committee (NCTC). Dangerous materials will be regulated,

communication and critical infrastructures will be guarded and these will be the responsibility of this committee. The meeting in March 2002 by the business-government task force on critical infrastructures agreed on guarding critical infrastructures from terrorist attacks and other threats. The body recommended extra cooperation between the Government and key industry players. The formation of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (ANZUS) security alliance for the first time after September eleven was a good gesture from Australia. Australia made efforts to have a memorandum of understanding on terrorism policies with their neighbors. This was a foundation for the Australia’s commitment in regional and international counter terrorism issues. The Australian Government is now flexible and is ready to improve its national security system due to international growth and development (Howard, 2002).

Australian Foreign Policy on Terrorism and the Asia Pacific Region

According to AFP, Bali bomber executions spark bitter row in Australia,

Three men were charged for the 2002 Bali bombings in Asia and their sentence has an impact on Australian elections. Prime minister John Howard was termed as a hypocrite because he was not for the death penalty in Asia for the convicts despite the eighty-eight dead Australian tourists among the two hundred and two killed in the said bombing mentioned above. John Howard had backed the execution of Saddam Hussein so the opposition labor party shadow minister’s remarks on this were considered as a social mistake and not considered polite. The three men appealed and were rejected and are now pleading to the president (Gyngell and Wesley, 2003).

Australia has never had an attack on the land along the edge of its seas. The bomb attacks in Bali and Jakarta in the Indonesia could be understood to be attacks on Australia. This led to the focus of Australia’s foreign policy regarding terrorism. This is also what led to the disagreements by the Labor and Liberal parties in Australia.

These convictions illustrate the need for an Australian Foreign policy on terrorism. Participants in the drafting and implementation of the policy included people who had served as secretary of state, national security advisors, retired top officials from the Australian military, intelligence community, honorable academicians and journalists. Other members were from the Government arms, which included the execution branch, military and the intelligence community. The government’s basic counter terrorism was to protect the citizens and the country’s interests. This was for the national and international concerns (Hilary, 2006, p. 56).

The prime minister’s proposal for the uplift of the death penalty was disappointing according to the labor party officials and they used this as campaign strategy. Security measures had to be put in place. This was a permanent policy for a better international image. Cases of disobedience were reported. Some people could be given VIP treatment at airports and this had caused the weakening of the foreign policy implementation on terrorism. Disobedience was also caused by corruption (Broinowski and Wilkinson, 2005).

Closing of airports because airplanes can carry weapons of mass destruction due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks were made for sometime to deal with the crisis effectively. This measures led to reduced business activity and  resulted to a deterioration of the tourism industry. Pilots were encouraged to have handguns and airplanes are considered to be the common means of transport to the terrorists. Cases of planes crashing after being hijacked by hijackers are closely related to terrorism. With handguns the pilots will be able to deal with those trying to hijack. This could also make the impostors as travelers to be cautious and not to try anything silly. This was however an extra cost to the industry and has caused a reduction in revenue due to the high costs involved (Ibid). Profiling, the activity of collecting information about someone especially a criminal in order to give a description of them, were carried out mainly at the border entry points in order to detect terrorists in advance. The examination would involve a serious scrutiny of traveling documents and all other certificates held by the immigrant. This would also involve asking for a background check of all immigrants to ensure that they are risk free and may not be a threat to Australia’s security (Ibid).

In 2007, the attorney General reported that, Australia has spend more than $8 million on security-related measures as from 2001 and involved all sectors of the society in the fight against terrorism. The Attorney General was releasing directives protecting Australia against terrorism and updated  the 2004 edition that outlined strategies on intelligence, law enforcement, border and transport security, defense and emergency management. The violence of terrorists from September 11 has been on focus because the United States of America is considered to be a super power and any other allied country can be a target (Broinowski and Wilkinson, 2005.p. 30-36).

The court appeal for the three men convicted in Asia for the bombing was not granted and they have been asking for sympathy from the president.. This is the terrorist attack that took the lives of eighty-eight tourists from Australia. The Australia’s prime ministers opposition of the death penalty was considered weird. This was a case of lost Australian workforce and a reduction of the tourist destinations by Australians. Asia was at that time a close associate of Australia and this was calling for serious punishment for the convicts. Interested parties to Australia did not understand why the death penalty could have been lifted. Terrorists are very unpredictable and Australia could have been their next target. Sympathy for the convicts was not necessary. This was supposed to be an example to other terrorist and to all those with such future intentions. If the president listens to the three men this will result to serious terrorists being set free. Terrorists do not operate in the country and Australia could be their next target for political reasons. With elections in Australia being at the corner, this was a major worry by the labor party, which wants to be in power after the elections. Australia’s prime minister intentions were totally unclear and this was a major security threat to the nation as a whole. The convicts’ trial statement that with no options the death penalty was a sign of being true Muslims and they will be sacrificing for the sake of their religion. Death penalty had been banned twenty years ago but at times the Government could consider it necessary.

Failure and Success of Terrorism Foreign Policy

False excuses by immigrants; Foreigners can still apply for an Australian Visa by pretence. They are therefore allowed to travel into the country and live there. Their intentions may not be well known and may end up being terrorists. Measures to guard foreigners in Australia include CCTV and twenty-four hour surveillance for the foreigners. These devices are expensive and need a lot of the country’s capital. Knowledge about terrorism has been diversified by research calling for more coordination and control of this growth. The terrorists approach to their operations may  not be easy to determine and as such the government should attend to these including profiling (Capling, 2004, p. 19-22).

Terrorists normally coordinate with ordinary citizens and this may be a cause of worry to employees who may not be able to determine who exactly may be a terrorist affiliate. After the September 11 attack, nations all over the world have been uncertain about the next target by Saddam. States with close links with the United States of America have been on very high alert. Investors have been discouraged and the tourism industry greatly affected. Importers for Australia have also reduced greatly thus leading to low Gross Domestic Product. This leads to high unemployment rates and citizens may think of deals with the terrorists (Broinowski, 2007, p. 80, 9-93).

Effect on the stock market; lack of business and consumers had led to the shifting of demand and supply curves for companies, these results in low profits. Earnings per share were reduced and these discouraged investors which resulted to low share prices or even share split. Income to the Australian Government has been reduced and thus the fund for sustaining the foreign policy on terrorism reduced. This leads to loopholes because policy implementors are not well remunerated and may lead to corruption in the system (Ibid).

In the Airline industry, as terrorists mostly travel by air,  thorough security measures at the airport had to be implemented. This had resulted to citizens using other means of transport to avoid inconveniences at the airport. This had related to low revenue to the Australian Government and lack of adequate funding for sustaining the foreign policy on

Australia’s tourism industry. Tourists all over the world were kept on alert and these discouraged them. They were therefore interested in other tourist destinations and hence income from tourism was affected. The Australian government also had to be worried about tourist because most terrorists come to the country as tourists. The closure of airports and serious security checks were considered as a time waste and spoiled the idea of having fun (O’Neal, 2007). In distinguishing terrorists from ordinary criminals, the line between them is thin and the Australian government could not make a clear distinction. Ordinary criminals started to be treated as terrorists and vice versa. This brought about contradictions in the judicial cordials.  Sentenced terrorists had to be segregated to avoid the influence on other criminals because the prisons are considered a place for new ideas on criminal activities because most people there are hardcore criminals who may be interested in terrorist activities after serving their jail terms.

Counseling criminals in prisons had to be taken seriously in order to avoid engaging in terrorist activities in future (Ibid).

Australia’s counter terrorism strategy has come up with the following since 2001: 1) Domestic legislation, 2) Intelligence and 3) Regional assistance and engagement (O’Neal  2007, pp. 471-487). The foreign policy on terrorism can be considered a success due to these changes: 1)Reduced rate of illegal immigrants; and 2) Issuance of Australian Visas has been subjected to thorough scrutiny to ensure that only successful applicants for good reasons in Australia are issued with the traveling document. Immigrants in Australia are kept on constant check by the Immigration department to ensure that they are in the country for the reason stated in the passport. After validity of the Visa this is not renewed not unless someone has a good reason to be in the country (Firth, 1998). If not, the immigrants are asked to leave or else be deported at their expense. Idle immigrants can be tools and machinery for carrying out terrorist activities in order to earn a living due to the high cost of living (Ibid).

Terrorism has been extremely considered in social science in Australia. This is a topic/unit in social sciences so that qualified students can help Australia in identifying and dealing with terrorists who are a major threat to the national security. Students of social sciences are there asked to carry out a research on how terrorism policies can be created and implemented. Study cases are therefore necessary to determine what actually motivates people into terrorism and how the phenomenon can be dealt with in order to enhance national security. Airport security has been improved. All travelers are screened to ensure that they do not enhance terrorism by traveling the terrorist equipments from other countries to Australia. Terrorism causes fear, unnecessary threats due to political influence (Firth, 1998. pp. 66-80).

Terrorist activities are well planned, with political influence by maliciously interested national and international groups. Computer viruses are an example. Devices carrying technology materials or data/information are screened as a measure of national technology security. Terrorism has psychological effect on people and objects due to its manifestation. Therefore various academic and legal definitions on terrorism can be given to suit the situation. Emotions run high due to threats and uncertainty of their activities.  The foreign policy on terrorism brought into attention the following factors:

1) Australian politics. The labor party promised not to have death penalties lifted. Terrorism was turned into a politics point whereby the opposition could explain to the electorate why they should be voted. Thanks to the funny opposition of the death penalty by Australia’s president.

2) Deferral of executions. The prime minister opposed Bali bomber’s executions. This caused debate in the international society resulting into unnecessary attention to Australia. Australians and other interested parties considered the president to be contradicting himself due to his stand on the Bali bombers execution. Death penalty had been banned twenty years ago and the Labor party promised to consult the Asian authorities on this (Gyngell and Wesley, 2003, pp. 40-47).

My Personal Judgment on the Australian Foreign Policy on Terrorism

This can be seen as a great achievement to the state. The September 11 case in the United States caused an increased alert and awareness of terrorism on nations across the world. As such, policies on terrorism had to be considered as part of the national security measures. Besides the failures it can also be considered a success. The country’s national security has been improved and the fear by citizens and foreigners had been alleviated. The policy has also been good in terms of public relations because globally Australia can be considered to be taking some measures to eradicate or at least to minimize terrorism. Much is needed to be done by the Australian government to ensure that there are no shortcomings. Expert and technology help is also needed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the policy.

Australia’s foreign policy on terrorism have shown to the public that there are many security measures which the government are implementing in relation to terrorism. The prime minister further improved the foreign policy on terrorism because new terrorism measures are not clear. Australia’s strong support for the approach being taken by the United States on global terrorism policies cannot be trusted after Iraq’s invasion in 2003. Foreign policy made both Liberal and Labor parties to differ. Liberal party sticks firmly to the “big and strong friends” belief while the labor party believes in the Asian bond. Australian policy regarding terrorism has been a main subject due to the September 11 attacks which was a great threat to Western nations (Cam (2004).

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