Whitlam Institute

Australia in the World

Australia in the World


Gough Whitlam’s vision of Australia’s place in the world was for ‘a more independent Australian stance in international affairs… an Australia which will enjoy a growing standing as a distinctive, tolerant, co-operative and well regarded nation not only in the Asia-Pacific but in the world at large.’ This vision and the Whitlam Government’s enormous contribution to Australia’s standing in and engagement with the world has never been more important than it is today, in what Stephen Fitzgerald described in the 2017 Whitlam Oration as this ‘age of disruption’.

This focus area of work aims explore how we can develop greater coherence between Australia’s domestic and foreign policy, based on the core principles of our democracy and our values, through wider engagement and consultation within the Australian community. How can we achieve a more independent and strategic Australian foreign policy that starts with a clear assessment of Australia’s national interest – that national interest defined in a way that reflects those core values? The result should be an Australian foreign policy that can bring together the many forms of our international engagement – diplomacy, development assistance, humanitarian aid, trade, cultural and peace and security – in a coherent way and to our nation's best advantage.