2 thoughts on “Australian trade unions say Labor party should keep promises

  1. New survey shows split in Australian attitudes on United States

    By Tim Johnston
    Published: December 9, 2007

    SYDNEY: A new survey shows that Australians are developing a split attitude toward the United States, a key ally: They still value the relationship but are deeply worried about the current political direction of the United States and some of its social trends.

    The results of a poll carried out for the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney and to be released Monday indicate that the majority of Australians hold favorable views about its political freedoms and the economic opportunities it offers.

    But perceived problems with gun control, race relations, and rising social and economic inequalities had tarnished views of the United States.

    “What I consider quite surprising is a growing disconnect between the United States and Australian values in quite a few areas, including their ability to manage their economic and social institutions” said Alan Dupont, who is the acting head of the U.S. Studies Center.

    “You get a picture of a Australia that increasingly no longer sees the U.S. as an exemplar politically or socially.”

    The results are the second set of data released from a poll conducted by Surveys Australia, part of ACNeilsen, involving telephone interviews with 1,213 people in July. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    Results released in October showed that 57 percent of Australians had favorable attitudes to the United States in general, 67 percent had unfavorable views of President George W. Bush, and only 37 percent trusted the current administration to deal responsibly with global problems. The results were released separately to give researchers time to analyze the data.

    Dupont said that the key question was whether the attitudes were purely due to disaffection with the current U.S. administration or whether they were part of an underlying trend, but he warned that the first risked creating the second.

    “The image of Bush has affected attitudes to the U.S. more generally,” he said.

    Historically, Australia has been one of America’s closest allies. It is the only country to have fought alongside the United States in all the major conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

    The new government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, which was sworn in last month, has said that it will negotiate the withdrawal of Australia’s combat troops in Iraq, part of a contingent of some 1,575 troops committed to that conflict, indicating that the relationship might be entering a more considered phase.

    Documents released over the weekend by the Dutch authorities indicate that Canberra is willing to commit to the deployment of Australian troops in Afghanistan at least until 2010.

    The Australian government has declined to confirm the comments, which were part of a Dutch government report. Australian and Dutch troops are serving together as part of a combined operation in the hostile southern Afghan province of Helmand.

    The Dutch government document said The Netherlands would also continue to deploy troops in Afghanistan, in part because of Australia’s continuing commitment.

    The recent survey shows that although some 50 percent of Australians support the deployment in Afghanistan, only a third – 33 percent – support the Iraq mission.

    But Rudd, who leads the center-left Labor Party, has said that the affiliation with Washington was still the country’s most important alliance, and the survey shows that reflects the attitude of a majority of his compatriots.

    Almost 80 percent of those polled said that the Anzus treaty, the military pact that binds Australia, New Zealand and the United States, was important for protecting Australia’s security.

    And social ties were also becoming stronger. Some of the results to be released Monday were contrasted with a poll carried out for the United States Information Service in 1986. They show that more Australians are traveling to the United States, even if there has been a sharp decline in favorable views of American standards of living and system of government.

    But Dupont said that one cause of the apparent disaffection might paradoxically be one of America’s most attractive attributes.

    “One of the reasons the U.S. gets a bad press is that it is a more open society than almost any other and it airs its dirty laundry almost more than any other country, and that draws a lot of criticism,” he said.


  2. Pingback: Prime Minister says Australia should not have joined Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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