17 Pages

Pluralism and Foreign Policy

The States and the Management of Australia's External Relations
WithBrian Hocking

Observers of Australian foreign policy during the years of the Whitlam Labour Party Governments and the Conservative Liberal-National Party Coalition of the Fraser era might, on occasions, have been tempted to speculate as to precisely which level of government within the federal system, was responsible for the conduct of the country's external relations. State involvement in Australia's relations with her international environment is capable of exciting fury and condemnation in some, concern and interest in others. The phenomenon of State Premiers making quasi-official visits to other countries, the maintenance of State offices overseas are, by many, regarded as aberrations, albeit dangerous aberrations, in terms of their effect on the conduct of Australian foreign policy. "Federalism and a spirited foreign policy go ill together," concludes K. C. Wheare. Expansion of the foreign policy agenda itself has, it is argued, enhanced the fluidity of the boundaries between "foreign" and "domestic" policy.