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Rupert Murdoch on the Role of Australia in Asia

Rupert Murdoch (Photo by World Economic Forum/flickr)

Rupert Murdoch (Photo by World Economic Forum/flickr)

Remarks by Rupert Murdoch, Chairman & CEO, News Corporation

Melbourne, Australia
8 November 1999

Chairman Hugh Morgan, Founding Director Dick Woolcott, Executive Director Prue Holstein, ladies and gentlemen.

It is always a great pleasure to be back in Sydney, soon to be host to the Olympic Games and now the headquarters of Fox Studios and News Limited.

It is an even greater pleasure for me to have the opportunity of sharing with you some thoughts about the role of Australia in Asia, and, indeed, in the world as we approach the new century, and this country engages in what some have called the most significant change in Australian foreign policy since the end of World War II.

A few years ago my son, Lachlan, addressed a meeting in Melbourne of the Australian-American Association. I am pleased that he described our family so accurately. Lachlan said that ``An Australian influence nourishes the family, even in the United States...I have got to say that I love both countries deeply, and they are both an essential part of my identity.'' I share my son's sentiment, especially in the context of what I want to discuss tonight.

We all have to be concerned that the current reappraisals of Australian foreign policy - - driven by recent events in East Timor - - come out right -

  • Right for Australia;
  • Right for our allies;
  • And right for the peoples of the region with which Australia is inextricably tied.

Let me start by saying that I have observed with some concern the spread of the notion that a nation's foreign policy can be driven purely by humanitarian or moralistic concerns, divorced from attention to national interest. In Britain, Kim Beazley's old friend, Tony Blair, has found that pursuit of a moral imperative in foreign policy can often conflict embarrassingly with his country's interests. And when it does, self-interest will prevail, even if that means leaving Foreign Minister Robin Cook with orders to sell a load of weapons.