You are here

An AU-EU Society?

Australia has various bilateral associations that promote friendship, cooperation, and understanding between the people of one country and another. Obvious to all, these represent a sort of soft-power strategic orientation as well as a source for business contacts, along with the more benign elements of cultural, scientific, and familial associations. A very notable example is the American Australian Association which is affiliated with its complement, the American Australian Association, and likewise the Australia-Britain Society and its complement, the Britain-Australia Society. Once upon a time, there was an Australia-Soviet Friendship Society; that was superseded by the Australia Russia and Affiliates Friendship Society. There is, of course, the Australia China Friendship Society as well.

The ties of Australia to the United Kingdom are not to be estimated; the nation was founded through the forced unification of that particular imperial power and as a result, our primary language is English, our head-of-state is the Queen of England, etc. However, following the great shift during the second world war following Curtin's "The Task Ahead" speech of 1941, Australia has increasingly been more of a junior partner to the United States, rather than to the United Kingdom. In a sense, the UK is a bit of a junior partner to the US as well these days. The Australia Russia and Affiliates Friendship Society has obviously declined in importance over the decades, and the Australia China Friendship Society has grown in importance.

What makes me wonder is why there is no Australia-European Union Society? There are, of course, associated cultural groups, such as Alliance francaise, or Goethe-Institut Australia, Italian Australian Club, the Australian Hellenic Council & etc. And there have been EU projects such as the Europe-Australia forum, designed to strengthen bilateral relations. But there is no Australia-Europe Society, and maybe there should be. After all, as is evident by the number of European cultural groups there is a good percentage of the population who come from continental descent. There is also a shared heritage of civil liberties and democratic traditions, along with being relatively advanced countries in terms of technology and economics. Indeed, among all the superpowers, real and emerging, I would argue that the European Union represents the most advanced features of that nature. It would be useful if, in Australia, there was some organisation that would represent this whilst also providing for the pan-European cultural perspectives.

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on October 6, 2020.