- If anything, the age of globalisation has magnified the power that Australia derives from assets at home. Australia's global engagement rests on core national assets; resilient yet adaptable individuals, stable yet responsive institutions, and enduring ideas and values that bind together our diverse yet cohesive society. We must further develop and play to these strengths if we are to shape our own destiny and not just be a taker of trends set elsewhere, said Prime Minister John Howard at the Global Foundation Dinner in Melbourne 7 March 2007.
He commented that Australians sometimes downplay their influence on international events, perhaps out of a kind of national self-deprecation, and said why he disagreed with such attitudes:
- Australia can and does make a difference on the world stage and we should be confident in doing so and we should reflect on those areas where we have got the balance better than most other countries. I often think that in areas of education and social welfare, Australia has achieved a better balance between the contributions of the public and private sectors when either on one hand the rather too laissez faire attitude of the United States, which does allow people to slip too frequently through the social security cracks and compounds social tensions and problems, and on the other hand the rather too paternalistic interventionist approach of many countries in Europe. I don't think there is a better blend between the public and private systems in the area of education than you can find in Australia and I think the same observation can be made with all its imperfections about Australia's health system, said Prime Minister Howard.
For the full text of Prime Minister Howard’s speech: http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Speech/2007/Speech24192.cfm