20 20 Vision for the future Apr 19, 2008 2:33:32 GMT -5
Post by Flash on Apr 19, 2008 2:33:32 GMT -5
Australia by 2020 will be an independent, confident, prosperous and just nation deeply engaged with and demonstrating a close understanding of regional nations.
That's a big picture vision outlined today by participants in the future security stream of the 2020 Summit.
Despite the presence of high profile military figures, including former defence chief General Peter Cosgrove, there was little consideration of traditional security matters.
The 90 delegates gathered in small groups to hammer out their vision, which was in turn presented to the larger plenary sessions.
Presenting the views of his group, the retired general said it was understood only imperfectly how Australia's circumstances would change.
"So we have to build an independent international relations policy. This is not code for no more alliance (with the United States)," he said.
"We have to have an Australian view which is specific to our own future.
"To have our voice heard, we have got to earn the leadership.
"We believe that we should aim for a cultural step where we are the most open and the most diverse culture in the world."
General Cosgrove said there could be no prosperity without security but the issue of security was not the hard security of the military response.
"It is very much the engagement on every plane of nation states, one with the other," he said.
International relations expert Alan Dupont said climate change, pandemic disease, food, water and energy scarcity and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were the key issues.
"While it is less likely that states are going to use nuclear weapons these days, the general consensus in the field is that if terrorists were to get hold of them they would probably use them," Professor Dupont said.
Terrorism expert David Wright-Neville said he would like to be able to describe Australia of 2020 as a good international citizen, a culturally diverse and cohesive state.
"It seems to me too often we underplay our status. Too often do we undervalue the extent to which what we already have is valued by others," he said.
"We should be able to utilise that to gain more influence. If we play our part right in this area, we can be friends and influence people."
ACTU president Sharan Burrow saw Australia of 2020 as a republic and a good neighbour to regional nations with a deep understanding of their cultures.
"I would like to see a good neighbours program in more than the nature of defence and security, a civil society dialogue nation to nation," she said.
"That I think will do more for our security and our confidence than most other things we could do out of this."
Human rights lawyer Fiona McLeod said she saw a nation where inequality was a thing of the past.
In her future Australia, women filled quotas for a third of senior positions in the public and private sectors, there had been a female prime minister and an Aboriginal woman had been president.