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Australia: Surprise Seat on United Nations Security Council

Categories: Oceania, Australia, Citizen Media, International Relations, Politics, War & Conflict

There was lots of jubilation when Australia won a two-year non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council on Friday, October 19, 2102. The long UN Security Council [1] and the short #UNSC [2] of it were both trending on Twitter, down under.

James Alexander [3] seems tickled pink:

@shortino29 [4]: Awesome news: Australia has won a seat on the UN Security Council http://ow.ly/eAWfa [5]

Stephen [6] is in the clouds:

@TheAviator1992 [7]: The #UNSC [2] seat cost about $1 per Australian. Far cheaper than a cup of coffee. No doubt about it, it was an absolute bargain #auspol [8]

General Assembly elects non-permanent SC members [9]

Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr receives congratulations
Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

But it isn’t all self-congratulation. There seem to be some sour grapes as well. At Catallaxy Files, which claims to be ‘Australia's leading libertarian and centre-right blog’, Samuel J [10] seems open to a charge of sore-loser:

Unfortunately Australia has won its campaign for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council with 140 votes out of 193 cast (2/3 majority being 129)

He uses sarcasm:

This victory for Australia must be [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s fault!

Followed by a cheeky, machiavellian suggestion:

One option the Coalition could consider – ask Kevin Rudd if he would like to be considered for appointment as Australian Ambassador to the United Nations under a Coalition Government. Since the temporary position commences on 1 January 2013, Mr Rudd would want to be in a position to take up such an appointment prior to that day. As the Constitution makes it illegal for a MP to accept a Commonwealth salary, he would need to resign from Parliament.

Such a resignation would cause a by-election and a possible change of government. Kevin Rudd initiated the UN bid before being toppled [11] as Prime Minister by Julia Gillard. Gillard leads a minority government [12] with razor-thin support.

But it gets more bizarre. Andrew Puhanic, blogging at the Globalist Report [13] shares his conspiracy theories:

GLOBALIST puppet, carbon tax lover [14] and communist Julia Gillard has once again set Australia on the path to world government.

If you enjoy this kind of negativity, then try reading the Comments section on Tory Maguire’s post at the Punch: We won! So what should we do with the prize? [15] She is not the only one caught napping, as few expected this victory:

The debate this morning is a bit hilarious as everyone scrambles to re-frame their arguments having assumed we were going to be embarrassed by the Fins.

One complaint that is rebutted by many on Twitter concerns the alleged waste of money. ManO'Steel(town) [16] ponders Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's reaction to the announcement:

‏@berkeleyboy [17]: Tony Abbott on Thursday: “failure to win UN Security Council seat would be a disaster…”, & Friday? “it cost too much…” #auspol #WhiteAnt [18]

Kiera Gorden [19] is also aiming at Tony Abbott:

‏@KieraGorden [20]: What sort of terrible person denounces their own nation getting a coveted, prestigious seat at the #UNSC. Oh yeah, Tony Abbott!

Dav [21] is doubtless thinking about Iraq and Afghanistan:

‏@dav9999 [22]: Having a say about wars our soldiers fight in is what's good about Australia on the UN Security Council #auspol [8] #unsc [23] #UNSecurityCouncil [24]

Simon Bradshaw [25] echoes Oxfam's similar concerns:

‏@simoncbradshaw [26]: UN Security Council win a chance for Australia to better protect people affected by war – Oxfam https://www.oxfam.org.au/media/2012/10/un-security-council-win-a-chance-for-australia-to-better-protect-people-affected-by-war-oxfam/ [27] … via @Oxfamaustralia [28]

Author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution, Antony Loewenstein [29], lists what he sees as Australian demerits in the international arena:

‏@antloewenstein [30]: #Palestine [31], #Iraq [32], #Afghanistan [33], #asylumseekers [34]. Oh yes, #Australia [35]SO deserves UN seat @bobjcarr [36] @JuliaGillard [37] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-19/australia-wins-seat-on-un-security-council/4321946 [38]

Joe Hildebrand [39], Daily Telegraph journalist and blogger, seems to be one of those who see politics as another sport:

‏@Joe_Hildebrand [40]: So glad Australia won the UN Security Council spot. This totally makes up for the World Cup.

Australia's unsuccessful bid to host the World Cup 2022 cost $A 45 million [41] compared with the $A 24 million on the UN campaign.

Many onliners see cause for optimism. Laura R is upbeat at 3things [42] blog:

It’s an exciting time, not only for the government, but for any Australian citizen who’s ever wished we were that little bit more connected to the international arena and the decisions that get made within it. So now, here’s our chance.

Julia Gillard thanks DFAT staff [43]

Julia Gillard thanks DFAT staff
Photo: @JuliaGillard twitter account

As politicians never miss a photo opportunity in these days of social media, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard has used twitter to post a photo of herself thanking staff from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

‏@JuliaGillard [43]
The PM thanking DFAT personnel this morning after Australia secured a UNSC seat for 2013/2014. TeamJG pic.twitter.com/HO5CE7m2 [44]

Finally, for a cartoon reaction please see: You know who else won a seat on the UN Security Council … [45]

…everyone who thought they were voting for Austria will realise what happened and then there may be an international incident.

The two-year term starts in January 2013.