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Amity and co-operation

April 22nd, 2005

Like others, I suspect, I’ve been puzzled by the Howard government’s unwillingness to sign the apparently obligation-free treaty of amity and co-operation with our Asian neighbours. Rex Ringschott points to a possible explanation.

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  1. Ros
    April 22nd, 2005 at 09:48 | #1

    Don’t get it JQ. They are separate treaties. India has signed up for Amity but not nuclear free. The five nuclear powers won’t sign the Nuclear free.
    Why would the reluctance of not just the US but China France UK and Russia to signing the nuclear free mean we would have a problem with the Amity.
    Not being able to criticise Myanmar for chemical warfare or putting babies through milling machines (if the horror report this morning is correct) when it sits at the head of the ASEAN table does seem a real problem from this Amity treaty.

  2. April 22nd, 2005 at 10:18 | #2

    As alluded to in one of the articles linked to at Rex’s site, I tend to think that Howard is scared of being seen to be sidling up to Asia at the expense of the United States.

    Interesting though that Howard has recently changed tack on this treaty.

  3. vee
    April 22nd, 2005 at 10:28 | #3

    I thought it was so he can use it as a maneuvering tool in trade talks with Japan and China but mind you that’s just a guess.

  4. observa
    April 22nd, 2005 at 12:03 | #4

    Howard should ask for Taiwan to be included and we’d happily sign.

  5. April 22nd, 2005 at 18:08 | #5

    Actually, the way the Australian constitution works in practice is that treaties affect internal arrangements. That’s mainly because judges never rule the opposite way, that the treaty is void because the internal consequences were ultra vires.

    But that means that a wise government should never sign a treaty without a compelling reason or clauses specifying and allowing for Australian circumstances – not something you can ask for when joining a “one in/all in” thing at a late date. It also sets a bad precedent, like the Pacific nuclear free thing (which rather shows that governments are very cavalier about what they do in our names).

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