Australia must balance its commitment to liberal democracy while keeping Pacific Island nations on side, a recent report has outlined.
Australia’s Melanesian and Pacific approaches have long been considered of existential importance to the independence of the nation. Indeed, remarking on British Australasian defence policy, Otto von Bismarck himself is believed to have suggested that the Empire’s regional defence strategies mirrored an Australasian Monroe Doctrine – in which the presence of any foreign power was considered unacceptable.
While Australia and its allies maintain political and military power in the region – which includes leading most of the region’s aid programs – Australia faces an uphill battle balancing its commitment to liberal democracy while keeping the regional elites on side.
This test will be pronounced during the upcoming Fijian election.