Australian Foreign Policy Qs Prime Minister v Thesis

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Australian Foreign Policy Qs

Prime Minister v. Foreign Policy Minister

Though in practice the highest political office in the land, the Prime Minister is still technically an appointed position, answerable not only to the full Parliament but also t the Governor-General and, of course, to the people of Australia. Thus, while the Prime Minister certainly enjoys a great deal of latitude in the appropriation of foreign policy issues, he is not able to make unilateral decisions at the level suggested by the prompt. Not only does the position of Prime Minister lack this authority in the official hierarchy, but it also defies the hierarchy of expertise that the ministerial system is meant to protect and encourage. Though the Prime Minister must be involved in most major issues involving the federal government, and quite often has the final say in such matters, the lower ministers exist precisely because their focus and expertise enables them to handle these situations more effectively than the Prime minister, whose role is often one of coordination and defining/maintaining an overall policy.

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Another major factor that prevents the Prime Minister from unilaterally appropriating foreign policy issues is the very nature of foreign policy and international relations. There is often little choice for any individual regarding the prioritization of foreign policy issues, or the necessity of attention and/or action regarding any specific issue. Increased volatility since World War II, especially in Asia, has required Australia and its elected officials to take certain steps to ensure the security and prosperity of its people and itself as a nation. There are matters where quick decisions regarding foreign relations need to be made, but when it comes to establishing overall foreign policy and Australia's relation with the rest of the world, the Prime Minister is only a single member of the team.

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