Professor Ross Garnaut AC delivered six webinars in this RESET series. More information on the series is available here.
On Wednesday 24 June, Professor Garnaut delivered webinar #6, Restoring International Cooperation.
This lecture explored the difficult global economic, health and security environment that democratic Australia faces at a time of political and economic weakness. The developed democracies are faced with challenges of; more assertive leadership in authoritarian states and deep problems of poverty alleviation in the developing world, including in Australia’s neighbourhood. These challenges have intensified through the pandemic and its recessionary aftermath. Australia will need to be tough against external intrusions on its democratic processes, while maintaining productive relations in many spheres with authoritarian as well as democratic states to achieve shared objectives in an environment of systemic competition. Much will hang on political developments within the United States, over which we have no control. Australia will have to learn to act decisively in our national interest on a wide range of issues, in some of which China is a challenger and in others a crucial partner.
The long-term success of democratic capitalism in the developed world including Australia requires success in global development. That in turn requires cooperative international arrangements covering health, trade, global development and security. This require restoration and renewal of international institutions that have been damaged by the shocks of the twenty first century, from the destabilisation of political order in the Middle East through the Global Financial Crisis to the pandemic recession. Restoration of cooperative relations between states will need to be built around international pluralism.