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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> International relations >> Australia’s credentials and place in the international system

Australia is well-equipped by its strengths to engage successfully internationally. These include its values, its make-up as a society, its robust political institutions, its open economy and its diverse international links. The values which Australia brings to its international engagement are those of a liberal democracy. These have been shaped by national experience and given vigour through cultural diversity and commitment to tolerance. They include the rule of law, freedom of the press and the accountability of the government to an elected parliament.

Australia has a modern industrial economy with a competitive and dynamic private sector, and a sophisticated manufacturing and services base. The Australian economy has been performing strongly, despite economic downturn and slower growth in some of its leading export markets. Over the past five years, Australia has been the fifth fastest growing economy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, outperforming the United States of America, Canada and most countries in the European Union (EU).

Australia has a strong skills base, high quality education and training institutions, advanced physical infrastructure, and high rates of information technology use. Strong civil institutions underpin a free society and encourage free enterprise. Australia's cultural diversity gives Australian society the strength and capacity to adapt rapidly to new opportunities. It is also a rich source of language and other skills which help Australia to do business in a global economy.

The close relationship between international and domestic issues means that consultation within Australia assists the development of effective international policies. This is an important part of efforts to advance Australia’s interests overseas.


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