1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> International Relations >> Australia’s credentials and place in the international system

In its international relations, Australia uses its assets - economic, strategic and cultural - as well as its reputation as a responsible, constructive and practical country. The values which Australia brings to its international relations are the values of a liberal democracy. These have been shaped by national experience and given vigour through cultural diversity. 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 sophisticated manufacturing and services base. The Australian economy has been performing strongly, despite economic downturn and slower growth in some of our leading export markets. Over the past decade, Australia has been the sixth fastest growing economy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 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 a vigour and capacity to adapt rapidly to new opportunities. It is also a rich source of language and other skills which help us do business in a global economy.

Australia’s defence capability is significant in regional terms. Australia has a broadly based relationship with the United States of America, whose strategic engagement and commitment underwrite the stability of East Asia.

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