An Overview of Australia towards Globalization

An Overview of Australia towards Globalization

When people mention the country Australia, what comes directly to mind? Usually the familiar response for most people nowadays are the animal kangaroo, the infamous Opera house in Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Outback, popular Hollywood actors Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and generally the place they would refer to as the “Land Down Under”.

australia-towards-globalization

Images from Google

True to its cliché slogan, “Land Down Under”, the geographical location of Australia is situated at the southern hemisphere together with New Zealand and other islands, which are also part of the Asia Pacific region. Its capital is Canberra, but Sydney and Melbourne are the much larger cities. An interesting fact is it is the only country that governs an entire continent [1].

See map below.

australia-locator-map

australia_regions

According to BBC News U.K., Australia is the sixth largest country in terms of land mass, its population are mostly living in near coastlines [2] and majority of the land in the middle region are desert or what is called “outback”, an uninhabited dry land. The weather conditions are typically very dry and hot, however in the nearby coastlines and non-dry land, there is amount of rainfall and its proper utilization of water helps fertilize the land.

 History

The country’s first settlers were called the aboriginals, that came from Asia. They were spread out across the mainland. By 1770, Captain James Cook together with Botanist Joseph Banks explored the territory and claimed it for the British [3]. As a colony of the British, there were many changes involving the land. During the British-American War in 1800s, the land was used for exiling criminals and convicts.

At the turn of the new century, the federation for Australia was born inexplicably since it had remained loyal to the throne of the British. Through World War I and II, the country was devastated due to the losses and debts set from the war. The imposition of reconstruction was prioritized and the entry of USA for protection had been instrumental. As part of the rebuilding, the policies of migration had been changed and many migrants from the postwar have settled into different part of Australia.

The timeline of the Australian history can be viewed in this link.

 The Entry of Globalization

As a country colonized in the early years, the cultural aspect of the British dominance has been widely known and highly regarded. Further, the development of the federation and effects of the World War had introduced them to the global stage with clear nation building. The subjects of economic, political and social aspects have been aligned towards the Western ideologies and concepts. As a result, Australia has been considered one of the wealthiest nations in the world [4]. The entry of globalization has been invested despite the geographical seclusion. According to Jane Jacobs’ study,

the phrase “edge of empire” refers to Australia’s geographical isolation from the centers of empire in the global North…

Pertinent here is Australia’s awkward global position as an outsider on the inside. Australia is and isn’t Eastern. It is part of but also apart from the Asia Pacific region. Australia is Western and was a former British colony, yet it is not part of the USA or Europe. It is thus rather tangential to the dominant West. [5]

Simply put, even with the distance set afar from the West, Australia has been established as a Western power and globalization has been the center of this development.

The brief video will help you give an idea of Australia towards globalization.

Economic Globalization

Australia uses the currency Australian dollar and in 2006, the nation’s economy has been the 12th largest in the world, with the 5th highest per capita income in the world [7].

Below is a snapshot of the economy by the numbers.

  • GDP: $649.9 billion
  • Inflation rate: 2.7%
  • Exports: $103 billion; major items include coal, iron ore, non-monetary gold, crude petroleum, and beef
  • Export partners: (2004) Japan, China, US 8.1%, South Korea, New Zealand
  • Imports: $119.6 billion; major items include passenger motor vehicles, crude petroleum, computers, medications, and telecommunications equipment
  • Import partners: (2004) US 14.8%, China, Japan, Germany, Singapore

The vast amount of natural resources and agriculture are the sources of growth of the economy where it fruits labor in the export industry. The primary resources are raw materials, such as minerals (iron ore, coal and uranium) and produce (wool, wheat, rice and beef). The trade industry has also exerted its efforts in opening to the foreign market. Trade was historically limited to Britain and the nearby European counterparts. With the progress of globalization, the economy has expanded to trade with USA and Asia, particularly Japan and China.

The stages of globalization in the economy was not all smooth and has drawn significant negative changes as well. Importation of products was one of the key factors for the struggle. Local industries in manufacturing were well documented whereas the labor was moved to Asia. The wage of the laborers played a key role as the cost of standard of living was higher compared to those in Asia. [8] Aside from importation, the rising of inequality among the population became inevitable. Below is an excerpt in terms of the inequality.

“The gap between rich and poor in Australia is widening. In 1995, the richest 1 percent garnered 5 percent of the national income; now it’s 9 percent… Polls also indicate that the culture has become more materialistic. Advertisements last month here for the $148,500 Cayman S sports car read: “Porsche’s new baby. An excellent reason to delay yours.” [9]

This phenomenon is not just happening in Australia, but the rest of the world is also experiencing this change.

Political globalization

The British colonization was the start of the political influence in Australia. The institution of the federal parliamentary system under the Commonwealth where the chief of state is the Queen while the head of the government is the Prime Minister. The post-world war led to the strong relationship ties with USA while still keeping loyal to the British. As an independent nation with multicultural identities, it has truly helped establish to become a supporter of international relations thus opening to the globalization of the nation.

One of the biggest contribution in line with global interest was the aid of the Boxing day tsunami in Indonesia last 2004.

The Australian government pledged a $1 billion package to Indonesia, specifically for use in the Aceh region, which was the worst Indonesian region affected by the tsunami. The $1 billion consisted of $500 million in aid and $500 million in loans for the rehabilitation of the communities destroyed by the disaster. [10]

Notwithstanding the growth of Australia in the market, there were turbulences that occurred in the government sector. The issues on inequality, poverty and taxation were being challenged and the two-way political system needed to be changed. The Labor political party had reformed the government into fair and polarized account of the policy-making process. The ‘domestic politics of globalization’ in Australia has involved efforts by policy-makers to open Australia to world political economic pressures and force domestic economic and political adjustment. The best that governments can do is to foster increasing self-reliance and self-provision. [11]

 Social Globalization

The main language used is English, similar to the Western language. Though some Australians may speak other languages, it is this language that brings the people together.

But the most significant element of globalization in Australia is the diversity and multiculturalism. Due to the huge flow of migrants following the World Wars I and II, as confirmed by the article from Daily Mail UK, one of four Australians are foreigners. [12] The different cultures were brought and shared among the countrymen. The globalization of the social interaction is continually growing and quite possibly dominating the culture around Australia. This maybe one of the setbacks as it might restrict for other cultures to be developed in the society.

Despite the distance from Western world, the advancement of communications has been huge as it made it accessible for the Australians to connect with the rest of the world with Internet and satellites. The installation of fiber wired cables was one of the projects delivered and its service brought faster connections to users in Australia.

 Impact of globalization in Australia to the rest of the world

Globalization, as characterized, “is the stretching of social, political, and economic activities across the political frontiers so that events, decisions, and activities in one region of the world come to have significance for distant regions of the globe.” [13] The Australian influence in globalization has placed a huge footprint into the world. Its impact exists on an international scale with the following contributions:

  • Economy: GDP: $649.9 billion
  • Resources: It is the top exporter of raw materials, such as minerals (iron ore, coal and uranium) and produce (wool, wheat, rice and beef) to USA, Europe and Asia.
  • International Relations: It is one of the top donors to under developing countries where disasters have occurred. Whenever possible, they will provide the necessary contributions for rebuild.

In conclusion, Australia, the place called “the land down under”, is not just a land living “under” the map but has gone well over and beyond its so-called “land” by means of globalization. In keeping their loyalty with the British and aligning with the Western ideologies, the country will continue to mark its impact throughout the rest of the world in terms of social, economic and political platforms and push forward in strengthening its values and norms.

 

References:

[1] Edugate website. Introduction to Australia.
http://www.edugate.com.au/introduction-to-australia/

[2] BBC News UK. Country profile.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-15674351

[3] The Australian History Timeline.
http://www.aushistorytimeline.com/

[4] Edugate website. Introduction to Australia.
http://www.edugate.com.au/introduction-to-australia/

[5] Jacobs, J., (1996). Edge of empire: Postcolonialism and the city. London, Routledge: New York.

[6] Skwirk education. “Globalisation in Australia.”
http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-57_u-507_t-1374_c-5292/globalisation-in-australia/qld/sose-geography/the-global-citizen-ecology-and-economy/globalisation

[7] Edugate website. Introduction to Australia.
http://www.edugate.com.au/introduction-to-australia/

[8] Skwirk education. “Globalisation in Australia.”
http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-57_u-507_t-1374_c-5292/globalisation-in-australia/qld/sose-geography/the-global-citizen-ecology-and-economy/globalisation

[9] Arnoldy, Ben. Australia at the crossroads of globalization. March 2006.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0307/p01s03-wogi.html

[10] Skwirk education. “Globalisation in Australia.”
http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-57_u-507_t-1374_c-5292/globalisation-in-australia/qld/sose-geography/the-global-citizen-ecology-and-economy/globalisation

[11] Conley, Tom. Globalisation and Rising Inequality in Australia Is Increasing Inequality Inevitable in Australia?.
https://www.adelaide.edu.au/apsa/docs_papers/Others/Conley.pdf

[12] Irvine, Jessica. Australia’s demographic details will shock you: Almost half of us are foreigners, or their children. The Sunday Mail QLD. Jan. 25, 2014.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/jessica-irvine/australias-demographic-details-will-shock-you-almost-half-of-us-are-foreigners-or-their-children/story-fnj45kvd-1226810413762

[13] McGrew, Anthony. “Globalization and global politics.”, 16-18.

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2 thoughts on “An Overview of Australia towards Globalization

  1. It was really interesting to read this blog on such a wealthy nation in terms of globalization after reading about (mostly) developing countries. Reading about the exportation of natural resources fueling the economy despite the isolated location of Australia makes me question why other island nations don’t thrive as much. Even if there is a lack of natural resources… it seems that the natural resources which are available, aren’t marketed appropriately to do justice in trade.

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