PM takes aim at out-of-touch elitists

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has warned that freedom of thought, expression and choice were at risk as he slammed "unaccountable ­internationalist bureaucracies" and "anxiety inducing moral panic".

He made the comments in a landmark speech at the Lowy Lecture in Sydney last night, addressing Australia's role in the global unrest being seen throughout the world.

Mr Morrison urged against growing protectionism and isolationist policies, but warned that global conformity pushed by some groups did not serve the national interest, seemingly taking aim at the United Nations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, during his US trip last month. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, during his US trip last month. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

"We will decide our interests and the circumstances in which we pursue them," Mr Morrison said, paraphrasing John Howard who was in the audience last night.

"It does not serve our interests when internationalist institutions demand conformity rather than independent co-operation on global issues.

"We should avoid any reflex towards a negative globalism that coercively seeks to impose a mandate from an often ill-defined borderless global community. And worse still, an unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy."

He said while there was global unrest, previous generations had weathered world wars, the holocaust and fears of nuclear Armageddon.

"Those generations recognised the challenges of their times, and responded with practical resilience, optimism and resolve, rather than the anxiety inducing moral panic and sense of crisis evident in some circles today," he said.

"This is not the first time our children have grown up in a time of global tensions and disruption."

The PM described "an era of insiders and outsiders, threatening social cohesion, provoking discontent and distrust", with "elite opinions … disconnected from the mainstream of societies".

Despite increasing tensions between Australia and China, and accusations from Labor he has lurched toward the US too heavily on foreign policy, Mr Morrison said there was no need for Australia to choose between the two nations.

"(We can) maintain our unique relationship with the United States, our most important ally, and China, our comprehensive strategic partner, in good order by rejecting the binary narrative of their strategic competition and instead valuing and nurturing the unconflicted benefit of our close association," he said.

Previously, Lowy Lectures have attracted big-name speakers including then-Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Rupert Murdoch.



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