For those of us fascinated by leadership and decision making, Australia’s first time in three decades as UN Security Council President has been, to say the least, underwhelming.
Any whelm was certainly hard to find in the one topic put forward for formal debate by Australia in the Presidential role – small arms. Not unimportant in its own right, it is hardly the fodder of a defining moment, or even anything very distinctive, in UN decision making.
In fact the whole thing was somewhat overshadowed by the national election that saw the (second) Rudd Government dumped in favour of a Coalition that has rather lacked enthusiasm for UN activities.
That also left the small arms debate sponsored by Australia under the Presidential guidance of (new) Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, rather than Kevin Rudd, whose interest in all things foreign relations could have provided a great deal more engagement (even if no more interesting topic for the debate).
However, the month of September under Australia’s presidential gaze was not a dead loss, thanks again to that debate topic. In a rare moment of non-veto dissent, the resolution on small arms proposed as part of the debate was passed 14 votes in favour with one abstention (Russia).
Regardless of the quality of their reasoning, or the true nature of the motivations behind their abstention, this shows that dissention among decision makers will not cause the end of the world as we know it!