The hate filled Left, which has been sending itself more and more insane by the sustained success of the Howard government and prosperity of the Australian people, has often applied the terms 'selfish' and 'heartless' to Australian society and accused the Howard government's foreign policy of being driven by US policy.
It is axiomatic that the Left doesn't understand charity and personal generosity. To the Left, looking after those in need is the government's job. Therefore, once they've paid their taxes those on the Left don't feel the need to donate to charities as much as the Right. This has been borne out in interesting studies done in the US on the differences in charity between registered Republicans and Democrats. Michelle Malkin has a piece showing the alignment of charity giving states with being Bush supporters (make sure to look at the data to validate its correctness).
So, is the average Australian selfish and heartless and is our foreign policy simply a minor chapter in a some greater US foreign policy book?
Australia's response to the Asian Tsunami in 2004 should give critics pause for thought about the true nature of the average Aussie and the wisdom of the Howard government's foreign policy in the region.
As is the way of these things it's always the countries that are the least developed that are hit the hardest by catastrophic events and such was the case for Indonesia. It's also at these times that the real character of a nation stands out on the international stage. Australia has a long history of being a conspicuous provider of international relief during times of crisis.
In the case of the Asian Tsunami, Australia topped all nations (apart from the mighty USA) in pledging US$1.3 billion in aid of which $223 million was a direct charitable contribution from those apparently selfish and heartless average Aussie families. Australia's contribution was 2% of GNP, easily ahead of the next highest country, Ireland's, 1.1% (what an outstanding effort, also).
For a country that apparently isn't able to make a foreign policy decision without picking up the Batphone and interrupting George W playing a round of golf to get the right answer, I think that our commitment exhibited exactly the sort of wisdom and good sense that the Howard government has come to be known for since taking office in 1996 - and, yes, that includes Iraq. It sent a direct message to the Indonesian people and government about how positively we view them and how serious we are about our important relationship. By way of contrast, oil-soaked Saudi Arabia could find only $30 million for its Muslim cousin while at the same time hosting a TV telethon that raised $25 million (from the public!) for the families of jihadists that blow themselves up in suicide bombings.
This generosity from ordinary Australians has been on show time and again when people of any race, creed or colour around the world are in need. The Left's ongoing and outrageous claim that the average Aussie has become selfish and heartless is a disgusting slur on the good character of this nation and they should be called out on it - often and loudly.