Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, painting in her initial speech before the world body a nation she leads that is more than willing to contribute on global humanitarian efforts.
In the uplift of worldwide education condition, Ms Gillard said Australia is directly responsible for delivering accessible learning to tens of millions via the UN Millennium Development Goals.
"A decade ago, 100 million children did not get to go to school. This number has been reduced by fully one-third - 33 million human futures entirely remade," the prime minister was reported by ABC as saying on Thursday.
What have been achieved on the education front, Australia will extend on underway initiatives for gender equality.
"Australia will provide $320 million over 10 years to support women's political participation, to expand women's leadership, to extend local opportunities in the Pacific," Ms Gillard pledged.
The prime minister also touched on the raging violent protests that were set off by the perceived insult on Islam brought by the short film Innocence of Muslims.
She pointed to Australia as a host to "multicultural and multi-faith societies . . . (in which) denigration of religious beliefs is never acceptable. Australia seeks to be an example of freedom for all faiths."
Ms Gillard declared, however, that "our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred and incitement to violence, whether these lead to attacks against members of religious minorities or diplomats."
As Australia is a founding member of the UN, Ms Gillard also called attention on the importance of global security and peace, which she said are threatened by the escalating violence in the ongoing civil war in Syria and the secretive nuclear ambitions of Iran.
The international community needs to further stand up against the defiant attitudes displayed by the two governments, with Syria causing the suffering of its own people while Iran insisting on its hostile stance against Israel, both of which could easily destabilise the Middle East and the rest of the world, Ms Gillard said.
On that note, the prime minister reminded her audience, chiefly comprised of around 140 world leaders, according to News Ltd, of Australia's sterling record as a constant contributor on UN's numerous peace keeping missions since its inception.
The assertion was widely affirmed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a private meeting with Ms Gillard prior to the latter's UN address, ABC said.
Mr Ban lauded the Aussie missions, previous and ongoing, in Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands, which according to him only proved that Australia is a global stabilising player, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a nutshell, Australia "acts as a first responder to humanitarian need, as a donor who stays the course, as a partner in rebuilding after conflict," Ms Gillard was quoted by The Australian as saying today.
"This is why Australia seeks to serve - in all the work of the UN - and on the Security Council," she added in making the case for the country's bid to return to the powerful UN body after more than two decades of absence.
Ms Gillard argued that Australia is fully qualified for a Council seat because "we are a state with a decades-long tradition of capable and committed work in the United Nations . . . and a a country of the Asia-Pacific, a neighbour to developing countries, with a perspective of both the North and South."
Following the prime minister's maiden appearance at the UN General Assembly, News Ltd said on its report that Australia has increased the likelihood that it will beat out Finland and Luxembourg for the campaign to get the most votes come the secret Oct 18 election for a Council slot.
The media firm based its assessment on the jampacked crowd that responded to Australia's invitation for a marquis party in New York on Tuesday night (local time), where Finland President Sauli Niinisto was spotted as one of the distinguished visitors.
Also, Foreign Minister Bob Carr told The Herald Sun that more nations will likely come from the 193-strong full UN member nations, further boosting Canberra's chances of securing a Council seat despite coming late in the contest.
Australia only launched its campaign in 2008 while its rivals were into the fight as early as 2001.
'I spoke to the Caribbean nations today . . . and they've endorsed us, they told me at this meeting today, that their 14 votes will be behind Australia," Senator Carr told The Herald Sun.
He clarified, however, that Australia's chances cannot be ascertained at the moment, considering that "it's a secret ballot, it's a decision that involves the ambassador of a country here . . . and there are a lot of political cross-currents in this."
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