Australia won on Friday a United Nations Security Council seat in New York with 140 votes. The victory is the result of a four-year campaign initiated by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.
Current Prime Minister Julia Gillard continued the campaign with 193 nations. Canberra needed at least 129 votes to get the council seat.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said this development is proof that Australian values are respected globally and the country is a good citizen of the world.
"It's always good to see Australia win . . . This was a big, juicy, decisive win, and it's very, very sweet," The Australian quoted Mr Carr.
Australia beat Finland and Luxembourg in the three-round contest for two vacant seats. Luxembourg got the second non-permanent seat. The victors will start their term on Jan 1, 2013 and hold the seat until Dec 31, 2014.
Mr Carr attributed the victory to strong support from African nations and island-states of the Pacific and Caribbean.
He acknowledged the victory as the result of the $25 million campaigned waged by the two prime ministers. "This is an unequivocal win for Australia and we couldn't have done it without the prime minister's lobbying. Julia Gillard engaged in intensive diplomacy with heads of government and heads of state and made a big hit in the UN last month," ABC Radio quoted Mr Carr.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who belittled Ms Gillard's effort and called it swanning around New York with Africans, nevertheless welcomed the victory.
He also emphasised the role of Mr Rudd. The UN Security Council seat would likely help Ms Gillard win in the 2013 election as recent polls indicate continuous improvement for the Labor Party in pre-election surveys.
On Thursday, Mr Abbott said if Australia would not win the council seat allocated for Western Europe and Others group, it would be a disaster for the Gillard-led government.
"If Australia can't come first or second in a three-horse race involving Finland and Luxembourg, there's something wrong with us. Given the millions and millions of dollars and the extraordinary dislocation of diplomatic priorities, it would be absolutely disastrous for the country if we didn't win this ballot," The Australian Financial Review quoted Mr Abbott.
Besides Australia and Luxembourg, the other new non-permanent members of the Security Council are Argentina, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda. The five permanent members with veto power are the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France.
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