-Australian alliance has come under close scrutiny in recent months, with Australia supporting the United States in the War on Terror in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in both active, support and peacekeeping roles. It is the opinion of many that Australia is simply America's "deputy sheriff" in the Asia-Pacific Region (Henderson, 2003). My colleagues, in fact, have referred to Australia as "the 51st state of America" (Todd/Mosler, 2003). Many people, therefore, question how foreign policy that garners such a relationship came to be. .
The fundamental rule that explains this is that the societal opinions of a nation and the formulation of foreign policy are inextricably intertwined. Throughout the last century Australians began to come to the opinion that our colonial allegiance with Britain was not mutually beneficial, and as such, it was an invalid alliance to maintain strongly. It was the opinion of many Australians that an American alliance would be more mutually beneficial, and it would therefore be a fairer and more appropriate alliance (Mediansky, 1997:186). Although Australians still suffer massive casualties and economic strain because of support given to America in conflict, the relationship benefits us much more than the relationship with Britain did. We are offered economic access to the major world market, regional security and intelligence sharing. These benefits were not offered in the restrictive British alliance of yesteryear.
Early last century, Australia was colonially linked to Britain and a series of events slowly eroded the strength of this empire/dominion relationship. Having lost faith in the British to a certain extent, Australian society looked to America for a fresh alliance. Any good legal system should be reflective and indicative of the society which it represents - the social opinions of the nation are embedded into policy and governmental practices.