A month or two ago, I warned of plans to merge Australia, New Zealand, PNG and a dozen smaller island nations into a Pacific Union. These plans have now been taken significantly further. The Australian Labor Party, one of the two major political parties here, has released a policy paper setting out the design of what they call a Pacific Community.
There is to be a Pacific Treaty making it legally binding on member nations to meet agreed goals. There is to be a Pacific Parliament, a Pacific Court, a Pacific common market, monetary integration (i.e. the Australian dollar as a common currency), and formalised security co-operation. There is also to be, at least as a medium term goal, a common labour market (the main aim of which is to bring Islander labour to Australia).
Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, welcomes these proposals, stating that “Closer Pacific regionalism - even eventual confederation - may be an idea whose time has come.”
There - someone said it: confederation. This is the ultimate end point when you are talking about common currencies, labour markets, laws and parliaments.