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Keating says time to break away from US

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016

Australia is a far better society than the United States and bowing and scraping to the US is a complete denial of everything we have created, former Labor prime minister Paul Keating says.

Mr Keating said Australia was more fair, incomes had increased 50 per cent in the past 20 years against zero for the US, there was universal health care, a retirement income system, higher school participation plus children weren't shot in our schools.

He said under the Anzus alliance, Australia received intelligence and access to better technology but our future was basically in the region around us.

Mr Keating said Australia had maintained a tag-along foreign policy with the US and, with the election of Donald Trump as US president, it was time to get out.

"Isn't an independent, balanced foreign policy the right answer? Or do we stay in a crouch, saying Hail Marys to the alliance," he told ABC television's 730.

The surprise Trump election has raised concerns of a more isolationist US, stepping away from security alliances and trade deals.

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard said he was pretty confident the historical warmth of the relationship with the US would continue and the new administration would not walk away from old allies.

"In the end the most important element of our relationship is, of course, Anzus and underpinning that is the intelligence sharing arrangement which involves countries other than the US and Australia. I don't see those things being disturbed," he told 730.

Mr Howard said Mr Trump had promised to spend more on defence and that was likely to strengthen US involvement in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said there was a lesson for Australian political parties from the US result.

"I don't want America to turn her back on globalisation, nor do I want Australia to do that. But everybody has got to do a better job of explaining the benefits of globalisation," he said.

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