The 1996 national election ended 13 years of Labor Party rule in Australia, and returned the Liberal-National Coalition to power under Prime Minister John Howard. Howard had been Treasurer under Fraser. He was focused on trade and investment and had a close affinity to Australia’s traditional allies, the United Kingdom and the United States. But Howard began his foreign policy with little experience or links – ‘an amateur with attitude, passionate about his beliefs yet unsure of his policy’, as Paul Kelly noted1 – and it only became more central to the Howard government’s agenda after the East Timor intervention of 1999. Howard’s government continued to pursue the broad nonproliferation objectives that had defined Australian policy under the preceding Labor and Fraser governments. However, the Howard government placed far less emphasis than its predecessors on the promotion of nuclear disarmament as a ‘practical’ goal of Australia’s foreign policy, which the Coalition believed had been an unnecessary point of contention in an otherwise smooth AustraliaUS relationship.2