So why does Kevin Rudd speak fluent Mandarin and embrace everything Chinese with such gusto?
In the alternate universe of lunatic socialist Labor-Green-ABC politics in Australia, failure is hailed as success.
Nowhere has this been better demonstrated recently than in Australia’s state of Victoria, whose premier is Labor’s Daniel Andrews’ incoming within weeks of being elected, deciding to tear up contracts for the $6.8 billion East West Link.
A handful of inner-urban residents who have abandoned the Labor Party for the Greens may cheer the insane decision to not build an integral part of an essential infrastructure development and relinquish billions in federal funding.
But those who might have benefited from the 7000 jobs now lost, those who will remain parked on choked roads and those who understand the true cost of seeing Australia’s reputation for safe and reliable development will not be celebrating.
Andrews is a political throwback to a time of tribal cloth-cap Labor politics, as is Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, and the ABC commentariat.
All are fixated by a narrow leftist populism that excludes the national interest.
Pondering the rise of risk adverse economy-destroying Labor politicians like Andrews, Shorten, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and his novice Queensland colleague Annastacia Palaszczuk (pronounced “Pallachook“), it is impossible to ignore the deadening influence of the monolithic taxpayer-funded ABC’s sprawling multi-platform broadcast monster on its national audience.
Without a single conservative presence hosting any major radio or television program and with a nationwide reach which includes regional areas in which there is no competition, Australia’s government funded national media broadcaster, the ABC, may have it’s ideological influence seriously dangerous. It’s CEO was installed by Gillard herself to perpetuate her socialist ideology across Australia after her downfall.
It has never been a secret that the ABC has always championed the Left, its attacks on the Labor Party only ever coming from further Left or Green voices.
Thus Prime Minister Kevin Rudd initially ticked all the ABC’s boxes until Julia Gillard with her added leftist feminist cred ousted him, with the approval of the ABC’s luvvies.
Feminism, along with the bewildering varieties of minority sexual variants signified by the GLBT + whatever-letter-you-wish acronym, remains a driving force at the ABC. Hence its commentators’ outburst of barracking for the damaged Democrat contender Hillary Clinton in her current White House tilt.
Despite Australia’s former socialist prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard having supplanted their philosophical mentor and prime ministerial predecessor Gough Whitlam as the worst prime ministers in the nation’s history, they can still enjoy the largely uncritical support of the ABC and its followers.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his team, mandated to repair the economic damage wrought by the dangerous duo in their scant six-year wrecking spree, are conversely treated as a comic act.
Were it not tragedy, the true comedy is being enacted in the spectral world of the UN where Rudd is working behind the scenes to lobby for election to the UN secretary-general’s job as Korean Ban Ki-moon retires.
The ear-wax-eating failure has not denied his interest in the UN secretary-general’s position but an intermediary has told Fairfax media that, on a rotational basis, the job should go to an eastern European.
It has never been a secret that the ABC has always championed the Left, its attacks on the Labor Party only ever coming from further Left or Green voices
The world may yet be spared the Pink Batts solution to everything and, as a reader of The Australian commented on Friday: “An applicant with a CV blighted by too many ‘d’ words: debt, deficit, deaths, dysfunction, division, deceit, disunity, delusion and policy debacles, has to be ‘d’ for denied.”
The residual detestation of Rudd’s legacy that exists in Australia might influence a vote in the real world but at the UN, where a misogynistic nation such as Iran can be appointed to the commission on women’s rights even as a recent UN report chastised the Iranian government for imprisoning women’s rights activists, relegating women to outsider status in politics, and introducing “laws that permit gender discrimination and promote violence against women,” it would barely raise an eyebrow.
The report cites: “The revised Islamic Penal Code … values women’s testimony in a court of law as half that of a man’s, and a woman’s life half that of a man’s”.
Women are also subject to a significant number of executions for crimes such as adultery and surviving rape.
Let’s hope Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reads the report before meeting Iranian leaders this week.
The UN’s hypocritical position on women’s rights might be expected to strike a chord with the ABC’s directors of news but is unlikely to be raised if there is an opportunity to confect an embarrassing moment for a member of the Coalition government.
The handful of professional journalists within the organisation who strive for impartiality are drowned out by those who see their principal role as representing the welfare lobby, the people smuggling lobby, the environment lobby and the global warming lobby.
Even now, less than a week out from the centenary of the Gallipoli landing Anzac Day celebration, one of the ABC’s most prominent commentators and senior editors, Jonathon Green, the foundation editor of the broadcaster’s online magazine The Drum, and, according to his ABC profile, presenter of Sunday Extra and fill-in host of RN Drive, can find a prominent platform for his view there is a “lasting intergeneration truth” that Gallipoli “then as now, was as much a place of deadly, noble sacrifice, as it was a crock of shit”.
A perverse cry from someone on the wrong side of history — only at Julia Gillard’s ABC.
As a manipulative opponent, Kevin Rudd thrived as opposition leader but never as an effective team leader.
Obsessive-compulsives are not team players let alone leaders of teams.
So why does Kevin Rudd speak fluent Mandarin and embrace everything Chinese with such gusto? What connections and allegiances does Kevin Rudd hold with the Communist Party of China?
Once in office, Kevin Rudd defied the orthodoxy and engaged in the most centralised, novel and risky experiment in prime ministerial power since Gough Whitlam. Rudd had two critical weaknesses — managing people and running a government. In opposition he was a master but those skills did not translate easily into office, a story that perplexed the Labor Party and sent it on a voyage ending in panic.
The Rudd prime ministership is a truly tragic tale of a leader with the potential to become a great prime minister brought undone by his flaws. The explanation lies in Rudd’s complex personality. Kevin was a brilliant solo player but not an effective team leader. This was the heart of the problem. It is the best explanation for the extraordinary saga that saw Kevin transition in just 2½ years from Labor hero to repudiated prime minister.
It is a unique fall.
A leader cannot succeed in the nation unless he or she succeeds with their party. At the end of Rudd’s career, former ALP operative Graham Richardson would say: “I have been a member of the ALP for 47 years and I have not known a more hated figure.”
From her position of proximity, Julia Gillard identified the problem: “In his organisational style, Kevin was unable to adapt to government. Opposition suited him to a T.
“Kevin’s absolute forte is management of the media agenda, quick tactical decisions. Nobody will ever work harder than Kevin, so he might be in Sydney for a meeting and then see a tactical advantage in being in Darwin tomorrow and jump up and go there.
“In opposition, you can operate like that. But that is not what government is about and Kevin never shed that organisational style. It is not just about your own time management. It is the sense of using the full power of government and he never got that.”
Rudd failed to deploy cabinet power to solidify his own position. This management flaw was multiplied by his erratic personality. Over time Rudd saw his relations either decline or degenerate with nearly every major institutional figure in the system: Gillard as deputy, Wayne Swan as treasurer, Terry Moran as his departmental head, Karl Bitar as party national secretary, Mark Arbib as his sole Praetorian guard and even Quentin Bryce as governor-general.
A convenient but unhealthy Rudd-Gillard process developed: Gillard did the cleaning up after Rudd, a fact that became notorious across the government. When Rudd was overseas and Gillard was acting prime minister — and that happened a lot — ministers and officials got a host of delayed decisions and paperwork done. The word spread: Gillard, unlike Rudd, could make a decision.
Gillard said: “Kevin’s operating style was dysfunctional. It was a great pity. Kevin is a highly intelligent man. If you wanted to talk to someone over dinner about the geopolitics of the region for the next 20 years, then you couldn’t have a better companion than Kevin Rudd. But Kevin’s fatal flaw was that he couldn’t delegate, he couldn’t manage his time, he couldn’t plan strategically as opposed to plan tactically.
“Under pressure he was a great prevaricator. His reaction to not being able to decide was to ask for more and more briefs and more and more paperwork that would never get read. Then he felt the pressure more and more; there was more paper and more chaos. It would get worse, not better.”
Gillard would joke about Rudd’s operational dysfunction. She would take home 200 briefs on the weekend. The system began to look to her. “I was clearing briefs and correspondence in a routine way,” she says. “People would say: ‘Have you done all those briefs? It’s only 11am.’ It was as though I’d turned water into wine.”
Senate leader Chris Evans said: “Julia spent the first two years of government running around cleaning up the mess, day after day. She was not given enough credit for that.”
This was a highly unsatisfactory modus operandi, guaranteed to strain personal relations and lead to trouble. It meant Gillard lost respect for Rudd.
Greg Combet was promoted under both Rudd and Gillard. He offers a practical yet alarming view of Rudd’s style: “You’d have to say the government had become dysfunctional. Rudd’s approach to governing was the real reason he was replaced. That’s not often appreciated.
“Rudd failed in his management of his colleagues on any assessment. He tried to take it all on himself. He was terrified of leaks and wanted to keep everything tight; colleagues were not engaged, cabinet processes were not followed. The SPBC system (the strategic priorities and budget committee, or “gang of four”, consisting of Rudd, Gillard, Swan and finance minister Lindsay Tanner) led to very poor process.
“Ministers were travelling around from city to city trying to get an audience with the SPBC; as a minister that’s where you had to go. So Rudd would have a full day in one city, then all the SPBC members, all the public servants, the deputy secretaries, the advisers would be rushing out to buy underpants and toothbrushes because they were now staying the night, then we’d decamp the next day to yet another city in the hope of getting in, waiting all the time for huge decisions to be taken.”
When their relations died, Swan revealed some of his concealed views about Rudd, once one of his closest family friends. He became Rudd’s sharpest critic: “The central problem with Rudd is that he didn’t listen to people, he treated people badly.
“His tendency was to be unfocused, jumping from issue to issue, handing down dictates to people, not consulting, overreacting, trying to run a 24–hour news cycle. This really started to emerge after we came out of the global financial crisis from June-July-August in 2009. He got smashed by the Oceanic Viking at that stage.”
Swan had known Rudd longer than any of the ministers. He said he was unsurprised. Interviewed for this book, he said: “The problem, to be extremely frank, is Kevin is not suited to lead a team, if you want to sum it up. He had neither the temperament nor the interpersonal relations. And it is a pattern of behaviour that has been repeated in his career.
“It is one I chose to ignore for a number of years. But, you know, anyone who has worked closely with him is acutely aware of it. And it doesn’t matter who you are talking about, whether you are talking about the former premier of Queensland (Peter Beattie) or political colleagues or public servants. It is the same pattern.”
Tanner was far closer to Rudd than Gillard. Yet Tanner’s restrained assessment of Rudd’s style by one of his strongest supporters conceded Rudd’s “slightly manic habits” and suggested a cabinet system bordering on chaotic: “By the beginning of 2010, the SPBC process was deteriorating. Meetings were called, rescheduled and cancelled with great regularity, so that I lost the ability to schedule diary appointments any more than two or three days in advance with any confidence.
“Individual matters of middling importance were left unresolved for extended periods, and ministers and public servants were sometimes kept waiting for hours before getting a chance to enter an SPBC meeting to discuss their particular issues.”
Despite these concerns, Tanner rejected the idea that Rudd’s flaws justified his removal.
This summarises the views from inside the gang of four. They range from moderate critique to excoriation. To an extent, their lens is distorting. These are retrospective judgments made after Rudd’s removal. The truth is that for most of their time in office Rudd, Gillard, Swan and Tanner worked well together. Yet this period was too short. The problem is that Rudd fell out with his two most senior ministers, his deputy and his treasurer.
Because the Gillard-Swan critique originated in Rudd’s personality they decided it was incurable. Swan didn’t buy the argument that the cabinet could have reformed Rudd: “Having known him long enough, I knew he wasn’t going to change the way he operated.”
Gillard made the same point as Combet: the real reason for Rudd’s removal was his failure of governance. Since she launched the challenge, she must know.
Asked if Rudd’s problem was the character issue, Gillard replied: “I think that is absolutely right. If you genuinely like someone you will forgive them more than someone you don’t like. Kevin had treated so many people so badly for so long that there was no bond. When things get bad there is no shield to protect you. He never got that. It broke his relationships with people and with ministers.”
The heart of the Gillard-Swan critique is Rudd’s fusion of poor process with his difficult personality. In the end Gillard, like Swan, decided that Rudd wouldn’t change.
The head of the Prime Minister’s Department, Terry Moran, had a different assessment: “By June 2010, Kevin’s private office was disliked. But Kevin should have been given the chance to mend his ways. There were problems in the way he governed and the sensible course would have been to raise them with Kevin. I am sure he could have changed things.”
Rudd took to dizzy and unsustainable heights what is best called the cult of prime ministerial governance. He gave priority to his personal office over cabinet, a cardinal mistake for a prime minister. One of his press secretaries, Sean Kelly, said: “Kevin liked the idea of being courted and he enjoyed having young people around him.”
The chief of Rudd’s office until late 2008, David Epstein, offers a chilling account of the prime minister’s habits: “Kevin Rudd’s work pattern was erratic. He would push himself to the limit. Convinced he needed little sleep, almost seeing this as a badge of honour. But he would get over-tired, his temper would fray, then he would need a day’s break to recover.
“His office was chaotic. Briefs would just pile up and be arranged across the floor. He would commission multiple briefs and then not read them because other issues became more pressing.”
The cabinet had talent but it was pathetically weak as a unit. It bowed before the exceptional authority that Rudd had established as opposition leader, a level of authority unparalleled in ALP history. Senate leader Chris Evans said: “We gave Rudd complete licence as opposition leader and that set the pattern.”
As Combet put it: “Rudd had beaten Howard, a huge achievement. He was accorded tremendous authority.”
For Rudd, the most dangerous instance of exclusion was with the minister for agriculture, Tony Burke. Burke stuck his neck out in 2006 to back Rudd against Kim Beazley. He found himself quickly marginalised. “I probably only had three or four calls from him in three years,” Burke said. Rudd stopped taking his phone calls “very quickly” after becoming leader. “I kept hearing stories of him furiously bagging me,” Burke said of the period in government.
“I approached him on three separate occasions. It was hard to ever get him one-on-one. He’d say: ‘No, there’s no problem.’ This idea of trying to make people feel they weren’t secure — that’s certainly how he operated with me.”
Burke sensed it was high-risk to discuss such sensitive issues. “If you stepped out of line, you’d be gone in an instant,” he said. Eventually, Burke gave up on Rudd: he cultivated Gillard, whom he hardly knew, and influenced her to challenge.
There is universal agreement about the erosion of the cabinet process. Anthony Albanese said: “This was a busy government. It had a lot on. You had the SPBC and it continued after the global crisis to make decisions effectively as an inner cabinet. It had too much power for too long. And that annoyed ministers.” Moran identified the flaw: Rudd thrived amid the global financial crisis, with its urgency, adrenalin, and late-night and early-morning briefings. Rudd, Swan and the “gang of four” were in overdrive.
Moran said of the SPBC process: “It took decisions in real time in a rapidly moving situation. Kevin seemed enthusiastic about the process and became keen about it as an approach to governing. He understood the issues and made his late-night phone calls to other leaders. It was what he loved doing. After that, he couldn’t easily return to normality.”
It is the core insight: Rudd couldn’t return to normality. He thrived on urgency and emergency and would engender such atmospherics when they were unnecessary. The Rudd government never settled: it had no normality. It had, instead, three phases: adjusting to office, the global financial crisis and then the drift to dissension and paralysis.
Stephen Smith confirms the point: “Kevin thrived on the sense of crisis, the 24-hour media cycle, requests for immediate advice, urgent phone calls and briefings. The GFC decision-making format came to define the government permanently. We never reverted to orthodox decision-making.”
In short, there was no normal. Rudd had become an addict; his drug was crisis. He could never let go.
Australia remains in economic trauma with a Rudd socialist welfare mindset that will take more than a generation and social austerity to turn around.
Kevin Rudd is unfit for public office, let alone international diplomacy, let alone a UN role.
A Speech made by Kevin Rudd – Australian Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security at The Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, Beijing – 1 July 2004
“Thank you for the invitation to address the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China.
This school has played an important role in the modern history of China.
It is one hundred years ago this year that the Chinese Imperial Government abolished the imperial examination system.
In the one hundred years since then, the preoccupation of all Chinese reformers has been the identification, selection and cultivation of talented individuals dedicated to the economic and political transformation of China.
This school forms part of that tradition – and from within its faculty have come many of those who have led the domestic economic reforms of the last quarter century, together with reforms leading to China’s opening to the outside world.
The challenges this school will face over the next quarter century will be even greater as China develops as a great power and plays an increasingly important regional and global role.
I began my studies of China back in 1976 when I enrolled as an undergraduate in the Department of Chinese at the Australian National University.
Little did I know then that 1976 would prove to be such a momentous year in modern Chinese history. The death of Zhou Enlai. The death of Mao Zedong. The purge of the Gang of Four.
The course that I studied combined modern Chinese, classical Chinese, Chinese history, Chinese philosophy and Chinese literature.
It took five years. When I began, we studied “Da Zhai” and “Da Qing”. By third year we were studying Deng Xiaoping’s dictum “seek truth from facts” and “practice is the only criterion for truth”. And by the time I graduated, we had advanced to critical discussions of “the reform of the economic system”. It was, indeed, an interesting time to be studying China.
When I came to China to work for the first time twenty years ago, back in 1984, the Party was preparing for the third plenum of the twelfth Central Committee – the plenum which undertook reforms in agriculture and applied the principles of reform to the entire economic system. These were courageous and far-sighted decisions taken by the Party’s leadership at a time when the country was still throwing off the ideological shackles of the Cultural Revolution.
In the intervening twenty years, I’ve been back to China many, many times – as a diplomat, as a state government official, as a businessman, as a Member of Parliament, now as the alternative Foreign Minister of Australia.
I have been here both in good times and in difficult times, like May of 1989.
I like China. I like its people. I admire the achievements of its extraordinary civilisation. And unlike some, I am an optimist – not a pessimist – about China’s future.
For the history now being written in this country will form a large part of the history of all humankind this century.
And it is, therefore, a chapter in which the rest of humankind has a great interest.
Role of the CPC
This year the Communist Party of China is 83 years old.
A couple of months ago I was in Shanghai and took my son, who is studying Chinese at Fudan University, to the modest building where the Chinese Communist Party held its first National Congress in 1921.
From modest beginnings, to the party that has grown to a total membership of around 70 million.
During those 83 years, it is a Party which has seen civil war, the war of resistance against Japan, the disasters of the ‘Great Leap Forward’ and the Cultural Revolution, and now a period of unprecedented unity and prosperity.
Adjusting the Party to the ideological, political, economic and international circumstances of the last quarter century has been an arduous task.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the proper role of state-owned enterprises in the modern Chinese economy, the relationship between Party and State and the continuing process of constitutional, political and legal reform have together presented significant challenges.
And the achievements, thus far, have also been equally significant.
Australian Labor Party
We in this delegation come from one of the oldest, continuing social democratic parties in the world.
The Australian Labor Party was founded in 1891 as a result of large scale, industrial action by rural and urban workers across Australia.
We are about as old as the German Social Democratic Party. And we are considerably older than the British Labor Party.
We are a Party rich in political history having been the governing Party nationally for one third of the last century and at the State level (there are six states in Australia) for more than one half of the last century.
We are the Social Democratic Party which, in Australia and in much of the western social democratic world, pioneered fundamental social reforms in the first half of the last century. These included workers compensation insurance, aged pensions and widows’ pensions.
And in the last quarter century, we have been the Party which reformed, modernised and internationalised the Australian economy – reforms which enabled the Australian economy to survive robustly the impact of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98.
And we also believe that we are on the verge of forming government again in Australia in our upcoming national elections, which are due within the next several months.
Labor’s relationship with China
The Australian Labor movement is made up of two wings: the Australian Labor Party and the Australian trade union movement.
The Australian trade union movement first became engaged with China’s cause back in the 1930s and 40s following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. It was during this period that Australia’s representatives on the International Labour Organisation in Geneva led a campaign of international industrial action against Japanese shipping around the world – in protest against Japanese aggression towards China.
In 1949, when the Peoples Republic of China was proclaimed, the Australian Labor Party was in power in Canberra under Labor Prime Minister Chifley. The then Australian Labor Government made preparations to extend diplomatic recognition to the new government of China towards the end of 1949. Unfortunately, during the general elections of November 1949, the Labor Party was defeated – and remained out of office for the next 23 years.
For the following 23 years, successive conservative governments of Australia maintained diplomatic relations with the Nationalist government of Taiwan – until 1972 when the Australian Labor Party was finally returned to political power. In one of its first decisions, Labor Prime Minister Whitlam extended diplomatic political recognition to the PRC – diplomatic recognition based on a firm commitment to the principles of the One China policy.
During the 1980s, the Hawke Labor Government developed a closer relationship with the China at multiple levels. It was during this period that Prime Minister Hawke and his Chinese counterparts brought about the first Chinese resource investment abroad – the Channar Iron Ore Mine in Western Australia.
Back in the 1980s, Labor Prime Minister Hawke began outlining a long-term vision for the future of the Australia-China relationship based on the strongest levels of economic cooperation between the two countries.
This vision was sustained during the 1990s under Labor Prime Minister Keating who sought to deepen and broaden Australia’s bilateral relationship with China – as well as enhance China’s multilateral engagement with the region through APEC.
As a party, therefore, the Australian Labor Party has always placed a strong priority on Australia’s relationship with China. It has a long history. We also believe it will have a long future.
Foreign Policy and the Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party’s approach to foreign policy is based on the three fundamental pillars:
- our membership of the United Nations;
- our alliance with the United States; and
- our policy of comprehensive engagement in Asia.
Australia, under a Labor Government, was an active participant in the San Francisco Conference in 1945 which shaped both the UN Charter and the UN Organisation. Since that time, successive Australian Labor Governments have attached great priority to the role of the UN multilateral system. This was a fundamental reason for the Australian Labor Party’s recent opposition to the decision by the United States to participate in the military invasion of Iraq.
The second pillar of the foreign policy of the Australian Labor Party is our alliance with the United States. As with our membership of the United Nations, our alliance with the United States was forged by the Australian Labor Government during World War II. In those days, Australia, like China, was at war with Japan. And it was the United States which came to our military assistance and helped prevent a Japanese invasion of Australia. For these and other continuing strategic reasons, Australia’s alliance with the United States continues to have strong support from the Australian people – despite recent disagreements between the alternative government of Australia and the Bush administration on the question of Iraq.
The third pillar of Australian Labor Party foreign policy is our policy of comprehensive engagement with Asia. We believe that Australia’s economic, political and strategic future is intimately tied up with the future of our own region. And it is for these reasons that successive Australian Labor Governments have sought to develop the best possible bilateral political relationships with regional countries, as well as developing multilateral regional relationships through APEC, aimed at regional trade liberalisation, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which is aimed at creating a regional security dialogue across the disparate countries of the region. For Australia, China is at the core of our policy of comprehensive regional engagement.
China and Multilateralism
Australia has a fundamental interest in working closely with China in the evolution of the multilateral, rules-based order – in relation to global security, the global economic and, of course, the global environment.
China is seeking to play a more active role in international affairs. From our perspective, this is a welcome development.
We particularly welcome China’s engagement with the United States in the War against Terrorism aimed at eliminating al Qaeda, Jeemah Islamiah and other associated terrorist organisations. Terrorism knows no geographical boundaries. Together with China, we also face a common challenge in eliminating international sources of terrorist financing – in particular the resurgence of the opium crop in Afghanistan, which the United Nations estimates is worth US$2.6 billion per year.
An Australian Labor Government would also look forward to working with China in the United Nations – particularly in the reform of the Security Council and the international community’s response to the Expert Panel established by the United Nations Secretary General which will report to next year’s General Assembly.
Australia and China also have an interest in working together in the World Trade Organisation, as both our countries and economies are the beneficiaries of a liberalised multilateral trading system. China’s prosperity and Australia’s prosperity depend fundamentally on global trade liberalisation. If the world were to break up into protectionist blocs or retreat into national protectionist regimes, the economic and strategic consequences for us all would be disastrous.
Australia and China also share an interest in the revitalisation of APEC in order to accelerate regional trade liberalisation and facilitation here in the most dynamic economic region in the world.
China and the region
Here within the region, China should be commended for the constructive role it has played in hosting the Six Party Talks on North Korea. This is a complex and difficult diplomatic exercise. And while no resolution is immediately in sight, the fact that negotiations are occurring is far better than the alternative.
The continued normalisation of China’s relationship with Japan is also important for the security and stability of the wider region.
Japan will continue to be the world’s second largest economy for the next decade and a half and the region’s largest economy.
The interdependencies between our three economies (Japan, China and Australia) are also an important factor for the future.
In this connection, good relationships between Beijing, Tokyo and Canberra are of the highest importance.
China is also playing an increasingly active role in South East Asia – both bilaterally and through the ASEAN Plus Three arrangement.
Australia has a close political and economic relationship with South East Asia which we would like to improve in the future. An incoming Australian Labor Government would look forward to the closest negotiations with our friends in North East Asia and South East Asia about the future shape of the region’s broader economic architecture.
Australia notes with satisfaction the recent normalisation of China’s relationship with India. We believe this is good for strategic stability. It is also good for the wider region’s prosperity given the role which India will play, together with China and Japan, in the long-term economic growth of the region.
A continuing danger to strategic stability in East Asia and the West Pacific is the current state of relations across the Taiwan Straits. As noted previously, Australia and most regional states are committed to the principle of the One China policy. That has not changed. And it will not change.
I have noted carefully China’s reaction to the recent “presidential elections” in Taiwan. Just as I have also noted carefully American reactions to those developments and the influence which the United States has brought to bear on Taiwan since the elections.
Australia does not believe that the interests of regional stability are served by any moves towards Taiwanese independence. We have also made this plain to the Taiwanese authorities.
At the same time we believe that restraint is required all-round so that the continued development of people-to-people links, cultural and economic links can assist over time in bringing a negotiated solution to this problem left over from history.
In this context, the upcoming Beijing Olympics in 2008 may present great opportunities for the Chinese Government.
The worst-case scenario for China, the United States and the Asia Pacific Region is for tensions across the Taiwan Straits to result in armed conflict.
Nobody within this region wants Taiwan to become the Sarajevo of the 21 st century.
If we are to learn from Europe’s failures from the last century, diplomatic solutions must be found for our own region. And to that end, we in Australia always stand ready to assist in whichever way the parties may deem to be appropriate.
China has recently dispatched a new ambassador to Australia – Ambassador Fu Ying – who in the three short months that she has been in our country has been active in her negotiations with state and federal governments on where to take our bilateral relationship during the 21 st century.
Ambassador Fu has outlined areas of potential, long-term cooperation between China and Australia. These include:
- The energy and resources sector where Australia is well endowed and where China has long-term unmet demand in order to satisfy its requirements for long-term economic growth;
- Agriculture and agricultural technologies where Australia remains a world leader and where China can benefit from Australia’s longstanding excellence;
- Science and technology, in particular biotechnology, where Australia’s biotechnology research centres are world leaders;
- Environmental management, where China’s needs are once again great and where Australia has particular expertise to bring to bear, particularly in terms of waste water treatment; and
- Education, where English language education, as well as education in business, economics and the full range of the sciences are all readily available. And all, more or less, within the same time zone as China. And considerably more affordable than that provided by the United States and the United Kingdom for Chinese students studying abroad. We already have 80,000 Chinese students studying in Australia.
I’d like to commend Ambassador Fu for her work in Australia in seeking to develop long-term government to government cooperative frameworks in each of these sectors.
For our part, as the alternative government of Australia, we would like to develop a 25-year long strategy in the energy and resources sector between our two countries.
Australia provided energy and resources security to Japan to underpin that country’s economic recovery and development during the 50s, 60s and 70s. We believe we can do the same again for China – for which the recent LNG project with Australia should be seen as a precursor.
Australia also looks forward to the conclusion of the bilateral scoping study being undertaken concerning a possible Free Trade Agreement between our two countries. Multilateral trade liberalisation through the WTO remains critical. As do further trade liberalisation and trade facilitation efforts through APEC. But we should also explore creatively what we can do to enhance our growing trade through this bilateral scoping study as well.
China’s development challenges
We fully recognise that China’s path to economic development may not be smooth.
We recognise the enormous challenges for those responsible for China’s economic management in generating growth in the economy each year in excess of 8 per cent in order to generate the employment opportunities necessary to provide jobs for the unemployed – and for those newly emerging into the labour market.
We also recognise the challenges China faces in terms of regional equity – a policy of opening up the country’s west so that it can catch up with the economic development which is already being achieved in the central and coastal provinces.
I’ve already referred to energy security in the context of the bilateral relationship with Australia. But plainly, long-term, secure external sources of energy supply from Central Asia, the Russian Federation, from offshore platforms as well as Australia, will be necessary in order to meet the future demands of the Chinese economy.
Sustainable development, environmental management and the proper management of water resources, in particular, present large challenges for China’s planners in the future.
As does the proper provision of social security in an age of profound demographic change arising from the One Child policy.
China, therefore, faces many opportunities – as well as many challenges.
Good friends of China, like Australia, would like to work with you on both the opportunities and the challenges.
Our interest in China is not just driven by export dollars. It is also driven by our deep desire to see China succeed overall.
Because China’s success is important not just for the Chinese people, its success is important for all of us.
More than six centuries ago, the famous Chinese navigator Xheng He explored much of the Asia Pacific region as well as the Indian Ocean.
During this period, China was the beneficiary of open economic engagement with the rest of the world.
The best periods in China’s history have been those where China has been open to the rest of the world – good for China, and good for the world.
The history of our current century is still being written.
We do not know how this Asian Century will turn out.
There is a script for prosperity and peace.
There is a script based on open markets.
And a script based on cooperative solutions to longstanding security problems.
There are alternative scripts as well – based on protectionism, armed conflict as well as a disregard for global, sustainable development.
As with all the large decisions in human history, the decisions lie with us.
Australia stands ready to work with China in constructing a peaceful, prosperous and environmentally sustainable Asia Pacific Century.
A strong, stable and secure partnership between Australia and China for the 21 st century will be good for China, good for Australia, good for the region and good for the world.”
“Let me say this, as I rock around the country, with a cup of tea and an Iced Vovo, I believe in calling a spade a spade.
You know something? My name’s Kevin, I’m from Queensland and I’m here to help with this government’s programmatic specificity, so fair shake of the sauce bottle. Now I’ve gotta zip.”
Bye bye big ego Kev!