China (non) Crisis

Or should it be China UnSyndrome?

We have been having some discussions around MP’s having trips to China and Israel, and what those trips are meant to achieve.

So let’s bring all that discussion into this thread and leave the other threads to their proper topic.


81 Responses

  1. Well of course MPs travel.

    Just like protesters protest.

    Why should we expect them to have to explain themselves?

    What do all you lefties expect them to do? Not travel…?



  2. Thanks to another blog for pointing out the number of times our Prime minister mentioned “Australia” in this interview with Jim Lehrer on America’s PBS network last week – four times. Number of times he mentioned China or Chinese – 19 times.

    This amounts to our Prime Minister, while representing us overseas, lobbying for China’s interests. Not privately, through discreet diplomatic channels, either, but in a publicly broadcast TV interview.

    A Chinese diplomat couldn’t have done a better job. Yes, I would say this is a problem, if not a crisis..

  3. I suspect that this an issue to be concerned about how we should be afraid, very afraid about China, their rise and that Rudd is ‘too close’ to China.


    Kevin Rudd’s language skills are impressive, but is our Mandarin speaking Prime Minister just a little too close.

    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: As it happens, Ms Liu also met John Howard. And there are also plenty of Opposition politicians who’ve received gifts of free travel from various people. All of them, we assume, have declared that travel.

    And lots more…

  4. I like chinese food.

  5. Tony, on March 31st, 2009 at 2:18 pm Said:

    Yes, he did mention China a lot, although, most of the questions were directed at China, and their role in this.

    He also mention America a lot, perhaps we should be worried about that?

    Get a grip

  6. As long as he doesn’t mention New Zealand.

    Then I’d really begin to get worried.

  7. I just like Chinese – in fact I sleep with one every night.

  8. A Chinese diplomat couldn’t have done a better job. Yes, I would say this is a problem, if not a crisis..

    Did you read that link you posted Tony? EVERY mention Mr Rudd made of China was in response to a direct question from the host about China – You really need to stop taking so much notice of Bolt & start thinking for yourself 🙄

  9. “in fact I sleep with one every night.”

    The same one, or a new one each time?


  10. And so joni and reb. You two would’s nice to be close to Chinese 🙂

  11. had to happen.

  12. Min, on March 31st, 2009 at 2:46 pm Said: had to happen.

    If its good enough for Monty, its good enough for me 🙂

  13. Outstanding analysis of the Lehrer interview, there Tony. You must have been da bomb on clear thinking exercises at school

    Have you considered that the reason he mentioned China 19 times just might -I say might -have been that it was a response to specific questions put to him by the Interviewer?

    If (just by way of example) I get asked a number of questions about say, Tom of Melbourne, dontcha think it would be appropriate for me to refer to him in my answers? I mean, Its gonna be a bit odd if I start talking about reb, or nasking or joni instead isn’t it?

    Give it a go yourself.

    Ask yourself a series of questions about-oh, lets say- Tahiti, and see if you can avoid mentioning the place in your answer.

    Furthermore, since when has mentioning a place or person made anyone some kinda spokesperson for it or them?

    I used to mention John Howard quite frequently in blog posts, but no-one here could possibly accuse me of being some kind of Howard apologist. I hated his guts.

    Yet on your logic, of course, I’d be a Howard Hugger.

  14. Did you read that link you posted Tony?

    Yes. Take this Rudd quote for example:

    Now China is a player in the G20, and therefore, when we look at one of the decisions we are going to have to make soon, which is the reform of the International Monetary Fund, China will be expected to step up to the plate and put more resources into the fund. But China right now, its voting rights within that fund are the equivalent of Belgium and the Netherlands.

    Well, I think you’ve got to change that so that China has a bigger place at the table, rightly, but also the world can then draw upon the resources which China puts responsibly into an international financial institution. That’s one example of how this G20 group can help frame an outcome for the future of the International Monetary Fund, which also brings China into helping with the solution.

    and this one:

    I think the challenge is this, and for our friends in America to do the same, work with us in integrating China into the institutions of global governance, on the political side, on the security side, also on the economic side, through, for example the G20, and also integrate them front and centre on the great challenge of climate change as well.

    If you engender that sort of environment, then you enable China to do as head of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick, once said, for China to play the role of a responsible global stakeholder. Now if China were to turn its back on that or not be responsible, the world would soon know.

    But I think the smart course of action for us all is to involve them. They’re not perfect. They’ve done some bad things in the past. But let’s look at the opportunities rather than simply assume it’s all threat and all risk.

    A Prime Minister of China could not have promoted his country’s interests any better.

  15. Tony

    As the prime minister is talking about including China in the institutions of global governence what word do you think he should use instead of China ?

    As China is bailing out capitalist countries around the world with massive loans and investment why do you find this disturbing. GW Bush didn’t seem to mind he borrowed from them just like the current president is as well.

  16. Now shane, you know a well-mannered Tory never uses the “C” word.

    It’s impolite.

  17. Shane, please read my last comment. It is obvious to any serious reader that Mr Rudd is promoting China’s interests. That is not the appropriate role for an Australian Prime Minister abroad. Coincidentally, before he left, he held a meeting at the Lodge with China’s Propaganda Minister. (It was, unusually, a meeting of which he failed to notify the Australian media).

  18. A Prime Minister of China probably would suggest that they have other avenues, like setting up a rival to the IMF, would consider creating a ‘currency basket’ to offset $US dollar hegemony that others might like to join outside of existing frameworks, and can develop bilateral trade agreements to circumvent most hitherto multilateralisms – economic, military, and political – and probably has shaken that stick recently. I’m not sure that kind of pro-Chinese diplomacy was evident anywhere in Rudd’s rhetoric, though: he seemed to spend most of his time talking ‘realpolitik’ and what Rudd seems to think might be a sensible and practicable approach to ‘risks’ and ‘challenges’ and ‘integrations’.

  19. Have we now replaced “Unions. Boo!” with “China. Boo!”?

  20. No, Tony, it really isn’t evident that he’s doing anything other than promoting Australian interests (and if you want to get technical, Rudd’s ‘Chinese’ was honed in Ally-friendly Taiwan, and being a ‘diplomat’ in Beijing does not necessarily maketh a man a Chinese stooge, and more often than not means he’s there for the very opposite reason).

  21. I think the Tories still have the Domino Theory rattling around somewhere in the old Top Paddock.

    They’ve never gotten-over those Vietnam War ear diagrams of giant Red arrows coming south. It’s seared into their collective id and has given ’em nightmares for years.

    According to them, it’s all well and good to sell China coal, iron, bauxite and the rest, not to mention buying their cheap palsma TVs and computers, but you just can’t be pals with ’em.

    Above all, you can’t give them a say in the IMF or World Bank commensurate with their size and economic strength. You’ve gotta make sure that pissant little countries like Belguim and Holland have as much say in such bodies as China does, even though its the Chinese (not the Belgians or Dutch) we put our hands out-to to fund the deficits we run.

    The poor dears really believe that if we give ’em a say, the next thing we’ll have Red Guards marching down Pitt Street, clutching their little red books. God knows what they’ll do to our wives and daughters.

    I’m afraid theres really nothing one can say to people who hold such views.

    They’re stuck in the Cold War and always will be.

  22. Have we now replaced “Unions. Boo!” with “China. Boo!”?

    We might as well, Joni. As much a side-splitter as it was, I think the “Unions. Boo!” joke has finally worn out its ‘hilarity’.

  23. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer had a sensible and interesting take on this on Lateline last night. Unfortunately the transcript is not yet available – the video is well worth a look though for those who have the time & bandwidth…

  24. Re:

    joni, on March 31st, 2009 at 3:37 pm Said:
    Have we now replaced “Unions. Boo!” with “China. Boo!”?

    Love it when someone expresses things in such a precise manner.

  25. Tony, on March 31st, 2009 at 3:46 pm Said:

    Have we now replaced “Unions. Boo!” with “China. Boo!”?

    We might as well, Joni. As much a side-splitter as it was, I think the “Unions. Boo!” joke has finally worn out its ‘hilarity’.

    So does that mean that we can now call you TonyM??

  26. I think that the PM considers that there is an impemding shift in global power from the US to China and sees an advantage in positioning Australia for that. And perhaps there is some sense in that strategy. That said, I’m not certain that the PM ought be doing this by stealth, as suggested by the hushed up meeting with the Chinese Propaganda Minister last week. There is simply no way to spin that one favourably for the government. If the PM is looking to alter our strategic alliances, and change our friends, I’d like to know about it. China is not a nation that shares our social values. Further, I’ve been pretty cautious on the Fitzgibbon thing, but if what I hear is true that he attended a function to celebrate the birthday of Chairman Mao, I find that utterly abhorrent.

  27. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has defended his advocacy of China but skirted around queries about the secrecy surrounding recent meetings with two senior Chinese government members….He ignored a question about the secrecy of a meeting he held with the Chinese government’s chief propaganda minister Li Changchung in Canberra last Sunday week and another last year with their security chief, both of which were publicised in China but not in Australia.

  28. James of North Melbourne, on March 31st, 2009 at 4:39 pm Said:

    hushed up meeting with the Chinese Propaganda Minister last week.

    hushed up ? Lol. It was all over the Chinese MSM and available for the ‘world’ to view. Just because the Australian MSM was alerted by a press release does not equate with a ‘hush’ attempt. Did any journos claim they were ‘hushed up’? As for:

    looking to alter our strategic alliances, and change our friends

    change our friends? How childish. It’s in Australia’s interests to be friends with the great powers and this should not be equated with choosing best ‘friends’. It’s not the school playground. That was Howard’s simplistic view of the world.

  29. NOT alterted

  30. As james points out, there’s a Global ecomomic tectonic-shift taking place, and it seems to have unsettled out Tory friends.

    This is nothing new. I remember the shift that accompanied the demise of Britain as a world power.

    I also recall the angst of the (then anglophile) Australian Tories at what was happening. One of them was a well-known former PM, fond of wrirting mushy love poetry about the Queen. The poor bastard couldn’t live with it once the poms pulled-out east of Suez and went-off to don a cocked-hat, knee breaches and buckled shoes to become Warden of The Cinque Ports (or some such) in Merrie Olde England. British to the boot-straps, to the last.

    Today’s Tories are in a similar funk now that their idol, the USA, is on the ropes and beginning its own long, slow decline, They thrash around, looking for something -anything- to confirm the old certitudes.

    Well, sorry fellas, but you can’t go from being the world’s largest creditor to its largest debtor in a generation, without wearing the consequences. The latest Wall Street-created crisis has merely accelerated the inevitable. Perhaps now you’ll agree that all that dosh spent on missiles, aircraft-carriers and foreign wars in all 4 corners of the globe over the last 30-odd years was money wasted, as we Lefties said at the time Perhaps you won’t, I don’t give a toss either way.

    All I can say is: If you can’t cope with reality, take a leaf out of old Bob Menzies’ book and don the Gilbert & Sullivan gear.

    It will change nothing, but you might feel a lot better about yourselves if you can prance around dressed-up like First Lord of the Admiralty, Jackie Fisher, and sing about The Queen’s Naveeeee.

  31. Does commenter Evan know that there is not now nor has there ever been in Australia any organisation known either officially or unofficially as ‘Tories’.

  32. Is that so, Tony?

    It may have escaped your notice, but we lefties have been referring to our opponents as Tories since ther days of Billy Hughes.

    As for ‘official” and ‘unofficial’ notice, you’ll find such references in just about every volume of Hansard.

    Now you may call yourselves the United Australia Party, the Liberal Party or the Liberal National Party, but to us you will always be The Tories.

  33. As for ‘official” and ‘unofficial’ notice, you’ll find such references in just about every volume of Hansard.

    Yes, if you’re referring to Hansard for the Parliament of The united Kingdom. As for the Parliament of Australia? I don’t think so (although I await with bated breath your evidence to the contrary).

  34. Aw c’mon Tony, don’t be bashful.

    After all, your side’s idol (upon a time) was Margaret Thatcher, the Greatest Tory of them all. (Of course, she was later replaced by Geroge W Bush, but I don’t go around calling your side The Idiots as a result, do I?. No sir, I got some respect.)

    Ya gotta learn to own-up to your ideology, old son. I do.

    I’m a proud socialist.

    And, again with respect, Tory is a word that has been associated with Conservative politics in this Country for as long as I can remember. That takes us back to the pre-Gough Stone Age.

    Tell ya what, I’ll start calling them something else if people here are getting confused by my use of terminology.

    So hands-up everyone around here who has never heard the Libs referred to as The Tories before.

  35. I’m a proud socialist.

    Well that’s a shock.

  36. Yairs, perfectly awful, isn’t it?

  37. Does commenter Evan know that there is not now nor has there ever been in Australia any organisation known either officially or unofficially as ‘Tories’.

    By pip they do…get referred to as tories all the time!

    In fact, I even get a mental picture when I think of the tories here and it is ‘teh evil tory’, nick minchin. I just googled nick minchin – tory and 777 hits came up, referring to him and his tory party miscreants, below is an example.

    The Watermelon Blog
    20 Dec 2006 … “a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party.” … Peter Costello, Nick Minchin, Eric Abetz, Christopher Pyne, Tony Abbott and all the other … – 59k – Cached – Similar pages.

  38. I think I just got spaminated!

    Can’t understand why, not a swear word in sight, only mentioned teh evil tory, nick minchin!

  39. I just googled nick minchin – tory and 777 hits came up

    Gee. I just googled kevin rudd – tory and got 46,800 hits. This is fun.

    (BTW, the page you linked mentions “tory” in a small sidebar quote, while the names you mention are in an entirely separate article.)

  40. In fact, I even get a mental picture when I think of the tories here and it is ‘teh evil tory’, nick minchin.

    Wait. I see what’s happening here. You’ve got a ‘thing’ for guys who look like this.


  41. Tony

    That is not very pleasant of you… I did not even open your last link to know that it would have caused me to bring up my breakfast.

    Just an aside – I once stayed in the hotel in Maastricht where Major and Curry first made naughty. I spent the whole night hoping that I was not in the same bed.

  42. @Tony:
    Mate, I’ve been hearing the Liberals called “Tories” ever since I started being properly interested in politics (around 6 years ago). Hell, I had to look up the meaning of “Tory” to find out what people were going on about.

    I think you are being somewhat disingenuous to imply you haven’t heard the term in this context before.

  43. A quick search on google for “liberal tories” in Australia brings these this article at the TOP of the list.

    Tories gamble Churchillian legacy on race card (2005): here

    Note the fact this term (and it’s meaning) has been hence in use for at least the last four years.

  44. Just in case you dismiss the article before reading it all, the relevant line is (with my emphasis):

    he Liberal Party, Australia’s Tory equivalent, has in recent years made an art form of the whispered word “race”.

    Amusingly enough, it talks about how John Howard’s use of race to win a campaign left us without a moral compass and is starting to be used elsewhere. The implication being, Aussie Liberals played dirtier than the “real Tories” did before 2005.

  45. Come on Ben. That article by Paul Keating, according to its footnote, “first appeared in The Guardian“, a British paper, and was about the UK Conservative Party. This paragraph should have given you a clue:

    Britain is a great state because it has always had solid values and has been prepared to fight for them. How wrong it is for Michael Howard’s Conservative Party to tread the slippery and sleazy track of race to ingratiate themselves with that proportion of the electorate always susceptible to this malignant appeal.

    He described the Liberals in that way because it was a comparison his British audience would understand.

  46. Tony

    I think the use of Tory to indicate the Australian coalition is fair.

  47. “We have been having some discussions around MP’s having trips to China and Israel, and what those trips are meant to achieve.”

    Not only politicians, journalists too it seems (read the comments):


  48. Tory is often used as a disparaging term for UK Conservatives.

    Here, it is used less often as the term ‘conservative’ is disparaging enough.

  49. Tory is often used as a disparaging term for UK Conservatives.

    Exactly, Tom. And that’s why self-professed “proud socialists” like Evan are campaigning – unsuccessfully to date – to have the name accepted into the mainstream here.

    If the name sticks, then, through guilt by association, the Australian conservative parties are labelled with any notorious deeds for which the British Conservatives might have been responsible (and one or two spring immediately to mind).

  50. Wait. I see what’s happening here. You’ve got a ‘thing’ for guys who look like this.

    Ugh, my stomach lurched at the faces of evil and now I feel sick.

    Amusingly enough, it talks about how John Howard’s use of race to win a campaign left us without a moral compass and is starting to be used elsewhere. The implication being, Aussie Liberals played dirtier than the “real Tories” did before 2005.

    Well, the brits did import Howard’s favourite hate and wedge meister, Lynton Crosby to get things riled up over there in 2005, they came unstuck though because the British public called it for what it was, ugly racism.

    The dark figure behind the Tory election campaign, Meet Lynton Crosby:

    Crosby made his name as the election guru for Australia’s hard-right Prime Minister, John Howard. He masterminded four relentlessly negative, often bigoted, election campaigns that brought the Liberal leader to victory – and he is carefully crafting a British version as you read this.

    Crosby deliberately imported the language of the US-style “culture wars” into Australian politics. We know this drill from decades of Richard Littlejohn tantrums: rants about “the tyranny of political correctness”, presenting the white majority as “bullied” and “afraid”, implying there was a sinister “multicultural” elite who secretly “hate” their own country, and so endlessly on. Michael Howard was yesterday following the script first tested in Australia almost to the word.

    And Crosby is prepared to go even further. In the 2001 election, John Howard was lagging in the polls and facing defeat at the hands of the Labour Party – so his government chose a crowd-pleasing policy of abusing refugees.

    I read that Crosby is over there again and is involved in a splintering off of the conservative party and vote, a new ‘jury party’ or something – if you want nasty, hate filled politics, just look for the Aussie, Lynton Crosby, the tories here have him as there campaign manager.

  51. Tory: A supporter of traditional political and social institutions against the forces of democratization or reform; a political conservative

  52. Does that mean the Chinese Commies are Tories, on that definition, Joni?

  53. I think that the reason Kevin Rudd was so successful at the last election was his rejection of the nasty, hate filled, campaigning that the Liberals use. People got so tired of the negativity and the depressing desire of one party to divide and wedge on bigotry. I know I did.

    Ruddy was like a little ray of sunshine after a decade of filth.

  54. Joni, the full definition from your link:

    1. a. A member of a British political party, founded in 1689, that was the opposition party to the Whigs and has been known as the Conservative Party since about 1832.

    b. A member of a Conservative Party, as in Canada.

    2. An American who, during the period of the American Revolution, favored the British side. Also called Loyalist.

    3. often tory A supporter of traditional political and social institutions against the forces of democratization or reform; a political conservative.

    Interestingly, Britain, America and Canada are mentioned, but not Australia. I’ll bet you can’t come up with an official definition anywhere which mentions Australia.

  55. “Ruddy was like a little ray of sunshine after a decade of filth”

    Ain’t that the truth KL…

    Lest we forget…

  56. Wait Tony – yes the first two mention those three countries and the third doesn’t.

    So you are saying that because the third does not mention Australia that it is not applicable?

    Funny – I thought each point in the definition was defined using the logic operand “OR”.

    Why is an official definition required? The term Tory in an Australian context is valid and is understood.

  57. “Ruddy was like a little ray of sunshine after a decade of filth”

    True kl…during the latter part of the Howard years everything felt like it needed a spring clean:

    It had that “worst toilet in the city” feeling:


  58. The Tory

    So on, down throughout the ages, that old Tory person rages.
    Note the cry, in all its stages, heard in every latitude.
    Though the primal type has gone, hear the same old mastodon
    Rave, and snort, and trumped on the same old Tory platitude.

  59. Legion, on April 1st, 2009 at 10:54

    hehe, love it.

  60. I enjoyed that so much legion, I have to add the last two stanza’s.

    “Stop the Socialistic fraud! Private Enterprise! Good Lord!
    (Let the good news not get abroad.) It’s BLASPHEMY!! IMPIETY!!
    It seeks my ‘sacred rights’ to wrest; land, gold — all that’s best.
    Arrest it! It is menacing respectable society!”

    Same old tough polygamist; same old fat monopolist;
    Greedy eye and grasping fist, air of sunny propriety.
    Mastodon or merchant robber; feudal lord or Crown-lands jobber —
    It’s the same old Tory slobber, same old whine about “society”.

    “C.J. Dennis”
    The Bulletin, 1 February 1906, p39

  61. Well, one thing is obvious, Tory’s certainly like to change a subject when it appears their intial subject (you know, China = Boo!) starts coming unravelled.

    And that is coming from someone who is often labelled a ‘latte lefty’ (guilt by association I guess) 😕

  62. Too true Kitty. Might have been mentioned, but Rudd’s approval rating according to Nielson is 74% just a smidgey bit short of old Hawkies. But as pointed out (sorry no link) Hawke’s approval rating was during an upturn in the economy whereas Rudd’s is during an economic crisis.

    Someone from Crikey is reading the blog (Min looks sideways..hmmm), their Video of the Day is my little effort from yesterday arvo I Like Chinese 🙂

  63. Where’s tony gone?… Still googling?

  64. This “China=boo!” stuff is looking a lot like plagiarism.

    As one of the principal supporters of the “unions=boo” movement, I’m quite unhappy with this.

  65. ohoh

    copy = boo

  66. “I enjoyed that so much legion”

    et moi. Good one Legion.


  67. Back, KL.

  68. Nature 5, if you’re going to contextualise my use of the term “friends” in the schoolyard manner, I’d love to hear what your reaction is to the PM’s behaviour re seating arrangements in Great Britain etc..

    My point is this. Do we as Australians want China to become a superpower? Or more to the point, do we want them to become the only superpower? Never mind whether we consider it inevitable, and many would, is this in our interests? Being besties with the US has served us very well over the last 50 odd years and I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to claim that it has been our relationship with the US that has saved us from and protected us from potential predators from our north, including but not limited to Japan, China and perhaps even Malaysia and Indonesia. Of course it would be far better if there were no superpowers at all, or at least no need for them, but if you compare the US with other superpowers the world over over the last few centuries: England, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Nazi Germany, Japan, or even compare them with their rivals over the last 50 years USSR, China, various disjointed Islamists (as distinct from everyday, peace loving Muslims), I would contend that they (the US) have been far more benevolent than any of the alternatives, even if you accept as truth the many foreign policy charges against them. Not close to perfect by any stretch, but a long way closer to it than the alternatives, for various reasons.

    I would venture that those who have protested long and loud about US Foreign Policy in relation to things like Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Australia’s guilt in these matters by association, ought to be tearing down parliamentary buildings in their rage at our PM walking the international stage promoting the interests of China.

  69. I would further contend that those who would criticise Conroy’s venture down the Internet censorship path, if indeed that is the path he is treading, would be equally horrified by the PM’s flagrant promotion of China’s international interests, even if it were less clandestine.

  70. James of North Melbourne says: “My point is this. Do we as Australians want China to become a superpower?”

    Well, James, there are pros and cons to everything and no doubt we could all shoot the breeze, as it were, for one side or t’other of the equation.

    My point is this: Do we as Australians have any goddamn say in the matter?

    I mean, they’re gonna be a superpower (or not, as the case may be) whether we like it or not and whether we agree with it or not.

    This is not one of those matters where we’re gonna get a say. At best, we’re along for the ride, just as we were with the changing fortunes of Britain, Japan and the USA.

    We might as well argue about the weather.

    I think it should rain tomorrow and that that’ll be a good thing, how about you?

  71. Evan, forgive me if I am wrong but I am guessing that you were one of the many screaming the house down about the “Rodent’s” seemingly permanent residence some kilometres up George Dubbya’s rectum? Are you serious when you write that we don’t have a say? Whilst I didn’t share the majority view of John Howard’s foreign policy I acknowledge that the “having a say”, at least in part, led to Howard’s downfall at the last election, insofar as Iraq was concerned, and yes, there were other issues. Are you seriously saying we ought stay silent on foreign policy because there’s nothing we can do about it?

  72. “I would venture that those who have protested long and loud about US Foreign Policy in relation to things like Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Australia’s guilt in these matters by association, ought to be tearing down parliamentary buildings in their rage at our PM walking the international stage promoting the interests of China.”

    I found this link rather amusing:

    How things change eh?

  73. James re:

    Do we as Australians want China to become a superpower?

    Precisely as per Evan, Do we have a choice? Perhaps we could become insular as per the EU and try to pretend that umpteen squillion people don’t exist.

  74. I’m not talking of the Chinese people, I’m talking about their government, and in their case they are entirely different things. But the resignation so far speaks volumes.

  75. Indeed, apparently even John Howard felt he was being REALISTIC about dealing w/ this emerging superpower…and when talking to China Correspondent, John Taylor in June 2006 he seems to imply that more exposure to we Democratic countries will be a positive influence on the not so Democratic China…and that his part as PM of Australia is to create a congenial atmosphere (hands around the table?) that maketh a positive atmosphere for good deal making :

    John Howard: I don’t determine price, all I do as best I can as Prime Minister is to create a congenial environment where the goodwill and the assurance of government support and understanding enables people to make deals that suit both of them.


    JOHN TAYLOR: You’ve stressed how good relations are at the moment between Australia and China by focussing on the things that the countries have in common and the mutual benefit that both countries can derive from acting cooperatively.

    But do you believe, though, that the ruling Communist Party is doing enough to promote political reform in this country, so that the Chinese people can enjoy the same freedoms and rights that Australian people do?

    JOHN HOWARD: I have never disguised my belief that China is an authoritarian country. China is not a democracy, China differs from Australia in relation to all of those things, and I don’t pretend otherwise.

    As a realist and somebody who has my own country’s interests right at the top of my priorities, nothing is served by delivering endless lectures to other countries, particularly countries that are friendly to Australia that have different political systems.

    JOHN TAYLOR: Do you think, though, that we’re having any impact upon China’s political system?

    JOHN HOWARD: I think to the extent that economic growth proceeds in China, to the extent that China becomes more and more involved in the process of globalisation, to the extent that China is more and more exposed to the democratic world, over time that does have an influence.

    more here:

    Seems to me that Kevin Rudd seems to be doing similar…goodwill ambassador & such. Trying to have a good influence on China…using Democratic methods of diplomacy to bring all hands around the table.

    Perhaps some of the past deal-makers are not happy?

    Tho, it’s important our intelligence people keep on the ball. That really goes w/out saying. Wouldn’t want another episode of HUNT FOR THE NON_EXISTANT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.


  76. Hey Nasking, you appear to miss the point, although you probably don’t really. The Chinese Govt are bastards. Bigger bastards by a long way than the Bush Govt. Our PM is running around promoting their interests on the world stage, trying to get them more influence. What I am getting from your response is that it’s ok if it’s Rudd and China, but not ok if it’s Howard and the US. Is that right?

  77. “The Chinese Govt are bastards.”

    Yes, they have their moments. I can recall sending a Shadow Minister or two some articles regarding issues I was concerned about. I’m no apologist for the misdeeds of certain Chinese influential types who demonstrate little respect for human rights & little interest in compensating families who have had their homes mashed by ambitious developers.

    And hopefully Kevin Rudd has voiced such concerns over the years.

    “Bigger bastards by a long way than the Bush Govt. ”

    Well, hopefully that will be partially determined in a court of law.

    I noticed this in The Australian today, not a site I go to often:

    “Mr Hawke said that, comparing the China of 1978 to the China of today, “it is an immeasurably much more different society, much more liberal, people have more freedom”.

    “Obviously there are things that need to be improved but I thing it is inevitable that the regime’s move to freer society will continue in the years ahead,” he said. ”

    I’ve been told this by a stock broker mate of mine too. In some ways I think the Coalition are on a loser w/ this CHINA ALERT.

    As I’ve made clear in the past, I’m probably more concerned about internet restrictions and Human/Animal right’s abuses than many of those who voted for Howard and do business in China. Or travel there for opportunities…or have long distance partners/pen friends there.

    I see a great deal of political opportunism & bastadry & foolishness in some of the Coalition’s approach to this issue of our governments relationship w/ the Chinese. And plenty of wide brush strokes that are duplicitious, hiding political motives & business interests.

    If Kevin Rudd’s diplomatic skills & language abilities, combined w/ generally harmonious & environmentally responsible trade & commerce between our countries can ease some of the restrictions and suffering in China, then I’m all for it.

    Isolationist & xenophobic policies tend to do the opposite. Get people’s backs up. Personally, not into HOT WARS caused by sh*t stirrers & profiteers.

    Our engagement w/ Americans, no matter how distasteful we found their Bushevik government to be, helped alert their citizenry to some of the socio-economic & privatised military-focused problematics & potential soltions…

    Furthermore, I don’t see Kevin Rudd joining the Chinese leaders in a back slapping yeehaa war like that pre-meditated FIASCO in Iraq.

    As for the Afghanistan campaign…that’s another story.


  78. Nasking – “w/ generally harmonious & environmentally responsible trade & commerce”

    What does this pap mean? Which trade segment is notably “environmentally responsible”?

    The entire comment is pompous drivel. An undergraduate reading a thesaurus.

  79. Kevin Rudd’s recent wobbles over China suggest he is a poorly-advised man more driven by ego than judgement.

    It is not so much what the Prime MInister is trying to achieve that is wrong but the way he goes about it. And the fact that the end point of his circus of the bizarre process is the PM falling flat on his face in public.

    Anyone with a reasonable understanding of Australia’s history, culture and people knows that the current questions about China are sensitive. Very sensitive. And that this is as important economic and political issue as there is for our country and its future. A crucial issue that requires diplomatic handling, gentle public persuasion, a softly-softly approach.

    But Mr Rudd apparently presumed to know better. He has big-noted his Chinese connections, publicly offered to help deliver Beijing’s trade agenda as PM of Australia while apparently asking for nothing in return, then followed up with a hush-hush Canberra meeting with a not-so-nice Beijing propoganda merchant.

    When the utterly predictable faecal matter hits the fan, the Prime Minister swings to the other extreme. Seemingly bewildered, he tries to duck. Suddenly and very publicly he asks not to be seated next to the Chinese Ambassador to Britain during a BBC television interview. Poor woman was treated like she’d farted.

    Such wild swings and roundabouts from someone with a diplomatic background. What will the Beijing cadres make of all this unbalanced posturing? It’s an episode that has hardly enhanced his professional reputation or improved the image of the people and country and commercial interests he is elected to represent.

    Try linking up the dots on this one. It’s hard to escape the fact that our Prime Minister is a man lacks the ability to think in a linear fashion. A reactionary.

    That said, this kind of problem is not necessarily unique to our leader. Britain’s Blair was also wishy-washy, melodramatic and prone to knee jerk reaction. But Blair had the good sense to bring into office with him hard-headed, professional advisors like Campbell and Mandelson, argumentative back room boys who covered his personal weaknesses by providing fearless advice. They told their boss straight when he was wrong and nearly always ensured glitches were ironed out in the back rooms, not in public.

    Mr Rudd, on the other hand, chose two 20-somethings from Queensland to act as his principle advisors. Episodes like the China debacle suggest these boys don’t have the life experience or communication skills or effective influence over the boss to do the jobs they are paid to do.

    The primary role of Prime Ministerial advisors is to prevent the boss falling flat on his face in public. Clearly the Queensland boys are failing to meet this crucial KPI. They are demonstrably failing their boss and failing to protect the national interest.

    Inspired Foreign Affairs and Trade outcomes were the prime achievement of the previous Labor Government. Hawke, Keating and Evans built APEC and built sustainable prosperity for all Australians by doubling exports as a share of Australia’s GDP. Hawke, Keating and Evans did this with a professional long-term strategy and the ability to persuade all sorts of countries that Australia was a reliable partner that could deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

    I admit that I had high hopes that the Kevin Rudd, with his diplomatic background, might continue this proud ALP tradition of building a leadership role for Australia in the Asia Pacific and wider world. Today I feel sad. I know was wrong.

    I am now left wondering if Gareth Evans might be available to take over the management of the PM and his office?

  80. Xenophobia has been replaced by Sinophobia.

    Is there any evidence that Rudd is so close to China, or even doing China’s bidding as John Howard did with the US? Tell me what is Rudd doing at China’s request?

    Just as many Libs have enjoyed sponsored trips to China as those on the Labor side of politics.

  81. Didn’t Rudd take the Chinese government to task about their human rights record shortly after taking office?

    I seem to remember a level of hysteria from the usual MSM suspects about the damage it could do to Sino-Australian relations.

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