Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Griffith Australia Day Awards

Do you know a local hero?

Over the past 13 years, I’ve honoured more than 350 local volunteers by hosting the annual Griffith Australia Day Awards – it’s my way of saying thank you to those who have made a real difference to our Southside community.

Due to the overwhelming interest for the 2013 Awards, I’ve decided to extend the deadline to Friday, 9 November.

If you know anyone who deserves to be recognised, you can nominate them here

CHINA’S CONTINUING STRATEGIC INTERESTS - The World as seen from the Politburo and How the West Should Respond

The preservation of peace in the Asian hemisphere for the first half of the 21st Century will be a difficult challenge for us all.
The preservation of a principled peace (that is one based on the current international rules-based order) will be an even more difficult challenge.
Peace at any price can also readily be purchased.
But, if it is to be a peace based on the values which are central to our national and international purposes then there is a higher price to pay.
These are the values entrenched in the UN Charter two-thirds of a century ago.
That is why avoiding war between China and the United States, and building a durable peace founded on a regional rules-based order, must be the central task of Australian foreign and security policy for the decade ahead.
Of course, the question which arises then is about what constitutes the most appropriate foreign and security policy mix to bring about these objectives.
And it’s often at this point that the debate degenerates from mix to mush.

Thursday, 25 October 2012



China-US Relations (2012-2017) under President Xi, Obama or Romney

Lecture hosted by the University of Oxford China Centre
University of Oxford
24 October 2012

The history of China’s engagement with the West has often been one of mutual non-comprehension.

I was reminded of this again when reading a recent biography of Matteo Ricci, the 16th century Italian Jesuit and his various unsuccessful attempts to engage the Chinese imperial court.

Matteo Ricci is probably regarded as the patron saint (albeit secular rather than divine) of those of us who claim to be sinologists.

A student of Chinese language, literature, philosophy, science and religion, Ricci was a formidable scholar.

He mastered the written and spoken language when there were no dictionaries or grammatical texts to rely on. So he wrote them.

He translated the four books of Confucianism into Latin; he wrote treatises on Chinese and classical Western concepts of friendship; treatises on the art of memory; treatises on 25 imagined discourses between Chinese Confucians and Greek Stoics; treatises on geometry, mathematics and astronomy; and just for good measure, to demonstrate that he was truly a son of the renaissance, he also wrote “Eight Songs for the Western Harpsichord Dedicated to the Son of Heaven”.

And if that was not sufficient for this 16th century polymath from the Society of Jesus, he was also a formidable cartographer and maker of clocks – which he routinely presented to local provincial and central officials of the Celestial Kingdom.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Design the KRudd Griffith Campaign TShirt

As you probably know – I am pretty dedicated to good fashion.

But when it comes to campaign election t-shirts, they can be a little… boring.

So it is over to you. If you can come up with a better design – I’ll use it.

The rules are simple: the t-shirt has to say “Kevin Rudd”, the shirt will be white, and I get to pick the winner.

If you have a design – email it to - get them in by 9 November 2012.

There’s no prize – apart from my never-ending appreciation and the satisfaction that there will be 100’s of people wearing your design. (more detail available here )

Looking forward to seeing what the creative people of Griffith (and across Australia) have to offer.

Kevin Rudd

T-Shirt Campaign Terms and Conditions
We’re trying to find a fun way to create a fun t-shirt – don’t take it too seriously.

Submissions will only be accepted if sent to

The t-shirt has to contain the name “Kevin Rudd” and designed to be printed on one side of a white t-shirt.

Offensive and defamatory submissions will be deleted – so don’t bother.

By submitting an entry you provide us with the right to share the image on social media and other platforms

By submitting an entry you hold the intellectual property rights and consent to its reproduction in any manner – sharing is caring.

Please note no prize or payment is available to the winner – just KRudd’s eternal gratitude.

Entries close at 5:00 PM AEDST on Friday, 9 November 2012.

The winning entry will be selected personally by @KRuddMP

Friday, 19 October 2012

United Nations Security Council

Mr Rudd congratulates the entire Australian diplomatic service who performed with total professionalism in securing a great result for Australia in a highly competitive race. Mr Rudd said it was a credit to the country. 

Mr Rudd also congratulates the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs for their strong and successful advocacy for Australia.

Finally, Mr Rudd wanted to thank all those members of the international community who have placed their confidence in Australia to uphold the global rules-based order.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Transcript: Lateline Interview

Broadcast: 17/10/2012

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Now to our guest, former prime minister, sinophile and diplomat Kevin Rudd, a close watcher of the upcoming leadership transition in China and what that means for Australia.

He also kick-started the campaign for Australia to win a seat on the UN Security Council, which will come to a head with the UN vote in just over 24 hours.

To discuss these matters as well as uranium sales to India he joined us but naturally enough the politics of invective was also on the agenda.

Kevin Rudd joined me a short time ago.

Kevin Rudd thanks for joining us.

KEVIN RUDD, FMR PRIME MINISTER: Good to be on the program.

TONY JONES: Now, we'll get to China and other issues shortly.

First you've been sceptical in the past about selling uranium to India, have you changed your opinion now that it looks like it's actually going to happen?

KEVIN RUDD: Well what I said at the last ALP national conference is that I supported the Prime Minister's decision. That remains my position. Of course the conditionalities attached to that are quite formidable as the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister would be aware and that is to ensure that our bilateral safeguards agreement with India that all those conditions are met, including India's compliance with the requirements of what's called the nuclear suppliers group.

These are stringent and they must be gone through and we must reach agreement as we have with each and every other country to whom we supply uranium.

TONY JONES: You still think it's possible it simply won't happen?

KEVIN RUDD: It depends entirely on the negotiations. I would assume given that India has long stated it wants to have Australia as a long-term source of supply, that they will want to clear the way through these negotiations.

But these are quite dense and technical and intrusive negotiations for a country which has guarded its nuclear independence quite closely for so long. So let's wait and see but India has been quite strong in its statements certainly to me in the past as both prime minister and foreign minister about its desire to have Australia as a long-term source of supply. So let's assume we'll get through these negotiations.

TONY JONES: Let's go to the other regional powerhouse China and behind closed doors the Chinese leadership in a once in 10 year transition is being decided. We'll know the result fairly soon, although it's obviously predetermined. What will the new leadership be like? What will change if anything?

KEVIN RUDD: This is a really important question. There's two big political transitions about to occur, one in the United States with the election on the sixth of November, the return of president Obama or the election of governor Romney.

But secondly on the eighth of November, the 18th party congress of the Chinese Communist Party convenes and by convention they will be in office for 10 years, this new team. My argument is what happens between China and the United States for the next four to five years will actually shape much of the contours for the next ... for the rest of the half century.

On the new team in China, Xi Jinping is I believe on the side of the economic reformers. He's a person very comfortable in his own skin. He's confident, I believe, of his family's military and political background and I believe will be a strong leader in his own right.

As for the other likely composition of the standing committee of the Politbureau: if they bring the size down from nine to seven and the names being kicked around including Chung as premier Shung who is currently senior vice premier and others, I believe, you will have a centre of gravity in this new leadership which will be reformist and that I believe is a leadership which the United States can deal with.

TONY JONES: What about control of the military and that is you could be seen to be done through being the chairman of the military commission, how quickly will that transition take place?

KEVIN RUDD: That's a really key question. In the Chinese system they don't have what we would call a National Security Council which brings together the army, the foreign policy establishment and the intelligence agencies around a single National Security Council with a national security adviser. It's separated out which creates problems for the rest of us in dealing with the Chinese on security policy questions.

So their apex of the system is the central military commission which is a party body only. In the past when we had a transition 10 years ago between Ming and the current president Hu Jintao, there was a two year delay as Ming stayed on as chairman of the military commission until Hu Jintao eventually replaced him.

The open question in China is will there be a similar arrangement with this transition from Hu Jintao to ShiXing Ping. We don't know. The key thing though is will the Chinese move to a better central coordination of their national security policy because often we find out there in China's international and regional behaviour that you see different signals from the foreign policy establishment to what you may see on the surface of the South China Sea in terms of units of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.

TONY JONES: It's been a brutal process behind the scenes and one of the contenders for the leadership, Bo Xilai, has been expelled from the party over a scandal, most likely go to jail and obviously the question is whether this was a factional issue. Do you have any idea of what was going on behind the scene there?

KEVIN RUDD: As someone who has been looking at Politbureau politics for the last 25 years or so, that's what I was trained to do back in the distant days of university and the Australian diplomatic service, we all have our theories. I think we can overstate the importance of this one.

Chinese domestic politics within the framework of what is a Marxist-Leninist party is always opaque to the outside. And I think if you look back over the last 20 years there have been a few big bumps in the road. The events of '89, prior to that the purging of Bung. 

Now other Politbureau members who have fallen by the wayside for one corruption scandal or another. I don't think we should overestimate the significance of this in terms of the likely nature of the transition.

The question is will this leadership, this I believe likely to be seven member standing committee the Politbureau which will be China's cabinet for the purposes of our discussions here in Australia, will it further implement economic reforms to carve out a greater space for the private sector in China's economy in order to sustain economic growth? 

I believe they will because the current growth model is expiring, they've already indicated they've got to move to a new one. They've got to implement that course of action. That is key for the future of our economy. The politics of China were to go wrong on that the implications for us would be profound.

TONY JONES: The fate of Australia's Security Council bid will also be known by late this week. Now you put this process into place as prime minister, will you consider it part of the Rudd legacy if Australia is brought into the Security Council?

KEVIN RUDD: You know, with due respect, Tony, I think that question is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is whether Australia actually succeeds because our national interests are at stake. This was the right thing to do because it had been, it will be 27 years since Australia served on a Security Council.

We've been on the council four times before, in the '40s, the '50s, the '70s, the '80s and now a gap of 27 years and most people are just scratching their heads around the world as to why this is the case.

There are big issues at stake on the Security Council. It's more active now than it's been at any time in its history, multiple sanctions regimes, we're engaged in I think 15 global peacekeeping operations, 13 political operations, 120,000 peacekeepers around the world. Quite apart from our own immediate interests, which is the drawdown of our troop presence in Afghanistan which affects the UN Security Council resolution over the 13, 14 period we'd be on, as well as the future of the East Timor resolution, not to mention things like election scheduled in Fiji in 2014 as well.

TONY JONES: Let's move on to domestic politics. We've had some very bitter, personal political debate in the Federal Parliament in recent weeks, what do you think the public has made of this?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, I think the Australian people would much rather our nation came together than was constantly pulling itself apart. There is a great, I think, yearning in the country, and I travel around as much as any other member of parliament, for us to craft a common vision for the country's future and if we can't have a common vision for the country's future at least a policy based division on what that future might be.

What's our future on how to diversify the economy post a mining boom? What's our vision and what are our policies on the future of education, will it be better or worse under Mr Abbott? Better or worse for our hospitals under Mr Abbott? Better or worse for our infrastructure under Mr Abbott? Better or worse for our foreign policy with our engagement with the world where Mr Abbott says the modern world was invented in English?

I think that's the debate people would like. It's unrealistic in a two-party system for us to have a perfectly common vision so if we can't, a policy based debate on the alternatives for Australia's future.

TONY JONES: Lindsay Tanner's had quite a lot to say about this recently; he refers to it as the Punch and Judy show of Australian politics. The politics of personal attack has created a plague, he believes, on both their houses, do you think that's what voters are thinking?

KEVIN RUDD: I think if you were to take a bit of a sweep over time there's been something of a kabuki play going on which is, Lindsay's Punch and Judy analogy is about right as well. There's a certain terrible familiarity between whack, whack, whack and whack. Of course it takes two to Tango in this. 

You, our good friends in the media, are happy to emphasise that dimension to it, current program, of course, honourably excluded. I believe the appetite of the country is for God's sake I want to know what the future of our economy is going to be, how do we sustain growth beyond the mining boom, how do we diversify in the economy and the key questions which affect people's everyday lives.

That's the discussion the nation wants.

TONY JONES: How do you think the gender wars have been playing with the public?

KEVIN RUDD: Well, I believe that the Australian public, and the Queensland public are as one. They are more deeply concerned about the bread and butter, back to basics issues that confront families which is will I have a job? We've had a tick up in unemployment though the overall strength of the Australian economy is robust against any international measure.

I believe there's a big debate given State Government cutbacks in Queensland, which have been huge, more than 4,000 people in the health system, as to whether our hospitals are going to be better managed and funded under conservative governments than Labor. For those reasons these are what I describe as the back to basics concerns which I believe are around the dinner table each night. There are debates to be had about people's attitudes to questions of gender but I believe they are part of a much broader mix of more basic questions which families in Australia are concerned about.

TONY JONES: You were in parliament when Julia Gillard made her now quite famous misogyny speech. Did you regard it, as many do, as a watershed for women in Australia and everywhere else?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe the watershed in Australia has been the passage of legislation which makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of gender. That's where the watersheds lie.

TONY JONES: You know what I'm talking about. Many women describe this as a speech they will never forget. Some say they punched their fists in the air when they heard it. This is the sort of thing that women had been saying under their breaths for many years. And they regarded this as a very important speech. How did you regard it?

KEVIN RUDD: I think the response by women, as you've just described it, is entirely understandable given, given what many women in this country, including my wife Therese, have experienced in terms of the reverse end of discrimination over a long period of time. For goodness sake, we've still got clubs in Queensland which only admit males. I mean it just defies my imagination.

And I think the subtle forms of discrimination against women have existed for a long time in our country. But the great thing about Labor Government reforms is that we've turned these things around fundamentally.

When we look at the alternatives and the policies put forward by Mr Abbott, they are, in my view, regressive. Remember this is the man who said when it came to universal paid maternity leave that it would be over his dead body that we'd ever have such a provision in Australia. A bloke who on an attitudinal basis said that women were biologically or psychologically non predisposed to positions of authority.

TONY JONES: So do you buy the argument that he's a misogynist?

KEVIN RUDD: I believe his attitudes and policies belong to a different century, possibly not even the 20th century, maybe the 19th century. I don't believe they form part of a future modern Australia. But I go back to my earlier point about the nature of the political debate in Australia today.

What people are hungering for is a policy-based debate. What is the shape and content of our policy on universal paid parental leave, a reform which we put through in the period that I was prime minister, against what he offers as an alternative. Given he said, not that many years ago, that it would be over his dead body that we had anything like that. I think a very antique view of the role of women in our society.

TONY JONES: I'm going to have to bring you to how we got to this point with a hung parliament and in political terms the Prime Minister's speech was all about stopping a vote to remove Peter Slipper from the speakership. Now I know he's an old friend of yours but was it actually a fundamental misjudgement to put him in the speakership in the first place?

KEVIN RUDD: The political discussions around that were matters for the Prime Minister and other senior ministers at the time. I'm not privy to those. I understand the nature of the hung parliament, it's very, very difficult. I'm also entirely familiar with the fragility of human nature on all sides of politics in Canberra. I think before people start throwing too many stones at glasshouses people should be just generally mindful of the frailty of human beings in that place.

TONY JONES: Published accounts of the night of Peter Slipper's resignation feature your own role in counselling him through what must have been for him a very emotional and difficult night. Did you draw, as it has been written, on your own experiences of being dumped as a prime minister?

KEVIN RUDD: You know something, Tony, I'm not going to get into the business of personal conversations with individuals who are in a state of duress, I'm just not. What I do know, however, is that someone who has a bit of compassion about them, having seen people in extreme situations in the past in Canberra and some situations which have ended tragically, I wasn't about to stand around sitting on my hands while there were people going through a very, very extreme time.

I don't particularly care what side of politics they're from. There's a point you reach in this business where you see someone as a human being and if that human being's fundamental well being is at stake then I think you as a person of compassion, or any person as a person of compassion would act. If you don't I think it says something about our humanity.

TONY JONES: The Liberal MP Mal Washer was there and he said you were terrific and that you explained that for you being dumped as prime minister was like entering a long, dark tunnel, is that correct?

KEVIN RUDD: As I said, I'm not going to ...

TONY JONES: But is it correct, whether you said that to him or not?

KEVIN RUDD: Nice attempt to get it out of me again but I'm not going to talk about private conversations with any individual in a state of duress. Mal can say what he likes. Mal's a medical doctor, well respected on both sides of the parliament. Very sad that he's leaving the parliament because he's a resident medico for anyone with any complaints. 

I'm not going to go into any of that. My resilience in coming through political events, I'm bright eyed and bushy-tailed, contesting the next election. I'm pretty happy with the world mate.

TONY JONES: The personal attacks on you at the time of your leadership challenge earlier this year were almost unprecedented in Australian political history. For a Labor Party to dump upon a former prime minister in the way that they did no one had ever seen anything like that before, how can you simply turn the other cheek?

KEVIN RUDD: Politics is a rough business. The key question is this, do you wallow about these things or do you get on with not just your life but get on with what you think is important? And for me what's important is getting out there and fighting the good fight. I mean I was out there today with Darryl Mellum the member for Banks sitting on a margin of 1.4 per cent in a community which I believe is going to be best represented by an Australian Labor Government.

I was out a week or so ago in the seat of Macquarie, a seat we need to win to form a majority next time around. You can focus on frankly fighting the good fight for the things I've believed in for the last 30 years or you can go into a corner and start wallowing. I am not made of that stuff. If I was I think I would have crumpled up and died a long time ago.

TONY JONES: But what I'm saying here is we were talking earlier about the nature of Australian politics, what it's come to, how Lindsay Tanner described it and look, I'll just go through a couple of these things. You were called chaotic, a dysfunctional decision maker, a person who put his own self interest ahead of the Labor movement, someone who does not hold Labor values, a populist, a manipulator, a false Messiah and by one intemperate backbencher a psychopath, can you simply shrug off this kind of thing.

KEVIN RUDD: You missed the bloke who called me a fraud by the way, that was on that list as well. It's a stunning character reference.

TONY JONES: But I'm saying is where did the Labor Party get to where senior people within it end up saying these kind of things of a former prime minister?

KEVIN RUDD: I think the challenge for all of us, whether it's in the Labor Party or beyond it, in the Liberal Party and the national political, let's call it establishment, is to actually lift ourselves above the ruck for a bit. I think the country expects it of us, I think they're deeply disappointed in all of us at the moment. What they're looking for is a clarity of purpose for the country's future. This ain't a bad country of ours called Australia, I've travelled around a bit and seen a few others.

But the people expect us to carve out a future vision and policies to get there for them, their families and those who come after them. This sort of stuff frankly doesn't really add up to a row of beans. And the sooner we get past, shall I say, the personal, deeply personal attacks on all sides of politics the better. The longer I'm in public life the more I know that everyone out there is frail, everyone has made mistakes. I've made mistake, it's just the nature of things. Dare I say it the ABC has made some mistakes in the past as well.

TONY JONES: I'm sure it has but in this case we're talking about your party and the senior colleagues who are still in place and I'll just compare it, if you like, to the Abbott/Gillard animosity which now appears to almost verge on personal hatred. Is this a failure of political leadership?

KEVIN RUDD: I think if you sit across the House of Representatives and you sit across from Mr Abbott, I understand how difficult that can be for dealing with a political leader for whom it is a very, very extreme sport. What worries me about Mr Abbott is that is his attitude. Mr Abbott sometimes exhibits to me the characteristics of someone who genuinely loves the smell of blood on the canvas, something I heard him say once, as a bloke who claims to have a boxing blue.

I get worried about people who just see politics as the game, as the piece of sport. It's not that. Politics is about power and it's about whether power is used for the many or the few. The first lines in the first speech I ever gave in the parliament, I meant it then and I mean it now. I think the country expects us to rise to that level and leadership is required of all of us. All of us.

Otherwise what I fear, not just in this country but other democracies, is that we slowly start to chip away at the credibility of the democratic process itself. That is dangerous and if I might draw an analogy with the discussion we had earlier about the rise of China, when you're going to have within the next decade the emergence for the first time of a country which will be the largest economy in the world, and for the first time in a couple of hundred years a non-Western, non-democratic state offering different models to the rest of the world, I think we've got a challenge here and abroad to make our democracies work to invigorate them with some basic civility and ideas and a debate about policies for the future which are not going to cause our citizens to collapse in despair. 

That's the challenge for all of us including yours truly.

TONY JONES: Final question, are they collapsing in despair at the moment?

KEVIN RUDD: You mean in Australia?


KEVIN RUDD: As I roll around the suburbs of my own electorate and schools and I've been to a lot recently and other parts of the country, there's a deep worry about which way we're going. I think there's a deep concern about the way in which Mr Abbott would take the place.

I think they want of all of us, myself included, a policy debate on the future. You often hear that said as if it's some sort of throwaway line from a politician, but in the midst of the bitterness of the political discussions that we've had internally for quite some time now and not just constrained to the internals of the Labor Party or Mr Abbott or the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, but more broadly. I worry about the people losing faith in our democracy all together.

So frankly, I think the season has come for us to lift ourselves above the ruck. We're 12 months out from an election, what are the competing visions? What are the competing policies? And I believe our side of politics offers the most compelling narrative for this country's future. We're the builders, they tear the place down.

TONY JONES: Kevin Rudd, we'll have to leave you there. We thank you very much for taking the time to come and talk to us tonight on Lateline.

KEVIN RUDD: Good to be with you.

Transcript courtesy of ABC Lateline

Friday, 12 October 2012

Opening of the West End State School teaching and technology building

Remarks at the opening of the new 3 level teaching and technology building

West End State School, Brisbane

Friday, 12 October 2012


Good morning boys and girls.

(Good morning Kevin Rudd)

“Good morning Kevin Rudd” – that’s good. I like that.

And to your teachers, your principal, to members of the P and C, members of the school council, the school community and to my good friend Helen Abrahams the local councillor and mums and dads and carers and everyone else here at this special day today.

What I want to talk to you about is dreams and visions, making plans and hard work to make it all happen.
Dreams and visions, making plans and hard work to make it all happen.

Any of you guys had some dreams before?


Most of us have dreams and many of them are good dreams.

And every now and then we think about something called a vision.

When you think about dreams and visions, it’s a bit like this, how do you imagine something could look like which isn’t there yet?

How do you imagine something could change which hasn’t changed yet?

How could you imagine that something like this could look like if it was to be built and how it would help the children of the school?

Of course dreams by themselves and visions don’t really add up to much unless you then make a plan to make it happen.

And that’s where the hard work of your P and C, your school council, your principal, all the teachers and student leaders comes in - they helped together with making a plan.

And then there’s the hard work of doing it – of building it – and that’s what our construction companies have done and all the workmen and workwomen who have put this building and the other things in this school together.

Dreams and visions.

Making plans .

And hard work.

We had a dream and a vision for Australia’s future education. And we still have that vision.

When I was elected as Prime Minister, I put it this way; we wanted Australia to be the best educated, best trained, best skilled people in the world- the best educated, best trained, best skilled people in the world.
Now that’s a pretty big vision, because there is a lot of people in the world and Australia is one of 193 countries in the world.

It’s a pretty big vision.

So if you’re going to make that vision work, what are you going to do about it?

You’ve got to make a plan.

And the plan is to make sure that we have the best place for you, the young people of Australia, to learn.

That we have the best teachers to teach you how to learn and what to learn and the best opportunities so that when you have gone through school you can do anything to further that education as well.

So what did we do about that? We decided that we would have something called an “Education Revolution”.

A revolution is just another word for a very big change.

So one of the things that we did was that we said that everywhere in Australia we should have for every child universal preschool education. In that past that didn’t exist in every state of Australia.

The other thing we said was our primary schools should be the best that we have ever had;
  • they should have 21st century libraries;
  • they should have the best classrooms available with interactive white-boards and the newest learning technologies;
  • and we should also have multipurpose facilities where school communities can get together for performances, music, dance and indoor sport;
  • and schools should have the best playing facilities.
And that our secondary schools should have first class libraries, first class science centres, first class language centres.

And our universities should have more places available, too.

And our TAFEs – these are places where you learn practical skills like how to fix cars, or how to design computers – should also be the best that are available.

So that was the vision, that was the plan, but the hard work was finding the money to make it work.
And what we have done through this Education Revolution is to invest tens of billions of dollars around Australia to make these sort of happen in all the primary schools of Australia.

We had another vision as well, and the other vision was this; when a very big disaster happened called the Global Financial Crisis, how did we make sure that we kept everybody in work. And that they kept their jobs?

And what we then did was try and bring those two visions together - an education revolution and keeping people in work.

And so when all the workman came here to build, for example, this building in average there would have been hundreds tradesman working on an individual building site over an extended period of time. Who might not otherwise have had work.

And so when all the workmen came here to build for example this building, on average there would have been hundreds of tradesmen working on an individual building site for an extended period of time who might not otherwise have had work.

So the result for that was that not only do we have buildings like this at schools like this across Australia, we also kept everyone in work.  And around the rest of the world, that didn’t happen and millions of people lost their jobs.

So that was our vision, that was our dream, that was our plan, and that was the hard work that we put in to make it work here on the ground.

Across Australia what has that meant?

We have built probably three to four thousand new state of the art libraries. We have built three to four thousand new multi-purpose facilities.

We have built about ten thousand new classrooms of one shape or another. There are now interactive white boards spread across so many classrooms in the country which never had them before.

These are important changes.

Here in our community in Brisbane Southside, we invested nearly one hundred million dollars, we have built 21 new libraries, we have built 17 new multi-purpose centres, and literally more than 100 new classrooms.

These are visions; these are dreams, which hard work makes happen.

But it also only works when good folk like your P & C, your principal, your teachers and your school council get together to make sure it happens on the ground.

So what we’ve done across the country is what we’ve also sought to do here in our local community and what’s the other level at which this happens too? Here in this school at West End.

You know this school first started back way back in 1875 and so it’s a very old school.

And each group of teachers that have come here have come here with one ambition.

To leave the school better than when they came.

And that’s what each generation has done.

And that’s what we have been doing as well.

So you now have this great classroom block, you have something as practical as new shade covers on the side of the classroom block that I saw as I came in this morning.

You have new sporting grounds as well.

But there’s one purpose in all this.

To make sure that you have a better school environment to learn in than you have before.

So that you have a better education than you would have had before. So that you have better opportunities in life than you had before and that you will help build our great country Australia.

Stronger than it was before.

That’s the dream, that’s the vision, that’s the plan and that’s the hard work. 

And I’m really pleased to be here to open this brand new building for you all this morning.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I place on record my sincere appreciation for Daryl Melham’s service as Chair of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party Caucus.

He has discharged the position with passion and integrity during difficult times in the Caucus’ history.

Daryl Melham has led Caucus since 2004: through two election campaigns; various leadership ballots; election to government in 2007 after nearly 12 years in opposition; a global financial crisis and a hung parliament.

As Prime Minister I valued his handling of a massive legislative agenda through the Caucus and its committees including the many pieces of legislation necessary to ensure that our response to the Global Financial Crisis was both timely and effective, the Fair Work Act and 85 pieces of legislation to remove discrimination against same sex couples.

Many of these were controversial in Caucus debate and Daryl’s Chairmanship of Caucus process was essential to the business of government.

Daryl Melham and I share a passion for fair treatment and reconciliation for our indigenous peoples. I take this opportunity to thank him for his work over many, many years towards this cause as well.

As a movement we are lucky that he will continue to serve the people of Banks and will contest the next election. The people of the electorate of Banks can be truly proud of the work he has done and continues to do in this place.

I issue this statement to place on record my sincere personal appreciation of his work for the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

Remarks to the Prime Ministers’ Corridor of Oaks Tree Planting Ceremony

KEVIN RUDD: Well thank you friends and all. Thank you Doug for those exceptionally warm remarks. To the Mayor, thank you for your friendly greeting this morning. To Doug himself, a friend over many, many years and we come from the same part of Scotland ... just joking. I often think when Doug speaks he needs the SBS interpreting but I understood every word of that. The local Federal Member, Louise Markus, Labor’s candidate Susan Templeman, to the former members Ross Free who I’ve known over a long period of time, Kerry Bartlett who I know as well, Alastair Webster.

Friends, ones and all, here in this beautiful part of Australia.

And I would begin by commenting on the First Australians, on whose land we meet, whose cultures we celebrate as the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

Many people in Australia and around the world thank me for the Apology. I am always a bit surprised by that. I’m just the guy who got up there and gave a speech. The people to whom we apologised are those who we should thank for receiving the Apology in the spirit in which it was extended.

I’d say to all of you who are gathered here today who, like myself, came as European settlers to these shores and in my case in chains, most of you respectable folk, I’m sure as free settlers to the Blue Mountains (inaudible) after that.

It is for me remarkable, that having done what we have done to Aboriginal Australians over a couple of centuries, this extraordinary people could stand up and accept an apology from those of us who frankly had ignored them for decades and centuries.

So frankly, I am moved by their humility, moved by their willingness to bind up the broken heart and their preparedness to shape something new out of this difficult covenant we have made here in Australia as a settled land.

So I thank you, for your presence with us today.

As I stand here in this beautiful part of Australia, I am just reminded of the wonderful country it is. This is a remarkable land; I’ve seen a few, this is remarkable. Thérèse, my wife and I and the kids, have holidayed up here many times before. It’s truly beautiful and you are blessed to call this your home.

I think the tradition you have shaped and formed here over many decades, now of honouring our leaders past, is a good tradition. It causes us to reflect in the hurly burly of day-to-day politics about what leadership is.

Leadership is a hard thing, it’s not easy, whether it’s leading a city, whether it’s being Premier of the State, Prime Minister of the nation, whether it’s President of the United States, President of the People’s Republic of China.

Leadership’s a difficult thing.

Anyone who says it’s not, is not being frank.

It’s difficult because you carry on your shoulders the expectations of the nation and daily you run headlong into the obstacles which make it difficult to take those expectations and turn them into the realties which change peoples’ lives.

***gap in audio***

As I reflect on those who are honoured on the Corridor of Oaks behind me, it is with a great deal of respect that I think of those who have occupied the position of Prime Minster before me.
I honour each of them. This is a challenging job. And if I think of those who gone before this time of ours, their challenges have been infinitely greater. Think of our founding fathers who shaped the Federation, a mention was made before of Sir Henry Parkes, who lies not long from here.  I doubt that Sir Henry would have been a member of the Australian Labor Party; I think the Labor Party was barely in formation by the time that Sir Henry shuffled off his mortal core. But when I think of the founders of our Federation, Parkes, Deakin, Barton, these were people of extraordinary vision who has to take these six contending, squabbling colonies and fashion out of them a nation. Convincing my mob of Queenslanders to come on board was nothing short of a remarkable. And as for the West Australians, that was a miracle. But they did. These were difficult things and leadership was necessary.
It’s often brushed aside in the telling of it, but if you read the history of the period, the struggles which they faced were formidable. I think of those like my Queensland forbearer, Andrew Fisher, who spoke English with the same lilting intonations as Senator Doug Cameron. We don’t have a voice recording of Andrew Fisher that I’m aware of but I’m told his brogue made Doug’s English appear to be BBC by similar standards.
DOUG CAMERON:  It’s my Aussie Accent.
KEVIN RUDD: Fisher becomes Prime Minister and he’s faced with the First World War within a month or so. What do you do? What do you do?  As he is a son of a coal miner and someone who worked in the pits in Scotland, as a twelve year old, knowing what it was like to see men and boys die in pits, now he is about to send them to trenches to die as well. Think of Andrew Fisher and the challenges of leading Australia through this extraordinary conflict on the other side of the world where we lost 60,000 of our own of the nearly half a million that we sent.
Think of Jim Scullin, who was Prime Minister, who became Prime Minister when the Greta Depression landed on our shores. A Labor reforming Prime Minister with talented people like Curtin in his cabinet saying we’re here as the people’s government to change the nation for the people of the nation and this avalanche of economic devastation arrives from around the world. Think of Jim Scullin, of Curtin, of Chifley, and the extraordinary challenges of the last World War when our very survival was at stake for a nation.
So for those of us who have come in the times since the last war, it’s been easier. Think of those who have gone before us because their challenges were great indeed.
For the future of our leadership I think it’s important also to reflect on the essential elements which make our nation. One of the difficult things about leadership is uniting a nation rather than dividing it.  The easiest thing to do in national political life is to divide us; to divide our country to divide our people. It’s an easy script, historically on grounds of race or even religion, sometimes in terms of class. But the task of leadership is to unite not to divide and that’s the more difficult road.
The task of leadership is to be positive not negative. The way forward not saying why that way doesn’t work. It’s very easy to tear down, it’s much harder to build up. Because the building takes time and people only see the house once its built, and sometimes those who have done the building have gone on to do other things. And so if we can’t in this country, if we can’t fashion a common vision for our nation’s future, we should, we should give it a good damn go. Because I think that’s what the people of Australia want. They want us to work together in the politics of our nation to shape a common vision, vision for where we want Australia to go in a highly uncertain 21st century.
If we can’t get there, because we do come from different political traditions, then let us at least have about us, a capacity for a policy discussion or a policy debate about where we differ in our vision for the country’s future and why. A discussion based not so much on values but partly on values, but certainly in terms of policy and where we would take the country differently. That, I believe, is the appetite of people in our country. Whether they are from the tip of Cape York or they are from the beautiful Blue Mountains or from the distant reaches of the Nullarbor, they all say the same thing wherever I go. They want us to shape the nation, build it, provide fresh opportunity, give expression to our two enduring values of freedom, that which Australians are passionate and a fair go, that which they are equally passionate. Freedom and a fair go it would sum up the Australian ethos it fits within those four or five words.
For Mr Mayor, Doug, others, I’m very pleased to look upon this plot.
It has a certain finality about it.
But as I look across this forest of oaks as the son of a couple of Queensland battlers, neither of my parents ever really went to high school. And as someone who owes his educational opportunities and what he’s been able to do in life to the work of earlier governments, most principally E.G Whitlam in enabling me to go to university , I am honoured to be among you today and I thank you.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Address to the Foreign Correspondents’ Association
Friday, 5 October 2012

The world now waits with some anticipation, as well as some intrepidation, for the outcome of two very different electoral processes.

The first on Tuesday 6 November in the United States.

The second, beginning on Thursday 8 November in the People’s Republic of China.

Let us assume for the purposes of our discussion here that President Obama is successful on 6 November.

And let us assume with even greater certainty that Xi Jinping will be elected General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party when the 18th Party Congress convenes on 8 November.

My argument today is that what happens in Sino-US relations during President Obama’s second Presidential term through to January 2017  and Xi Jinping’s first Presidential term (based on precedent he is likely to serve two such terms through until 2022) will very much determine the future peace, stability and prosperity of the Asian hemisphere through until mid-century.

For it is during Xi Jinping’s second term that China could well surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy.

And this will be the first time since George III that a non-Western democracy will become the world’s largest economy.

Both in reality and perception, this in turn will challenge many of the foreign policy and security policy assumptions that have underpinned the stability of this hemisphere since the Second World War.

Furthermore, given that the Chinese leadership articulate values of a different type to those which have characterised the post-war Western consensus, China as a permanent member of the UN Security council and as the dominant global economic power, will in turn influence a number of the assumptions that currently underpin the post-war global order.

In other words, what happens in Sino-US relations in the period ahead is important not just for the region but also for the world.

In approaching these historically significant geopolitical and geo-economic changes, our core challenges are as follows:
  • First to minimise and manage Sino-US tensions during this extended period of transition; 
  • Second to prevent conflict and war;  
  • Third, to carve our an agreed rules-based order that will enhance the strategic stability of the Asian hemisphere by providing a mechanism that will assist in the management of one and two above;  
  • Fourth, to engineer (or perhaps reengineer) Chinese, American and other regional strategic mindsets to enable us to build over time a regional order based on the principles of common security, rather than on the perceived inevitability of armed conflict; 
  • And fifth, to advance the common prosperity and collective environmental responsibilities of the region, to the benefit of all the peoples of the region, in a region of inclusive and sustainable growth.
Looked at from a different historical perspective, what we are now seeking to do in Asia is to avoid repeating the mistakes of Europe over the 300 hundred years between the Treaty of Westphalia and the Fall of Berlin.

Across the centuries of rampant European nationalism, most particularly the first half century concluding with the Second World War, the cost in lost lives and lost prosperity was unprecedented in human history.

Until finally the Europeans in the post-war period decided that there had been enough bloodshed.

And so the beast of European nationalism was finally tamed in the new institutions of Europe. 

Here is Asia, as I’ve often said before, we find ourselves in the midst of the competing cross-currents of history.

The new forces of economic globalisation drawing our countries, our economies and our peoples ever closer together.

While at the same time the ancient, almost primordial forces of political nationalism always seeking to tear our countries and our peoples apart.

At various times over the last half century, we have seen this on the Korean Peninsula.

Across the Taiwan Straits.
In the border clashes between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

As most recently, the many unresolved territorial disputes involving multiple regional states across the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan.

As I said last month  at the Singapore Global Dialogue, the challenge for our region is ultimately one of whether the globalists or the nationalists will prevail.

The political and economic stakes are very high indeed.

Which brings us back to the future we choose to construct for ourselves here in this our own region.

I have never believed there is anything determinist about the inevitability about the drift towards conflict and war – as some sort of later-day fulfilment of Huntington’s “Clash of Civilisations”.

No, it is for us, the women and men of this region, to choose what future we would build for ourselves.

And for this purpose, the mindsets we bring to this task are fundamentally important.

I have always belonged to a school of politics, both domestic and foreign, which believes that ideas matter.

And it is ideas that shape our conceptual framework (in other words our mindset) which in turn influences how we behave to one another.

In international relations theory, the strategic “realists” would argue that the natural, dismal state of humankind is one of anarchy interspersed with conflict and war;and that the only way of minimising these risks is through the elaborate construction of a balance of power.

By contrast, so-called liberal institutionalists would argue that the things that unite the various states of the world are far greater than those which divide us and therefore we can construct global institutional arrangements and agreements to maximise the positive and to minimise and manage the negative.

Personally I believe there is a perfectly rational synthesis which can be crafted between these two world views – one which is mindful of underpinning, strategic realities, power politics and balances with power; while at the same time constructing regional and global institutions which not only take the edge off the acute nature of strategic competition and rivalry, but in time build the level of mutual confidence and trust necessary to craft a different and significantly more cooperative future.

Australian foreign policy falls much within this frame – in what I have long called creative middle-power diplomacy.

I believe that as a significant power within our region, and a middle-power within the world, we have not only a voice but also ideas to bring to the international diplomatic table.

And none more so than how to secure a sustainable, long-term regional rules-based order which preserves our common peace and prosperity, while not compromising the values for which we have long stood.

And the kernel of this problem (or, as we should see it, this opportunity) is the development of Sino-US relations over the next half decade.

This will be a period of profound transition.

When the aggregate economic power of these two great countries will for the first time be of comparable magnitude.

This is indeed the time to craft what I have also called, not just an Asia-Pacific community but a wider Pax Pacifica to underpin our wider future.

The New Chinese Leadership

A core part of this equation is what the new Chinese leadership will want for its future relationship with the United States and the rest of the region.

First, the new leadership will seek to sustain the political pre-eminence of the Chinese Communist Party within the country.

This is no mean feat given the party’s endemic problems with institutional corruption which its own leadership continues loudly to criticise.

The Chinese Community Party is still a Leninist party - but no longer a Marxist-Leninist party.

Its ideological legitimacy depends not on national or global class struggle but on its ability to continue to support rising living standards as well as continuing to restore China’s international stature in the eyes of the world, as it once enjoyed in the past.

For the Party, therefore, both the economy and nationalism matter.

If these were seen to be significantly impinged or impaired by future developments, it would impact on the Party’s perceived legitimacy.

At the same time, democratic forces within China also now have greater space to operate then used to be the case. There is now a much more open debate about Chinese policy questions in the Chinese media.

Of course there are subjects that are still off limits which go to the heart of the Party’s internal political life.

But the public debate, both in the mainstream media, the social media and on the ground through popular protest activity over local decisions, is now a firm and probably fixed feature of Chinese national political life.

It is difficult to predict how much further the new leadership would be prepared to go on these questions – that is China’s long-term democratisation.

Historically it has always been safe to assume that China, under the Communist Party will not democratise.

The Party’s emphasis to date has been to improve what is called “internal party democracy”.
And with a mass political membership of 87 million, this is no mean feat in itself, particularly given the traumatic leadership transitions which occurred virtually every decade in China’s modern political history until we reached the 1990s.

My own instinct is that the new leadership will use its first term to both entrench and deepen China’s domestic economic reform agenda.

This is a gargantuan task in itself.

And that any formal steps towards more political reform are more likely to be deferred to Xi Jinping’s second term – assuming the economic reform program is properly implemented and the Chinese economy itself continues to perform.

The second priority of the new leadership, consistent with its predecessors will be to maintain the national political unity of the People’s Republic.

Any form of separatism remains inconceivable within domestic Chinese politics – be in Tibet, Xinjiang or Taiwan.

In Chinese political history, the heroes are those who unite the Chinese empire. The villains are those who allow it to fall apart, or else make it vulnerable to foreign invasion.

Repressing separatist movements in these three regions have long been defined as China’s core interests – “hexin liyi”.

More problematic has been more recent Chinese claims that various off-shore islands in the South China Sea and elsewhere (including their surrounding territorial seas) are also part of China’s core interests.

This claim is hotly contested by a range of regional powers and is the source of considerable regional instability at present.

Nonetheless, China’s military posture is in large part shaped by these “core interest” considerations concerning “the unity of the Motherland”.

China has had little, if any, history of significant external invasion of either neighbouring countries or beyond – including when the Chinese Empire was the undisputed superpower of Asia.

Nonetheless, China in recent times has exhibited an increasing interest in defending its own international sea lines of communication covering its energy supply routes across the Indian Ocean to The Gulf.

As well as extending the range of consular services that China is now required to provide to millions of Chinese nationals now living and working abroad, often in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, including most recently Libya.

Third, where I believe the new leadership is likely to most significantly depart from the previous leadership over the last decade is in the pace, intensity and direction of China’s domestic economic reform program.

It is true that the 12th 5 year plan delivered at the end of 2010 by China’s outgoing leadership represents a fundamental conceptual break with the past – substituting its old growth model of low wage, labour intensive manufacturing for export, to a new growth model based increasingly on rising domestic consumption, lower savings and investment and the rapid expansion of Chinese services industries.

But while China’s transformation to a new growth model has been officially proclaimed, it has not yet been effectively implemented.

That will fall squarely into the in-tray of the incoming Chinese leadership.

This brings into sharp focus the likely composition, character and policy predilections of the new Chinese leadership.

The core of the Chinese political leadership structure is the Standing Committee of the Politburo.

This nine member body is the closest China comes to a cabinet system of government.

Together with the Central Military Commission, it lies at the core of Chinese political power.

The State Council, chaired by the Premier (himself a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo), is a both a policy and administrative body that formally presides over China’s government (as opposed to its party and military) apparatus.

While significant in policy terms, it is the most junior of these three entities – although the Chinese would argue that the functions of all three are radically different.

At the apex of the Politburo Standing Committee will be Xi Jinping who will be elected General Secretary of China’s Communist Party, President of the country, as well as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (although there may be a two year delay in his transition to the latter at position, consistent with the transition that occurred between Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao) a decade ago.
I believe Xi Jinping to be experienced, confident and self-assured and because of his family’s political pedigree, comfortable with the mantle of political leadership.

He is the son of a former Politburo member Xi Zhongxun who’s political career mirrored that of Deng Xiaoping – with all the rises and falls from political favour that his generation endured under the increasingly erratic leadership of Mao Zedong.

Xi Zhongxun has a significant PLA background prior to 1949, and a significant role in the economic management and reform tasks that China faced post 1949 when Deng Xiaoping was either Vice Premier or Premier.

The point of all this is that I believe Xi Jinping is confident of both his military and economic reformist credentials, and this therefore places him in a good position to negotiate the complex internal shoals of high-level party politics.

In addition to this, Xi brings to the table vast experience of both municipal and provincial level administration across both China’s richer and poorer regions.

As for Xi’s views of the world, in his domestic roles he has had extensive engagement with foreign corporations given that his own administrative career has coincided with a period of China’s most intense program of domestic economic reform and global economic engagement.

Over the last five years since he was first elected to the Standing Committee, he has travelled extensively around the world (including Australia) and has spent extended periods of time in the United States as the guest of Vice-President Biden, and earlier as Biden’s host during the latter’s extensive tour of China.

By instinct Xi has an inquiring mind and is deeply interested in the world.

He is confident in the knowledge that he has accumulated, but equally clear about what he does not know – and that which he seeks to understand more completely.

I have long said that I believe Xi Jinping is a Chinese leader that the Americans can do business with – not just in shaping the long-term contours of Sino-US relations in a new, constructive strategic direction, but also in shaping the broad architecture of a new rules-based order for Asia. 

Leadership matters in the PRC and it matters very much who sits at the apex of the Chinese political structure.

Because the Chinese political structure is intensely hierarchical, the ultimate calls are made by the Standing Committee of the Politburo, and in that context final calls are often made by the President himself.

History may well prove me wrong – but given the formidable strategic and economic challenges that lie ahead, both for China itself, and China’s place in the region and the world, on balance I believe Xi Jinping to be the man for the times.

And what of the rest of the Standing Committee of the Politburo?

The current nine member body is most likely to be reduced to seven to make it more manageable.

Xi Jinping will be joined by Li Keqiang (current Executive Vice Premier) as Premier.

Also by Wang Qishan, currently Vice Premier and an important figure in China’s overall international engagement, including with the United States.

Other members of the Standing Committee are likely to be drawn from the likes of Zhang Dejiang (current Vice Premier and temporarily Chongqing Party Secretary replacing Bo Xilai), Li Yuanchao (Head of the Party Organisation Department), Zhang Gaoli (current Tianjin Party Secretary), Liu Yunshan (Head of the Propaganda Department).

The bottom line is this, if the Standing Committee is drawn from individuals such as these, its centre of policy gravity is likely to be significantly reformist in terms of the future direction of Chinese economic management.

These individuals are sufficiently experienced to know what must now be done with the Chinese economy in order to sustain high levels of economic growth, continued increases in living standards, the lifting of the remaining hundreds of millions of Chinese people still in poverty into a better life;, and providing sufficient jobs for the tens of millions of young, educated Chinese bursting onto the labour market each year.

As I said yesterday in an address in Brisbane, the new Chinese leadership may well embrace the following directions.
We are likely to see further market reforms of the Chinese economy.

I believe we’ll see reforms to China’s state-owned enterprises and the possible privatisation of some.

I believe we’ll see reforms to the Chinese financial services industry and a greater ability for Chinese private enterprises to have easier and more competitive access to finance, sustain and expand their operations.

I believe we’ll also see further reforms to Chinese currency markets which over time is likely to make Chinese imports more competitive in their domestic market.

None of this is to underestimate the formidable domestic policy changes that the new Chinese leadership will confront as they seek to implement this next phase of economic reform.

These include:
  • Long-term energy and resource security; 
  • The imposition of carbon controls to limit environmental and economic damage to China itself; 
  • Water scarcity;
  • Land management decisions giving rise to massive local protest activity;  
  • Inequality (between cities and the countryside and between coastal, inland and western provinces);
  • An increasingly open social media debate; the assault of materialism on traditional socialist values; and the rise of new religious forces and alternative belief structures; 
  • And, from Beijing’s perspective, an increasingly non-benign foreign policy environment in relation to many of China’s neighbours.
The challenge therefore for the new leadership will be to implement a further large-scale transformation of the Chinese economy and to manage the range of other policy and political pressures that will also dominate the domestic landscape over the next five years.

China-US relations

If President Obama wins the next election, he will also be well positioned to extend a hand of new strategic cooperation to China’s new political leadership.

Congress is unlikely to grant him an easy ride in terms of the passage of core elements of his domestic legislative reform program.

Foreign policy, therefore, presents itself as a likely domain for Presidential leadership over a second term.

Furthermore, his hand will be emboldened by the fact that he will not face the prospects of negotiating a further re-elect.

Also, the Obama Administration has laid down some fundamental pillars in its future engagement both with China in particular, and the Asian hemisphere in general.

At the military level the administration has executed its “rebalance” to Asia, underlined in black and white, and in the numbers of nuts and bolts on US naval vessels, for America’s long-term strategic engagement in Asia and the Pacific.

Diplomatically, the administration under the leadership of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been more active in the region than most of its predecessors; and has further entrenched its regional engagement in Asia by becoming a full member of the East Asia Summit.

Economically, the administration has backed the enhancement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to include other major economies in the region (including Japan) as well as prospectively leaving the door ajar for China as well.

Despite the inevitable diplomatic frictions arising from each of these measures, the overall strategic settings for US continued engagement in Asia have been put in place.

They have also been responded to positively by most (albeit not all) countries in the region.

So the question arises: what must be done next?

I argue that President Obama and President Xi need to outline a five year US-China Strategic Roadmap.

In the absence of such a strategic roadmap, there is always a danger of strategic drift.

Furthermore it provides central organising principles within both administrations, therefore forcing the various agencies within both administrations to agree to and implement a central strategic policy – with agreed rules of diplomatic engagement.

The Chinese often complain about US policy being inconsistent both within and between administrations.

The US often complains that the Chinese government does not always speak or act with the full engagement or compliance of the Chinese military.

A US-China Strategic Roadmap would assist in removing some of these uncertainties and ambiguities.

Further I would recommend five elements to such a roadmap for the future.
First, President Xi and President Obama need to meet regularly with all the key members of their respective staff.

These individuals need to become highly familiar with each other. At present they are not.

This should involve four to five sets of substantial engagements scheduled regularly throughout each calendar year.

Fortunately the G20, APEC, the UN General Assembly (and possibly the EAS) provide opportunities for regular engagement.

But these need to be substantive half or full day engagements around a long-term structured agenda – not just the protocol requirements of the day or, for that matter, the issue management of the day.

As these regular summits tend to occur in the second half of the year – there should also be agreement for a regular bilateral summit in each other’s capitals in the first half of the year.

Other international conferences could also be utilised, but a regular structure is necessary.

Second, both President Xi and President Obama need to have an undisputed “point person” to be the ultimate “go to” person on the relationship.

At the US end, this should mean the National Security Advisor or a senior official within the NSC who can speak comfortably across the administration, and with authority.

At this critical juncture of US-China relations, America needs the next Henry Kissinger for all the back channelling that is necessary, both behind and between official Presidential meetings.

Similarly China needs to appoint such a person as well.

The Chinese system does not have a NSC. It needs one.

In the absence of an NSC, it needs a senior official who can speak across the political, security and economic agenda with authority.

Trust between these two individuals on the US and China sides is critical.

Third, the US and China should embark on a realistic program to make the current global rules-based order work.

Increasingly it doesn’t.

We are all familiar with the impasse over Syria which is not likely to be resolved in the near term.

But in other critical blockages in the UN System (e.g. the Doha Round and climate change) both the US and China have an interest in demonstrating that the rules–based order can work – and deliver real results.

Furthermore, a new period of Sino-US strategic cooperation will also make the G20 work more effectively given the complex array of global financial and global macroeconomic challenges that lie before us.

As China becomes the world’s largest economy, a properly functioning G20 becomes even more important.

The deep regulatory problems in global financial markets have not yet been finally resolved.

Nor have the deep structural economic imbalances identified in Pittsburgh in September 2009 been dealt with.

Sino-US strategic economic cooperation is critical to avoiding a report of 2008/2009 and to the strategic undergirding of global economic recovery.

Fourth, a new US-China Strategic Roadmap should embrace the principles of how to build a new rules-based security order for East Asia.

I outlined the possible principles of such an order in recent address to the Asia Society in New York and again in late September at the Singapore Global Dialogue.

The latter in particular details a range of specific measures of how we can create a new Pax Pacifica which is neither a new Pax Americana by another name; nor a Pax Sinica.

This involves working and agreeing on the strategic and conceptual language of such a regional rules-based order – that is comprehensible in both countries and the rest of the region.

A Pax Pacifica also involves agreement on core principles inducing mutual acceptances of China’s peaceful rise; the continued strategic presence of the US and its alliances; agreement on the non-use of force dispute resolution mechanisms, and possibly the freezing of territorial claims.

Furthermore, a new Pax Pacifica could be given new operational focus through the agreement on a set of new confidence and security building measures, (agreed between the region’s Defence Ministers), and as a detailed in my Singapore remarks.

Finally, a new US-China Strategic Roadmap should seek to include both Japan and China in a new Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A genuine free trade area of Asia and the Pacific (as it would ideally become) would help harness all the positive forces of economic globalisation that have helped change much of the region for the better so far.

APEC has made extraordinary progress over the last 25 years.

We now need to go to the next stage with regional economic integration.


I have always been an optimist about the future of our region.

I have always been an optimist about China’s future.

As I have always been an optimist about Australia’s future in this region as well.

But to secure that future will require proactive political leadership from both Beijing and Washington and in the other principal capitals of the region as well.