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Myths and legends about Brother Number One

KEVIN Rudd has put Australia’s trading relationship with China ahead of concerns about human rights abuses in Tibet, reigniting free trade talks and launching a new climate change partnership after meeting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The Prime Minister said differences could not be allowed to stand in the way of the broad-based relationship with China on trade, security and climate change because Australia’s relationship with China was “not a zero sum game”.

“We have disagreements, on human rights generally and on Tibet most recently, but I have always had the view that the best way to prosecute our relationship with China is to be broad-based about it and not pretend problems do not exist when they do,” he said in Beijing after a 2 1/2-hour meeting with Mr Wen at the People’s Palace.

At the meeting, which included considerable discussion of Tibet, the two leaders effectively agreed to differ on the issue.

the Australian

Yesterday, after some prompting from Ray Dixon, I offered some praise to Brother Number One for raising the issue of Tibet and China’s woeful record on human rights. But having read the piece I quote above I can’t help but feel that Brother Number One was just going through the motions for the benefit of his own party and the true believers from the left who voted him into office.

Cheers comrades



  1. raydixon says:

    What would you have him do Iain, tell China “we won’t trade with you until you get the fck out of Tibet”? How critical would you have been of him then?

    Haven’t you ever heard of the tactic of stating your position clearly and then moving on to other business? That’s exactly what he did. Rudd could easily have taken the soft option and not mentioned Tibet at all (like so many other ‘world leaders’ have) and no one would have blamed him.

    That Australian article is clutching at straws with the wording of its opening sentence, like you are.

  2. raydixon says:

    BTW, I like the pic and I might use it at some stage if you don’t mind. It actually portrays him in a positive light – as a real leader of ordinary people, giving them hope & pride in their country, unlike his predecessor.

  3. Iain Hall says:

    You are welcome to use the picture Ray 🙂
    I do actually appreciate what you say about BN1 not really having any choice the sharpest of my criticism here is aimed squarely at those commentators who were giving the impression that BN1 would be making a real difference by speaking up.Sadly for Tibet it won’t make any difference.

  4. Mark L. says:

    Of course it won’t make any difference, but that’s not what you said at all, you said that Rudd was “just going through the motions for the benefit of his own party”.

    If this was a formal debate, Iain, then you’d be flogged because you’ve changed your position every time you’ve been challenged. First there was no praise for Rudd, then Ray challenged you so you begrudgingly threw some in, then you say he’s doing it to appease his party, and now you shift to arguing that it won’t make any difference. You’re giving us more flip-flops than the Pancake Parlour.

  5. raydixon says:

    And more twists & turns than a roller coaster. You’re taking us on a ride then Iain? I think you’d have been better off leaving this one alone … Kev’s been a winner and a grinner in China, especially over the coal issue. He’s used our position as China’s chief supplier quite well. Better than anyone before him too.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    Gentlemen why is it a change of position to on one hand praise the effort as i did yesterday, and then to consider that their may be ulterior motives like playing to a domestic audience as I do today?
    what I am basically saying is good effort but…

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    Well Iain, I just think you’re trying to put a negative spin on Rudd’s performance in China because that’s what you want to do. but I seriously doubt his motive was to “play to a domestic audience”, because he’s already won them over.

    Don’t you read the newspolls? Rudd PPM = 75%, Nelson = 9%.

    No, I don’t think he was worried about shoring up his home-town support!

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Ray such high ratings require a steady supply of feel good stories just like the one about Rudd’s pronouncements in Chinese while visiting China….

  9. raydixon says:

    So do you think he shouldn’t have said anything then Iain? He can’t win either way in your eyes. BTW, the ratings are as much a reflection of the Liberal party’s current ineptness. Why not focus on the real problem we have, a piss-weak opposition?

  10. Craigy says:

    Iain, would you now admit that Howard’s support for the failed US foreign policies under Bush were just playing to rightard war mongers (like your friends), in order to get re-elected?

    After all, our contribution to the war in Iraq was only a token one wasn’t it?

    If you attack Rudd for ‘going through the motions’ then I’m sure you would be happy to admit that Howard did the same, or risk being called the ‘H’ word again.

    I would also like to hear how you explain the support from the right for the protests against China, when protesters were previously described as coming from those who support oppression and communist regimes?

    The truth about progressive thought is not quite what you and your ideological friends try and make it out to be is it? Your ‘brother number one’ claim is making you look very out of touch at this point Iain.

    I do expect an angry response (or not one at all) to my comments Iain, see if you can surprise us!

  11. Mark L. says:

    Iain this article about Brendan Nelson in today’s Herald Sun reminds me of your blogging:

    Take his comments on Kevin Rudd’s visit to China. The Opposition Leader spent weeks implying that Rudd was too close to the Chinese.

    He and shadow foreign minister Andrew Robb challenged the Prime Minister to take a strong line on Tibet and human rights when he got to Beijing.

    Rudd must be as tough with the Chinese on Tibet as he has been with the Japanese over whaling, they thundered.

    Rudd, of course, did take up the issue, and not only in his private talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

    He also went public with his concerns about human rights abuses in Tibet in a speech delivered to students at Beijing University in their own language.

    And what did Nelson do?

    He criticised Rudd for going too far. Can you believe it?

  12. Mondo Rock says:

    Iain – boy this must be a confusing and frustrating time for you.

    You’ve put so much time and effort into painting Rudd as a communist and Chairman Mao equivalent – you clearly loved that YouTube clip – that it must grate enormously to now realise that few world leaders and NO Australian leaders have ever been as openly critical of China’s human rights record than Rudd.

    This isn’t subjective either so there’s little opportunity for you to change the goal posts and wriggle out of your comments (as per usual) – Rudd is quite evidently standing up to China in a way that no conservative Australian politician has ever done.

    It shows your hollow rhetoric about “Chairman Rudd” to be the utter guff that it always was.

  13. Iain Hall says:

    Welcome back Mondo and Craigy

    If you actually read what i have been saying about Rudd you will notice that I use the term “Brother Number One” with an Ironic intention precisely because he got into office by becoming for all intents and purposes an ersatz conservative. I continue to use it because I know that it gets up the nose of Rudd fans like your own good selves. It does not grate with me at all I do appreciate that it takes a certain amount of political courage to stand up to China but as they are very keen to buy our minerals and our LNG it is no surprise that Rudd feels able to do as he has done on this recent trip. Even so that does not mean that his political piety should be beyond speculation about what his expectations of a domestic pay off may be from his pronouncements may be in China. Because You can bet that his criticisms will get very little(if any) airtime in the Chinese Media.

  14. raydixon says:

    Of course they’ve got very little publicity in China, Iain, what would you expect? But Rudd’s criticisms have attracted world attention and have certainly placed more pressure on China. Even the IOC President has now joined in the “Rudd chorus” and has said the games are in crisis and China must clean its act up.

    It’s a pity the IOC didn’t say that 7 years ago before they prematurely awarded the games to Beijing but anyway the Chinese Govt is sure feeling the heat now and are squealing like stuck-pigs.

    The fact is Rudd’s skilled diplomacy has played no small part in putting China on the spot and even if it gives him a “domestic pay off”, so what? Doesn’t he deserve that?

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