When Kevin Rudd became the Prime Minister of Australia, there was high expectation of the fresh wind of changes would came along. Here was a man who seemed to have lofty ideals, integrity, wise, was a non lawyer ex-diplomat from humble background and speaks Chinese fluently. Everything seemed to have gone well with his Prime Minister career until this year, when he was ditched away by his colleagues.
I was one of those people who was hoping then that he would carry out genuine engagement with Asia and China in particular; adopting mutual respect, cooperation and peaceful-coexistent as the basis of Australia’s relationship with China or Asia. Many people in Chinese community that I came across are proud of the fact that they have a Prime Minister that could speak Chinese and has an adopted Chinese name (陆克文). He even has a HK Chinese as son in law.
It was dissapointing to find out that Rudd turned out to be a dud. While his Mandarin was certainly impressive, I was less than impressed with the way the relationship with China was handled. Whenever he appeared in China, he never failed to give unsolicited lectures to the Chinese, on wide range of topics as if China leaders are juveniles and need to be taught lessons on how to run their country by Rudd, their great White saviour. His antics were outright rude and imperious in China, but somehow I believe the Chinese did not want to rock the boat to say the least.
Recent Wiki-leak revelation of Rudd hawkish remark to Mrs Clinton (another China hawk) regarding China where he urged the used of force against China, just confirms my suspicion of his megalomaniac tendency and two-face nature. Despite the clean boy image being projected, he is known to be foul-mouthed and difficult to get along with. Thus it was no wonder that even his Labour party colleagues revolted and replaced him with Julia Gillard as the Prime Minister. I am one of those who did not shed a tear for him when he was forced to step down by the vote of no confidence. As for future China-Australia relation in the immediate future, I see little prospect for improvement. Anyway, expect explosive events happening in the Korean peninsula to have even bigger influence on this relationship.