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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 12:47 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 12:47 | SYDNEY

Rudd's big idea: Still not clear if he's fair dinkum

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7 October 2008 16:22

As someone who has been cautiously supportive of Prime Minister Rudd's Asia Pacific Community initiative but who is increasingly concerned about what looks like a lack of political and diplomatic momentum behind the idea, I'm inclined to grasp at any piece of vaguely encouraging news. But even as an enthusiast, this defence of the Rudd Government's (in)activity seems like pretty weak tea.

I can just buy Professor Andrew MacIntyre's argument that a lack of regional opposition to Rudd's idea is itself good news. And on the assumption that MacIntyre has good contacts in the government and the region, I'm prepared to take his word for it when he says that 'informal indications are encouraging'. But that's about the only evidence offered, and it is not really strong enough to overturn claims that Rudd's initiative is 'dead in the water'.

That's not to say Barry Desker was right when he made that claim — it's just too early to tell, and the proposal may take several years to mature. But to put to rest any suspicion that Rudd's announcement was merely intended for a quick headline, it might help for the PM or his Foreign Minister to revisit the proposal in a substantive way.

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