Saturday, April 12, 2008

No longer lukewarm on Lu Kewen (Kevin Rudd)

Getting rid of the Howard government was an imperative, but that did not translate directly to an appreciation for Rudd and his team. Sure it impressive that Kev has a Chinese name, given they are our major trading partner, but not the real reason we love Kev now.

Quoting one of our feistiest, grumpy old commentators, Alan Ramsay:

“To publicly stand up to the Chinese, in their own capital, in their own language, on an issue so sensitive to the planet's last great totalitarian state - and, since May last year, Australia's biggest (in dollars) trading partner - is something no visiting head of government, of any kind, has ever done, let alone one from this country. To say it took courage and no little risk only parrots the obvious. What it took was leadership of the most dramatic kind.

“In recent years, we have been force-fed national leadership, wrapped in the flag, that gloried in sticking its head up the backside of Washington and its dependent satellite in the Middle East. To have an Australian prime minister behave as Rudd has done in Beijing is to think that maybe he is different after all and not just another political control freak with a brain as big as his smile. The bloke is worth watching.” Alan Ramsay

I adore Ramsay, his commentaries are crust and il tempered at times, but seem to reflect my own passage of perceptions. I’ve written before about that all important need for leadership; not the iron rod Howard or Bush variety, but leadership in ideas and a willingness to stand behind beliefs.

The opposition roundly attacked Rudd for his two week global jaunt, just weeks before a federal budget is due. Irrelevant really as the former diplomat is no great economic mind. Like a good leader he has set the parameters for the budget, which I suspect includes working closely with Treasury and Reserve Bank officials.

However Rudd has also set a budget agenda which has the economic community bleating and the rest of us wondering why we haven’t done it before:

Rudd is determined to change the way policymakers and the public contemplate economic activity. When he held up a laptop last year and described it as the toolbox of the future, he meant it. When he talked about a "knowledge-based industry future", he meant that too. Expect innovation to be one of the buzzwords of the Rudd era

"An industry policy is not about whacking up a tariff wall. That debate's been had and it's gone. What I'm concerned about is what you can do elsewhere by innovation policy, research and development, and other things, practical things, in industry policy, which make it easier for this country to have a knowledge-based industry future, and I believe we can do it”. The Age

There comes a time when we need to suspend disbelief, or put some trust in a real leader. Rudd has made that a great deal easier. Both on the world stage and domestically he continues to perform beyond expectation.


TomCat said...

Cart, I can only hope that our next President is as principled and courageous.

There's a surprise for you at PP: today's 2nd post.

Middle Ditch said...

Congratulations with your E award from Tomcat

Cart said...

Thanks Tom, I'll need to step back for a bit now to sort out awards :)
Thanks MD

lindsaylobe said...

I endorse that idea;the need to show trust when we observe someone who seems trustworthy and whose actions and leadership signal new improved beginnings.

I think it is a lack of trust that underlies our inability to make any worthwhile progress and even underlies the need to violently suppress free speech.

I am reminded of the quote from Albert Schweitzer ~. When we observe contemporary society one thing strikes us. We debate but make no progress. Why? Because as people we do not yet trust each other.

I also found it interesting to learn about the reactions within China. when Rudd addressed Beijing University students fluently in mandarin.From the very moment he began speaking they could not contain their delight at hearing someone addressing them fluently in mandarin, erupting in tumultuous applause.Chinese are not ones for showing their emotion.

It is only early days and clearly more symbolic than substantive but I get a sense of new beginnings. Rudd is trying to walk on a tightrope and not fall off. So far I think he has done well, just as we have came to expect and even to trust in his good intentions as he quietly goes about his business continually making reference to hard work -

The agenda is before us, now is the time for hard work.

Best wishes

Cart said...

Lindsay, i respect your affirmation as much as that of Alan Ramsay. Thank you.