31/10/2012

Julia Gillard Reposition Australia On World Stage

Red Harmisson writes from Sydney: The Prime Minister here, Julia Gillard, has announced that she wants Australia to reposition itself on the world stage, moving away from what she calls ‘old countries’ and getting in bed with China and India. Well, not in bed literally, but cuddle to them and aim to please.
Julia Gillard in China 
How the great woman intends to succeed in this is not clear, certainly not from reading Australia In The Asian Century, a 312-page paper she’s been promoting here.
My great-grandfather’s brother was one of the lot who were sent out to govern New South Wales, not directly but as an adviser to someone who did. He wrote home to his future wife that she would like Australians because they spoke their minds. That was more than a century ago. The obvious is that Australian is already doing things in Asia in a big way. China is Australia’s top trading partner, ahead of Japan, US and South Korea. The Chinese started arriving in Australia in the 18th century, as crew members of the earliest immigrant ships and then with the mid-nineteenth century gold rush – they called it The New Gold Mountain.  By the 1860s, just under 4 percent of Australia’s population was Chinese. 
Bondi beach
So what is it that Ms Gillard’s Australia wants to do differently? She wants Asian Studies a core subject in school and raising school and uni standards in Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese and maybe Indonesian as mainstream languages. That’s hardly an ambition too far, therefore it must be the bit about repositioning away from the ‘old countries’. You would think as Prime Minister she would be better informed.
The people who do money in a big way do not need advice on repositioning. Venturers go where the money is. The European banks and venture capitalists that coffer them are already in China in a big way.
Ms Gillard should need no chunky tome to tell her how and when to reposition Australia’s economic ambitions.
One word of warning to her though: why does even President Obama say that America is building up its military bits in the Pacific? With the new markets come new instabilities. She did not mention that.
A post made earlier yesterday over on Stirring Trouble Internationally - A humorous take on news and current affairs about China , India , Julia Gillard and Australia .
Major General Steven Gower (centre) with, from...

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