I find it hard to disagree with Richard Farmer’s pithy commentary on the White Paper on the “Asian Century” which the Prime Minister released yesterday, published in today’s edition of Crikey:
Round we go again. Australia's "awakened Asia-mindedness" was what the Japanese Prime Minister Kishi called it back in 1957. The Australia-Japan Agreement on Commerce signed on July 6 that year was talked of as a growing realisation that our future prosperity was tied inextricably to the future of the Asia Pacific region. And 55 years later we still have a government talking as if there is something bold, significant and new about developing relations with the countries to our north.
Listening to the Prime Minister being interviewed on the subject by Fran Kelly on Radio National this morning, I didn’t hear her saying anything that we weren’t talking about at length just a bit under thirty years ago, in the early years of the Hawke Government. And there is nothing in the track record of the current government that gives me confidence that it will develop and sustain an implementation plan for any of this. Tactical manoeuvring for short term gain is more its style than the development and implementation of long term policy based upon a coherent intellectual framework.