Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 17:57 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 12 Oct 2021 | 17:57 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: APC or APc?


Sam Roggeveen


16 October 2009 13:28

Professor Carl Thayer picks up on an old post from Graeme Dobell, which Malcolm Cook referred to recently:

With respect, I do not think Graeme Dobell has got it right about the APc. Dobell incorrectly stated that 'throughout the printed text, the reference was to an Asia-Pacific community (APc).' Actually, when Rudd first used the term in his speech, it was put in quotation marks with 'C' in upper case in the text. The abbreviation APC was used six times before 'Asia-Pacific community' appeared with 'c' in the lower case. This was referred to subsequently in the speech as the APC in one reference before reverting to Asia-Pacific community for the remainder of the address.

My sources tell me that the change in case was to dispel the view that the Prime Minister was trying to create an Asian analogue of the EU. Prime Minister Rudd has not moved on by abandoning his proposal as Dobell suggested; he is convening a one-and-a-half track conference in Sydney in early December and a Concept Paper is to be released shortly.

Carl, I'm confused. I've looked up both the IISS transcript of Rudd's speech and the version on the PM's website, and neither conforms to your description. In fact, Graeme Dobell seems to have it right — when the PM first announced his idea in Sydney in June 2008, all references were to a 'Community'. But by the time of the May 2009 IISS speech which Graeme was describing, he had dropped the capital 'C'.

Your sources seem to reinforce Graeme's argument. Rudd frightened the regional horses by implying an EU-like body (actually, he didn't, but critics chose to read it that way), so he backed away by arguing that he doesn't want a new body, just to adjust some of the existing architecture.