Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:48 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 22:48 | SYDNEY

The real reason Rudd is going to the Olympics


Sam Roggeveen


14 July 2008 10:48

Thanks to reader John Hannoush for pointing me to this, from Canberra press gallery veteran Laurie Oakes:

Republicans and Democrats I met in Washington recently told me Rudd can play a role in bringing the US and China together on climate change once George W. Bush is replaced in the White House by either Barack Obama or John McCain.

Rudd understands this, and is preparing to act as a go-between. It is a major reason he is attending the opening of the Olympic Games. He wants to keep his "in" with China's leadership so he can engage in effective climate change shuttle diplomacy between Beijing and Washington. But Rudd would have no credibility as an intermediary if Australia failed to show it was prepared to take action itself.

Meanwhile, I liked this line from Henry Ergas' op-ed on climate change in today's Australian:

Yet the policy decisions the report calls for are of huge consequence: they cannot be made on the basis of romanticism and generous impulses...That the Opposition has been debating these issues is therefore hardly worrying; what would be terrifying is if the Government were not to.

This hits on a real paradox about Australian politics. Journalists routinely complain that politicians never say anything interesting or spontaneous, yet when political leaders depart from the talking points to hint that — shock, horror — there might be some differences among their colleagues on a 'diabolical' policy issue like climate change, the Canberra press gallery punishes them ruthlessly with claims of 'division'. It's pathetic.