Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 06:37 | SYDNEY
Saturday 18 Aug 2018 | 06:37 | SYDNEY

What Rudd didn't say at the UN


Sam Roggeveen


23 September 2011 12:14

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd's speech to the UN General Assembly, delivered yesterday, seems to be pitched at our bid for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat. For instance, to burnish Australia's credentials as a good global citizen, Rudd has long sections on environment and development. There's a section on Africa too, where we'll need to win lots of votes to get that seat.

If Rudd did intend the speech as a 'vote for me' exercise, it's interesting to see what he and his advisers thought worthy of omission on the grounds that it would not impress voters: for instance, there's just one reference to Indonesia in the speech, and that in relation to natural disaster response. The US, too, is worthy of only one mention, and there's no reference to the alliance.

On a slightly more frivolous note, the speech also bears the mark of Rudd's own drafting. Note this riot of metaphors in the 'Global Economy' section:

Three years ago, when I first spoke at this podium, I spoke of the storm clouds gathering across the global economy.

It seemed as if we were in free fall as we all stared into the abyss – with the very real possibility of a second global depression in a century.

Through coordinated intervention in 2009, we broke the fall.

Yet three years on, the crisis in the global economy continues, still with a capacity to engulf us all.

To summarise: we were free-falling, perhaps into an abyss but certainly while looking into one. We did this while storm clouds gathered. Although we broke the fall, we are now in danger of being engulfed, though whether that's by a tsunami or by flames is unclear at this point. 

Photo by Flickr user United Nations Photo.