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Tests for Mr Rudd in London.



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Fri, 4th April 2008 TESTS FOR MR RUDD IN LONDON

The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs (to 22 September 2008)

Unfortunately, Mr Rudd will arrive in London having failed to gain a commitment for the extra NATO troops to be posted in southern Afghanistan to assist with the fighting in the most dangerous area, where the Australian forces happen to be. This is unfinished business for Mr Rudd.

The 1,000 extra troops from France that will be placed in the east of Afghanistan are an important factor for the Canadians commitment to Afghanistan, but it does not result in the heavy lifting in the real hot spots being shared with new NATO troops, and is a far cry short of the estimated 10,000 additional troops that were being sought.

Now Mr Rudd heads to London.

Mr Rudd needs to gain a firm public commitment from the British Prime Minister, Mr Brown, that he will lobby other European nations in support of Australia's bid for a UN Security Council seat.

The Prime Minister also needs to use the fact that the meeting will be between two Labor leaders to force the British Government to finally agree to index the pensions of British pensioners living in Australia.

Currently when British pensioners come to Australia their pension is frozen at whatever the rate is when they arrive. This can leave some pensioners thousands of dollars worse off over many years and in many cases the pensions are ''topped-up'' by the Australian Government.

For many years the Howard Government tried unsuccessfully to gain a commitment from the British Government to index these pensions.

This is now a challenge for Mr Rudd to pick up.