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Rudd gets it half right.



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Senator Russell Trood Liberal Senator for Queensland

Media Release

Senator Russell Trood Liberal Senator for Queensland

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Rudd gets it half right

Queensland Senator Russell Trood has welcomed the Prime Minister’s long overdue address on the direction of Australia’s foreign policy and is reassured by his commit-ment to maintain the Howard Government’s activist role in foreign affairs.

Senator Trood said that Mr Rudd’s address to the East Asia forum this week supported some of his own views on where Australia’s foreign policy could be developed in the future.

“I am delighted to see him embracing ideas contained in my policy paper released last week. Sadly, there are some things it would seem the Prime Minister is unwilling to do”, Senator Trood said.

Senator Trood said he had two immediate concerns on Mr Rudd’s direction in foreign policy.

“Firstly, and in particular, how are we going to fund this new-found need to increase our level of international engagement when Mr Rudd has cut $57 million from the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and eliminated 20 overseas, front-line diplomatic posts. Australia cannot for example, maintain an active role in in-ternational affairs if he continues to emasculate our foreign service”, Senator Trood said.

“I challenge the Rudd Government, at the very least, to continue DFAT’s funding at current levels, to give Australia a fighting chance internationally”.

Secondly, Senator Trood said, Mr Rudd was making a mistake about not visiting Ja-pan.

“Why is the Prime Minister deliberately snubbing Japan, our biggest export market on this, his first major overseas trip”?

Media Contact: Julie Crouch 0432 218 696