Title More evidence that Rudd's Asia-Pacific union was a stunt.
Database Press Releases
Date 20-06-2008
Author ROBB, Andrew, (former Member)
Citation Id MNOR6
Cover date Friday, 20 June 2008
Format Online Text
In Government no
Item Online Text: 1751482
Key item No
MP yes
Pages 2p;.
Party LPA
Speech No
System Id media/pressrel/MNOR6

More evidence that Rudd's Asia-Pacific union was a stunt.


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

Comments today by India's External Affair's Minister that his country had not even been made aware of Kevin Rudd's proposal for a European Union-style Asia / Pacific Union confirm once again that this idea was half-baked and smacked of a stunt.

''Mr Rudd's hasty, ill-conceived and half-baked proposal for an Asia - Pacific community similar to the European Union is an embarrassment,'' said the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Andrew Robb AO MP, today.

''Even former Labor Prime Minister's Hawke and Keating have roundly rejected it.

''And the way Mr Rudd has gone about it is exceedingly dumb and potentially offensive. It has everyone in the region scratching their head about what it is.

''First we had the ridiculous situation where this idea was dropped on the table by the Prime Minister with hardly any detail - only 25 lines in a speech of over 220 - and now we have significant figures in the region confirming that not only where they not consulted before the announcement, they still haven't seen any detail.

''Earlier today the Indian External affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, confirmed that India 'have not received any proposal', have not been informed of the community idea and heard about the proposal for the first time from Australian media.

''This would be a joke if it wasn't so serious. It reflects very poorly on Australia.

''It comes after it was confirmed by many nations throughout the region, including the United States, Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand, that they had not even been consulted before the announcement.

''When Bob Hawke announced his vision for APEC it was a result of discussions that he himself had undertaken with other heads of state and Ministerial consultations in the region.

''Mr Hawke even said at the time it came after launching a 'substantial and concerted diplomatic effort'.

''On this occasion even Mr Rudd's chosen envoy, Dick Woolcott, only found about the idea two hours before the announcement and earlier this week said it 'came out of the blue'!

''This is amateur hour.

''Mr Woolcott has also said this proposal needs to resourced and funded properly.

''But this week the Government added even more humiliation to this alleged 'idea' by confirming that there has not yet been any staff, resources or funds allocated to the proposal.''

''It is about time Mr Rudd concentrated on the job he was elected to do rather that racing about desperately trying to make his mark as an international statesman.

''I say to Mr Rudd; avoid the stunts and get on with the hard work of Government.''