Paul Keating is certainly one of the more divisive names in Australian politics, finding someone with no strong opinion on him is to find someone young enough to have never known him. But as a Treasure and later a Prime Minister of Australia he was not only highly significant in Australian economic reform, but was extraordinarily well known and respected through out Asia.
Kevin Rudd is our present prime minister, and I think that it goes without saying that he is a formidable debater with a keen eye for detail. However I genuinely feel that he lacks the sort of "stuff" of which Paul Keating was made.
Perhaps he does know quite a lot about China, but knowing and having experience in something is not quite the same as being respected by the leadership of those places.
I read today that Kevin is writing a book ... Paul wrote a book too.
Paul wrote a book called "Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific" while the title of Kevin's book is yet unkown that its a"kiddies' adventure story about the PM's cat and dog will be published this month."
Paul publishes the first chapter of this book on his website here. I encourage you to give it a read.
I personally think this underscores the difference between politicians and politics between the 90's and now.
I was in Japan in the time after Keating, so I knew first hand what his influence was. At that time I was more or less still naive about politics (both Australian and International) but it didn't take me long to comprehend there was more behind the man than calling protesting students "Scumbags" and talking about "the recession we had to have".
I fear we are moving into an age of "democracy" where our "leadership" are little more than professional poll and voter mood watchers. Few seem to have ideals which they make public.
When was the last time you voted for someone who you really felt represented you?
So now I think the time has come for us to look closely at the machinery of government and legislation and get that legislation more in line with our community and its needs. The legislation is the "source code" for the machine of Government and the politicans are simply the agents who execute that code.
I think we should all get involved in a code review.