Is Kevin Rudd intent on an Asian future?

Andrew Guild looks at Kevin Rudd’s pro-Asian views as well as his push for teaching Asian languages, and questions whether Rudd has a hidden agenda.

Kevin Rudd is a dubious choice at best for the post of Prime Minister of Australia. Australians should be wondering just how far Rudd’s fascination with Asia will affect his governing of Australia.

Rudd speaks Mandarin-Chinese fluently, has proudly married his daughter off to an Asian (Albert Tse, who Rudd paraded at his investiture as PM), and has worked as a “China consultant” with private corporations.

Dennis Shanahan, writing for The Australian newspaper said “Rudd’s lifelong interest in China, its language and its history, is born of a childhood interest and led to a diplomatic and private career in Beijing … Simply put, Rudd is seen as being too close to China for Australia’s comfort.”[1]

Australia has already had one Prime Minister who was a lover of China. Harold Holt was known for his Chinese sympathies. Holt was one of the first Prime Ministers to begin the wrecking of Australia’s traditional immigration policies; like an untrustworthy tour guide, he took an unsuspecting Australia down a path leading to a future integration with Asia. Australia could do without another Prime Minister like him.

How will Rudd’s attachment to China impact upon Australia in terms of foreign affairs and immigration? Will it bring an increase in policies leading to more Multiculturalism and Asianisation? Will Rudd become another Paul Keating, with more talk of an “Asian future” for Australia?

Already Rudd is talking of enmeshing Australia’s future with Asia, of participating in what he calls “the Asia-Pacific century”, of tying Australia to a “comprehensive engagement in Asia”, and of his intention to “foster a generation of Asia-literate Australians”. Maybe this is what he has in mind when he said “I came here to offer an alternative plan for Australia’s future”.

Rudd’s intention “to create an Asia-literate Australia” and to dramatically increase the teaching of Asian languages to Australian schoolchildren, at the expense of European languages, dates back to the years when he was a key player in the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools Programme established by Paul Keating’s government (at a time when Rudd led the Queensland Office of the Cabinet).[2]

Rudd was one of the architects of the National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools programme established by the Keating government (at that time Rudd was regarded as “the most influential public servant in the Queensland”).

In February 1994 the Council Of Australian Government’s report, “Asian Languages and Australia’s Economic Future” was presented and became known as the Rudd Report (as Rudd was the Chairman of the group that produced it). The Rudd Report focused on “Asian languages and complementary Asian cultures education in Australian schools as a means of enhancing Australian economic interests in East Asia”.[3]

Kevin Rudd’s 2007 policy for an Asian language programme refers, not unkindly, to the fact that it is compulsory for school children in Finland to have to study three foreign languages. The intent of forcing Australian school children into compulsory foreign languages has a long history.

For example, in his 1995 essay “Creating an Asia-literate Australia” Rudd raised the prospect of “significant intervention by government” and “radical intervention by government to increase Australia’s overall level of Asia-literacy” and he referred to “compulsory second language education” as the easiest option by which his views could be implemented.

Rudd maintained that “For the nest generation of Australians, Asia must no longer be regarded as foreign, but, instead, familiar”; and apparently this view will be carried out by the force of government if he deems it necessary.[4]

Whilst trading with Asia is fine, within the context of seeking to create a sufficiently sustainable industrial base within our own country, Australians have a right to be worried about the direction in which Rudd wants to take us.

Trade is one thing, learning Asian languages is another, but to have a disproportionate focus on those matters – as part and parcel of a larger package that includes cultural acclimatisation with Asia, along with a high immigration intake from Asia – should give concern to thinking Australians that Kevin Rudd is just a rehashed Paul Keating, with an ideological aim and intent to Asianise Australia.

The Australian soldiers on the Kokoda Track did not fight, suffer, and lay down their lives so that worms like Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd could hand our nation’s future over to the teeming masses of Asia.

John Curtin, a staunch Labor Party leader and our nation’s wartime Prime Minister, died in office whilst trying to save Australia; he would be turning in his grave if he could see Kevin Rudd and his fellow-travellers in the Labor Party betraying our future.

[1] “One-man band Rudd risky as China’s mate”, The Australian, 13 April 2007
“Rudd’s rise”, The Economist, 3 May 2007
“Rudd walks daughter down the aisle”, Age, 5 May 2007
“No beating about the Bush with a pander to China”, The Age, 7 Sept. 2007, national/no-beating-about-the-bush-with-a-pander-to-china/2007/09/06/1188783415793.html
“Kevin Rudd, aka Lu Kewen”, Weekly Standard (Washington, DC), 3 December 2007,
[2] “Kevin Rudd’s budget address in reply”, The Age, 11 May 2007
“Australia’s Engagement with Asia – A New Paradigm?”, Asialink-ANU National Forum, 13 August 2004,
“A blinkered approach to languages”, The Australian, 7 November 2007,
“Politicising Asian languages in Australia”, Radio Singapore International, 9 July 2007,
“Language lessons the buzz Down Under”, New Straits Times (Malaysia), 30 January 2008
[3] “A Strategy cut-short: The NALSAS Strategy for Asian languages in Australia”, by Deborah Henderson, Queensland University of Technology, 2007,
[4] “Federal Labor’s National Asian Language And Studies In Schools Program – Preparing Australia For The Future”, Labor Party, Media Statement – 10th May 2007,
“Creating an Asia-literate Australia”, in “Living with dragons: Australia confronts its Asian destiny” (edited by Greg Sheridan), Allen & Unwin, 1995, pages 21-44 (see pages 24, 35, 38, 40, 44).

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