Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is there a South for Rudd?

image The first days of the Rudd government have revealed an interesting exclusion. In discussing the appointment of West Australian Stephen Smith as Foreign Minister, Rudd claimed:

This nation doesn't just look east, it looks north and it looks west.

That's three directions. Is there another direction missing?

Then in 12 December, Rudd greeted with the world with a stirring declaration of the new government's commitment to global cooperation over climate change.

As our host, President Yudhoyono, said to me when we met yesterday, there can be no North or South, given the dimensions of this challenge. Together we are custodians of the planet.

It seems an important and inevitable gesture to take a united perspective. And it's a wonderful role for Australia play as a mediator between North and South. But this role can only be successful if Australia is sensitive to the history of the South and its suspicion of the North.

Someone, somewhere, decided that there would be a North and a South. And that North would be above South. It doesn't mean that they can't work together. But can we deny the difference?

No comments: