Interview: New PM to maintain course of key policies: Australian scholar

08:21, June 30, 2010      

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Julia Gillard last Thursday became Australia's first female Prime Minister, ousting Kevin Rudd as the new leader of the Labor Party. "It came all of a sudden, but it won't mean a fundamental shift in policy direction." Professor Peter Drysdale said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua recently.

"On major issues of policy the tax reform, on foreign policy, on policy towards China, and our partners in the region, Gillard already demonstrated she has very strong grasp of the issues and she is likely to maintain course on those policies."

He said he doesn't think people will see any major change in policy direction from her primeministership. He said Gillard was an important part of the process of development of policy in the Rudd government, a key member in the government.

Gillard has scraped Rudd's 'Big Australia Policy' in her first move as the Prime Minister, instead, she wants a sustainable population development policy. But the professor said such a move is just "a shift in nuance". "There will be change on policy nuances on some issues. She will probably act more politically in a sense of seeking to calm anxieties in communities," he said.

Drysdale said it's quite baffling for people inside and outside Australia to watch it happen in such a short time in Australian politics. "But I think what happened fundamentally was that gradually former PM Rudd's standing in the polls lost ground very rapidly. The government is facing election this year in Australia. The key members of government will concern that under Rudd's primeministership, the government might loose a lot of ground in that election. So there was a move to change the leader as smoothly as possibly could and that let Gillard become our prime minister."

The Professor said there was very little prediction this would happen. Some people had seen that there were difficulties for Prime Minister Rudd. The polls narrow considerably. But most of the polls, not all of the polls, still suggested that Rudd would successfully fight an election anytime soon.

"But the things were changing very rapidly. Senior people in a Government think time perhaps come to change leadership. Because Rudd lost certain amount of credibility with policies of climate change. And also with concern within the government about his independent decision-making style and that persuaded Julia Gillard in the end to contest the leadership."

Professor Drysdale believes the diplomat-turn former Prime Minister did a good job before being dumped. He said everybody in the country including Gillard understands the tremendous assets that Kevin Rudd brought to public life in Australia. "His international leadership and his reformist commitments were all widely appreciated certainly within the government and by Gillard herself."

Dyrsdale said the Super Profit Tax Reform is an important reform and the substance of which is very sound and most analysts who understands the nature of the reform were very supportive for the reform.

He said the tax reform will strengthen the bilateral relations as this tax was originally advised as a means to make a more secured environment for foreign investor undertaking investment in resource sector in Australia and other countries in which the resource tax of this kind have been imposed.

Drysdale also said, on style, Julia Gillard is an exceptionally polished and professional political leader. She manages herself in public debate extremely well. "She is very calm, cool and effective in political debate and the articulation of policies. So she among political leaders in Australia to stands out which is quite exceptional."

"I believe as prime minister, she will continue to put a huge amount of energy into the investment and development of the relationship with China and the neighbors in the Asia Pacific region in the same way as former prime minister Kevin Rudd committed to." he said.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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