Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has launched his new book, “Engagement – Australia Faces The Asia-Pacific”.
In Keating’s words, “this book tells a small part of a long and still-unfinished story: how the people of Australia, this vast continent on the edge of the Asian landmass, are slowly coming to terms with the implications of their place in the world”.
During a speech at the Dallas Brooks Centre in Melbourne, Keating condemned the Howard government’s 1950s “sepia coloured” view of Australia’s foreign relations.
Keating joked about Alexander Downer’s criticism that he was preoccupied with Asia and attacked the coalition government for its approach to relations with our neighbours.
Keating obliquely criticised his predecessor, Bob Hawke, by pointing out that in 1992, shortly after Keating had toppled Hawke as Prime Minister, it was 10 years since the Australian and Indonesian heads of government had met together.