Rudd warns of return of the 'yellow peril'
November 26, 2019
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has blasted the coalition's management of the China relationship as self-serving, and warned against a return of the "yellow peril".
Mr Rudd acknowledged managing relations with China had always been difficult, but said recent Liberal policy has been driven by party politics.
He said the Liberals had attacked him as a "Manchurian candidate", and did all they could during his time as prime minister to break decades of bipartisanship on China policy.
Malcolm Turnbull then used a hard-line assault on the Chinese government to consolidate his position when his leadership was under threat.
Mr Rudd said Mr Turnbull's 2017 declaration in Mandarin that he will stand up for Australians was seemingly about foreign interference but, in reality, motivated by domestic and internal politics.
"It was this statement ... that brings us into the current period," he said.
Mr Rudd was in Canberra on Tuesday to launch Peter Hartcher's essay, Red Flag: Waking Up to China's Challenge.
Looking to the future, he called for vigilance against real, rather than imagined, threats to Australia's democracy, constitutions and infrastructure.
But he warned it would be easy for that to translate into racial profiling.
"I will be the first to the barricades if the most recent national security legislation becomes a political vehicle for Hansonism and a return to the days of the yellow peril," he said.
Rudd's response to foreign interference threats are 'disturbing': Turnbull
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has described Kevin Rudd’s response to foreign interference threats by China as “disturbing”. One of Australia’s top spy chiefs this week warned the threat of foreign interference was at unprecedentedly high levels. Following the warning, former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd said foreign interference fears were “a form of racial profiling”. Mr Turnbull criticised Mr Rudd on Wednesday, telling Sky News it was “disturbing that when Australian governments have stood up to pressure from the Chinese government, Kevin Rudd has not shown much sympathy or solidarity with the government of the country he once led”. “We’ve been warned for sometime by the intelligence and security services there is a growing risk of foreign interference in Australia’s political system,” he said. Mr Turnbull also warned the government against “political influence” in the police investigation into Liberal minister Angus Taylor over alleged doctored documents. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he spoke to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and was advised the investigation was based on the referral of Labor. Mr Turnbull said he was sure the phone call was "innocuous" but said "it would have been much better had it not been made". “It is always critically important in any police inquiry, particularly something that involves a politician, that the police are and are seen to be acting entirely free of political influence," he said.