In a perspicacious address last November, former Australian ambassador to China Geoff Raby said ‘today, the Australia-China relationship is at its lowest point since diplomatic relations began forty-six years ago’. At the level of official contacts, especially at heads-of-government level, Beijing has put Canberra in the deep freeze. Raby said the blame for this state of affairs is shared by both countries, though not evenly given the spate of diplomatic errors made by recent Liberal-National Party governments. According to the former ambassador, ‘Australia needs China more than China needs Australia’; Canberra has mistakenly adopted Washington’s hostile view of China; and our neighbours ‘all seem to be handling the rise of China and finding their feet within the new international order better than Australia seems to be doing’.
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