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USA-Kevin Rudd to address Australia/U.S Leadership Dialogue
July 17, 2010
7:20 pm
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Kevin Rudd to address Australian American Leadership Dialogue in US

Friday 9th July, 2010

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will leave for the United States on Saturday to chair part of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue.

According to The Age, during the week in New York and Washington, Rudd will chair a session on national security.

Rudd, a founding member of the dialogue, has attended every meeting for the past 17 years.

"Rudd has no plans to leave politics and wants to serve as a minister in the government but he must wait until after the election, if Labor wins," the paper stated Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as saying.

The paper also stated that Rudd is eying the foreign affairs portfolio, currently held by Stephen Smith. As a former prime minister, he should be entitled to receive it.

His trip to the United States will be regarded as a clear sign of Rudd's great interest lies in foreign policy. (ANI)

July 17, 2010
7:25 pm
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Barack Obama believed to be looking into a job for Kevin Rudd

BARACK Obama was shocked to hear of the political assassination of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month -- and the U.S. president chose to call Rudd first before offering congratulations to successor Julia Gillard.
According to U.S. officials cited by the newspaper, Obama was very surprised to hear that Rudd was forced to step down on June 24 after the former PM lost the support of his Labor party, Fairfax media has reported.

The article also indicated the president may even be looking into a job for Rudd.

Obama valued Rudd, who was closely aligned to the U.S. with his stances on climate change, the Afghanistan war and the G20's response to the economic crisis.

In the phone call Obama told the former PM that he appreciated everything they had done together and hoped they could continue their friendship and partnership in working on international challenges.

Rudd, who is well respected in Washington, informed the president he intended to recontest the next election and to remain active on the international issues, possibly as part of a future Gillard cabinet.

But the Obama administration may be discussing some sort of international position for Rudd.

One senior U.S. official suggested internally that the former Australian diplomat would make an ideal negotiator for the stalled international agreement on climate change.

A role much like the special U.N. envoy position created for former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on Middle East peace could also be created for Rudd.

As Obama told the ABC in April: "Kevin is somebody who I probably share as much of a world view as any world leader out there. I find him smart but humble. He works wonderfully well in multilateral settings, he's always constructive, incisive."

Economist David Hale said: "Kevin Rudd was very well respected and well known in Washington.

"He seemed to be managing the global financial crisis very competently. You've had no recession in Australia and there was no sense that he was under serious threat. For him to be suddenly removed like that was just shocking."

Rudd stepped down when it became clear he would not survive Gillard's leadership challenge -- largely prompted by Rudd's falling popularity.

But Rudd has also irritated some senior U.S. officials in the past fortnight because of his numerous phone calls.

"Kevin has been whiny and mopey," said one. "There's been too much 'if only' this and 'if only' that. He needs to just suck it up and get on with things."

Rudd is expected in Washington Monday for the annual Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, of which he is a founding member.

He is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, the senior director for Asian Affairs on the White House's National Security Council, Jeff Bader, the president of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick, and the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

July 17, 2010
7:36 pm
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Australia calls for tougher world financial regulations

Fri Sep 26, 2008

Kevin Rudd ... UN address (AFP: Timothy A Clary)

Debate rages as Congress mulls privately funded bailout.

Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called for tougher international regulations and improved transparency of the world's big banks and financial institutions.

The Prime Minister has made the call in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, where he outlined the widespread reform program in response to the international financial crisis.

Mr Rudd said strong political will is needed to enforce reforms which he believes should be pushed through the G20 nations and implemented by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to avoid a repeat of the problems now hitting the US economy.

The strong emphasis in his speech on addressing the global economic volatility was a late shift in priority for Mr Rudd, after agreeing in meetings with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to unite to push a tougher regulatory strategy.

Mr Rudd has told the General Assembly banks and institutions needs to have better incentives to encourage responsible action as opposed to "unrestrained greed".

He also says the big firms should be required to build up capital during good economic periods and the licensing of large firms should be conditional on the disclosure of company figures.

"The global financial crisis is a call for the global community to act," he said.

"There has been a failure of internal governance within financial institutions.

"There has been a failure of external oversight."

Mr Rudd wants the stronger regulations and rules to be agreed to internationally and taken on by the IMF, which he says should also be given more powers to keep checks on firms.

Each country's central bank should also be responsible for economic stability, Mr Rudd said.

He has also proposed that the IMF develop a system which could give warnings of any indications that a firm may be in trouble.

Mr Rudd says Australia will work with the G20 nations to agree on reforms which could be implemented as soon as possible and he wants G20 nations to take a lead on showing better financial regulations.

"The purpose of this reform agenda is to provide a real political mandate for out international regulatory institutions to do their job in defending the integrity of the international financial system."

"The global financial crisis of today presents us afresh with a critical opportunity to act comprehensively and collectively for the long term, rather than selectively and separately for the short."

Mr Rudd says the G20 finance ministers should agree on a clear timetable of reform at their next meeting in November.

International security

Mr Rudd also urged other countries to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and said Australia is committed to abolishing nuclear weapons.

He criticised Iran and North Korea for undermining a united position on reducing the use of nuclear arms.

"We remain concerned that states such as Iran and North Korea continue to defy the international community and fail to comply with demands for a full declaration and a an accounting of their nuclear programs," he said.

Mr Rudd is lobbying for Australia to take a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2013 but he warned that the UN itself must be effective in maintaining peace and says the council needs some reform.

July 17, 2010
7:54 pm
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Dennis Shanahan, New York | September 25, 2009

Australia's Prime Minister, KEVIN Rudd has delivered a strongly worded warning to the UN that reform is necessary in global institutions and declared the G20 should be at the heart of a new international system.

The Prime Minister's campaign for a central role for the diverse group of developed and developing economies in the G20 reflects a growing theme among leading nations to streamline global decision-making and yet include key nations such as China, India and Brazil.

Yesterday at the UN General Assembly, US President Barack Obama and the leaders of several other countries indicated that the G20 had a greater role to play.

Mr Rudd told the General Assembly the recession and the failure of the international economic system had hurt workers and families.

Earlier, he said at a luncheon the UN and the International Monetary Fund had become static and UN membership had grown bloated and unmanageable. But he told the General Assembly that the G20, a much smaller but still representative group, had been able to respond to the crisis.

"While our global economic system failed comprehensively to prevent this crisis, the G20 governments have rallied to reduce the damage and prevent systemic collapse," he said.

"Through the agency of the G20, for the first time involving heads of government from the major developed and developing economies, governments acted in concert. The IMF has assessed that these extraordinary interventions succeeded in breaking the fall in what was an economic crisis spiralling out of control.

"But the truth is our global economic recovery is far from certain and many twists and turns lie ahead. Furthermore, the institutions of global economic governance are facing new challenges."

Mr Rudd is conducting a campaign to get the G20 recognised as the driving force in world affairs.

He listed three main aims for the group. "First, the financial market reform program must be completed and implemented to prevent a future crisis.

"Second, in anticipation of global economic recovery, we must agree on a framework for the co-ordinated withdrawal of our emergency interventions.

"And third, and most critically, we must articulate a new framework for sustainable future economic growth."

July 17, 2010
7:59 pm
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September 25, 2009

THE Group of 20 developed and developing nations will become the top economic forum, spreading influence to emerging powers such as China and India.

The dramatic shift, announced by the White House, came as President Barack Obama hosted his first major summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was marred by occasional violence as anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police.

“Today, leaders endorsed the G20 as the premier forum for their international economic cooperation,” a statement said.

“This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system, and lift the lives of the poorest.”

The G8 has served as the premier economic forum for decades and held closely watched annual summits.

Australia is a member of the G20 but not the G8, which comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

The announcement came as G20 leaders closed in on a deal to tighten financial regulations after last year's meltdown, with China signalling emerging countries would be granted more clout on the IMF.

At the first day of the two-day summit in Pittsburgh, there was broad agreement on curbing bankers' bonuses and a Chinese central bank official even predicted a move on International Monetary Fund voting rights.

Xie Duo said developing countries had for too long been under-represented in international financial institutions like the IMF.

“We believe that at tomorrow's summit a very important political decision will be made on this matter,” he added, on the sidelines of the summit.

G20 leaders have pledged to work for a comprehensive IMF reform and there is a long-term consensus on the need to address imbalances in voting power, but some European nations have baulked at losing their influence.

For Brazil, China, India and other emerging countries, it is crucial to achieve a breakthrough in negotiations in Pittsburgh so the IMF can endorse the reform at its annual meeting on October 6 to 7 in Istanbul.

Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama opened the G20 summit with a gala dinner in Pittsburgh - chosen as host city to showcase its stunning economic transformation from down-at-heel steel town to high-tech hub.

The start of the gathering was marred by isolated incidents of violence as small groups of anti-capitalist protesters defied police warnings not to march on the summit venue.

Police fired capsicum spray and non-lethal rounds and deployed loudspeakers blasting piercing sound waves to repel the mostly young protesters.

Fifteen people were arrested, police said.

The G20 is a forum for the world's biggest developed and emerging economies and its meetings are a magnet for anti-capitalists opposed to what they see as an undemocratic body promoting globalisation and free market policies.

The summit of the world's 19 biggest developed and emerging economies plus the European Union comes just over a year after a US credit collapse triggered a global economic slowdown.

It also comes six months after the same G20 chiefs met in London to coordinate their response to the crisis, and their performance in Pittsburgh will be judged in part on whether they have lived up to their earlier vows.

After a series of bilateral meetings with Japanese and Chinese officials, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Europe and the United States were close to agreeing tough new rules on limiting bankers' bonuses.

In the run-up to the summit there was friction between Washington and some European capitals, with France and Germany in particular pushing for stricter caps on the pay-outs, which they say encourage excessive risks in trading.

“We actually are very close and I believe we are in the same place,” Mr Geithner said.

“We want to have very strong standards to limit the risk.”

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, took a similar line.

“I expect the G20 will make a clear statement about the need for global rules on bonuses and compensation, and I also expect broad agreement on how to strengthen supervision in general.”

Summit delegates have all pledged to take tough and lasting measures to bring order back to the markets, shore up failing institutions, save jobs and rekindle growth, but each arrives in Pittsburgh with their own priorities.

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September 26, 2009.

Kevin Rudd hails landmark G20 deal in Pittsburgh

KEVIN Rudd has hailed as a landmark a deal by leaders of the 20 largest economies to ensure a global financial crisis will not happen again.

Leaders have agreed to co-ordinate their economic policies by submitting them for peer review by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) among others by the end of this year to ensure they meet required standards.

The meeting agreed to replace the G8 with the G20 as the primary global economic forum with two meetings scheduled for next year in June in Canada and in South Korea in November, followed by annual meetings beginning with France in 2011.

G20 leaders agreed to plan exit strategies from economic stimulus spending designed to soften the impact of the global financial crisis but said the spending should remain in place until there were signs of "durable" economic recovery.

They have also agreed to curb excessive executive salaries and reform financial markets and institutions to prevent another credit crisis.

July 17, 2010
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September 28, 2009.

G20 nations adopts Australia's pay guidelines on bonuses

AUSTRALIAN regulators have been at the forefront of a global push to rein in excessive risk-taking by banks, after the G20 agreed to a package of measures at the weekend.

At a meeting in the US city of Pittsburgh, the G20 leaders agreed to principles designed to encourage banks and other financial services companies to defer bonuses for key employees, as well as claw back pay if financial performance subsequently deteriorates.

Wayne Swan said work by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority was at the core of recommendations from the Swiss-based Financial Stability Board, of which Australia is a member.

"Indeed, the work of APRA in Australia was the basis of the recommendations that have come from the (FSB)," the Treasurer told the Ten Network's Meet the Press program. "The essence here is to link executive pay in the financial sector to the long-term performance of the company.

"And of course, at the core of the global financial crisis has been the fact that obscene pay packages have been made to executives as their financial institutions were melting down."

The resilience of the nation's banking system, compared with the bailouts and nationalisations in other countries, has enhanced the global status of local regulators. The FSB's package, which comes ahead of Wednesday's draft findings by the Productivity Commission on executive pay, follows a second consultation report by APRA on performance based remuneration earlier this month.

APRA pushed strongly in the report for deferred pay to allow time for business outcomes to be reliably measured, as well as a clawback mechanism for boards to correct adverse pay outcomes in extreme circumstances.

Kevin Rudd asked APRA to work out the guidelines last year to curb what he referred to as "extreme capitalism".

On top of that, the federal government has put forward legislation to require shareholder approval for any executive payout worth more than a year's base salary.

Mr Swan yesterday accused the Opposition of frustrating the progress of that legislation.

The G20 said in a statement that it fully supported the FSB's implementation standards aimed at "aligning compensation with long-term value creation".

Under the principles, which now have to be adopted by each country, senior executives and employees who have a "material impact" on a firm's risk-taking will have a "substantial" part of their remuneration paid as a bonus, and linked to individual, business-unit and firm-wide performance. A proportion of that pay -- in the range of 40-60 per cent, and higher for the most senior management -- should be deferred for at least three years.

Furthermore, in excess of half of variable compensation should be awarded in shares, or instruments linked to shares. The remainder could be paid in cash, vesting gradually.

Bank of Italy governor Mario Draghi, who leads the FSB, said there had been cases where sizeable bonuses had been paid, "in spite of the horrible results. That's exactly what this system is meant to avoid now".

Bloomberg reported that several of the guidelines had already been implemented at firms such as Goldman Sachs, which set aside a record $US11.4billion ($13.1bn) to pay employees in the first half of this year.

Goldman has a set of compensation policies that include limiting bonus guarantees to one year, and paying a larger portion of the bigger bonuses in stock.

Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are among other firms that have created systems to claw back bonus payments.

July 17, 2010
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APRA to join Basel banking supervision committee

2009

THE Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has been invited to become a member of the Basel Committee on banking supervision.

The chairman of APRA John Laker and Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens will also be included in an enlarged governance body for the Basel Committee, APRA said.

The Basel Committee on banking supervision is the global standard-setting body for banking regulation with a core mandate to strengthen bank regulatory practices and standards.

Other countries invited to join the Basel Committee are Brazil, China, India, Korea, Mexico and Russia, APRA said.

"The invitation to become a member is an acknowledgment of the high regard in which Australia's financial regulatory regime is held in international circles, and confirmation that Australian regulatory authorities can make a significant contribution to global standard-setting in the future," Mr Laker said.

"Membership of the Basel Committee will ensure that Australia has a strong voice in global banking reform initiatives being developed in response to the global financial crisis.”

The Basel Committee's members come from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

July 17, 2010
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Nov 20, 2009‎

BEIJING -(Dow Jones)- Now is the right time to try to move forward on the reform of international financial system, the head of the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's managing director, said that the political landscape is more positive than in the past, so reform, for instance on the global currency system, could be pushed forward.

"I don't know how high is the probability of success. The sole fact that the probability is positive and not zero is enough to try to go forward," he said at a financial conference at Peking University in Beijing.

He said the world can't rely on an international system based on currency issued by one country.

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Mr Rudd will argue at the summit in London next week that China should get greater voting rights within the IMF and a greater say on how and where its funds are spent, to reflect the changing world economic order.

Under the current IMF structure, China, which is the world's third largest economy, has a 3.7 per cent voting stake, less than Germany, which has 6 per cent, and Britain, with 4.9 per cent. EU member nations have 32 per cent in total, America has 17 per cent and India has 1.9 per cent.

Mr Rudd argued that the rankings, enshrined when the IMF was created at the end of the Second World War, were long out of date.

"China's voting rights are currently the same as those of Belgium and the Netherlands. Now let's just get up with the realities of the 21st century," he said.

Under the Australian plan, Beijing's voting stake would be increased in return for its providing financing to fill part of a US$550 billion (£378bn) financing shortfall in the developing world.

Mr Rudd, currently co-chair of the G20's working group on reform of international financial institutions, said giving greater voting rights to China would help the IMF intervene early if there was a second sub-prime crisis. However, commentators have warned the move could irritate European nations.

Thursday, March 12, 2009.

Australia - "IMF at risk of losing relevance"

Australia's confidential briefing papers prepared for the weekend's G-20 fiance leaders meeting have leaked.

"Decisive action is needed to ensure adequate and speedy resourcing of the IMF. Now is not the time for protracted debates or further studies — something that has been a feature of IMF reform to date."

Australia will be saying what it should.

Below is my take on the IMF for this morning's Age and also it's "great recession" pronouncement:

"If the IMF did not exist, we would not re-invent it"

Australia's Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner was diplomatic when asked about the International Monetary Fund at the National Press Club yesterday - "it has to make calls, it has to make predictions; that’s fair enough" - but he was glowing when asked about about the Group of 20.

The G-20 is a new organisation. Australia's Prime Minister infamously lobbied the then US President George Bush to let it handle the developing economic crisis in a late night phone call late last year.

Made up of the world's 20 largest national economies plus the European Union it actually includes Australia. Big enough to account for 85 per cent of the world's production, it is small enough for members to make decisions that might actually stick...

As Mr Tanner put it: "It’s got pretty well all the really major players in the world’s economy represented there, and a number of others who are middling players such as ourselves. That’s extremely important for Australia. Really really important."

"What’s also important is that, if there’s going to be a grouping that’s small enough to be manageable and capable of producing an outcome – particularly on an issue of this magnitude – but is also big enough and representative enough to genuinely reflect the bulk of world, the G20 is going to be it."

By contrast the 185-member IMF not only has difficulty making decisions, it also has difficulty holding its members to those decisions, unless they owe it money.

Votes are weighted by a complex formula that gives China, one of the world's biggest economies the same number of votes as Canada. The United States has a veto. Its decisions are not taken seriously, although its money is.

A lender of last resort to nations that are skint, it imposes conditions in return for help that are at times dangerous.

During the 1997 Asian economic crisis it sought to impose conditions on Indonesia that Australia would have been unable to meet. Its requirement that wounded countries wind back public spending is said to have resulted in thousands of deaths from tuberculosis in Eastern Europe. Its insistance that those nations privatise their banks now looks like a joke in the light of the nationalisations being contemplated in the United States and United Kingdom.

Perhaps worst of all, previously economically weak nations have been building up big foreign surpluses in order to ensure they never have to deal with it again, adding to the globe's woes.

Its strengths are meant to include statistics and forecasting, but in April 2007, months ahead of the global economic crisis it declared the world "set for continued robust growth".

"Overall risks seem less threatening than six months ago," it opined.

Martin Wolf of the London Financial Times wrote recently that "if the International Monetary Fund did not exist, we would not re-invent it".

Australia might agree.

"The great recession" - another IMF downgrade

The International Monetary Fund now expects world growth to slip below zero and has labeled the crisis "the great recession".

In an unexpected development given the Fund's latest official forecast of positive growth of 0.5 per cent, its Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told a conference in Tanzania that he "expects global growth to slow below zero this year, the worst performance in most of our lifetimes".

"The global financial crisis, what we might call the Great Recession, provides a sobering backdrop," he told the conference on African growth.

The Fund's official + 0.5 per cent forecast prepared in January sharply downgrades its November forecast of + 2.2 per cent and its October forecast of 3.0 per cent.

The IMF is expected to put a figure on its new forecast of negative growth in time for the Group of 20 Finance Ministers Meeting to be attended by Australia's Treasurer Wayne Swan in London on Saturday.

Earlier this week the World Bank became the first official organisation to break the taboo on forecasting negative growth, predicting the global economy would shrink this year for the first time in more than 60 years.

It is also is expected to put a figure on the negative growth it expects in the lead-up to the weekend meeting, giving the ministers numbers to grapple with as they thrash out plans for a coordinated response ahead of a leaders meeting to be attended Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the UK's Gordon Brown, the President Obama of the United States on April 2.

July 17, 2010
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G20 agreement will end 'financial cowboys'

April 03, 2009

FINANCIAL market "cowboys" who wreaked havoc on the world economy will be brought undone by the G20 agreement, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

Mr Rudd says the $US1 trillion ($A1.4 trillion) deal agreed on at the G20 summit in London, will benefit "tradies", young people and small business with real commitments against real timelines.

"Today's agreement begins to crack down on the sort of cowboys in global financial markets that have brought global markets undone with real impacts for jobs everywhere," Mr Rudd told reporters at the conclusion of the summit overnight.

The summit has agreed to a restructure of the financial regulatory system, reform of and a trebling of funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to $US750 billion ($A1.08 trillion), an extension until the end of next year of a ban on nations introducing trade protection measures, a curb of excessive executive payouts and agreement to co-ordinate further economic stimulus.

Mr Rudd, who played a key role in a working group set up to develop proposals after last Novembers' G20 summit in Washington, DC, said the agreement was a concrete plan to reduce, but not eliminate, the effects of the global recession set off by the collapse of banks and financial markets in the US last year.

"It's been prime ministers and presidents who have struck this deal but it's small businesses, tradies and young people who will benefit from it over time because global action is necessary to support local jobs," Mr Rudd said.

Mr Rudd dismissed reports of divisions between world leaders over action discussed at the summit, saying there had been an overwhelming drive among leader towards achieving a workable outcome.

"This is ... a concrete plan by us to try and reduce the impact on joblessness on all our countries, including Australia, and to improve the level of stimulus and other measures in the economy," Mr Rudd said.

"This is about reducing the impact of the impact of the global economic recession, it's not about immediately removing it, I just want to be up front with people about that."

The amount each country will need to commit towards the new funding for the IMF would be worked out by January.

Mr Rudd said the IMF was "the thin blue line" between failing national economies and global financial chaos and a key element of the meeting was to ensure it received added resources to enable it to support fragile economies.

He said it would be a tough, long haul ahead for Australia amid a "spectacular" economic downturn with "horrendous" forecasts for growth released by the OECD this week.

The agreement brings to an end Mr Rudd's two-week overseas trip when he heads home on Friday with a brief stopover in Singapore, where he will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Before he leaves London, though, he is to have talks with China's President Hu Jintao on Thursday evening.

July 17, 2010
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Kevin Rudd calls a crisis summit of G20

The Australian Prime Minister, KEVIN Rudd was entertaining guests in the loungeroom at Kirribilli House in Sydney when an aide told him George W. Bush was on the telephone.

It was 10.40pm on Friday, October 10 2008.

The US President, beginning his Friday in Washington, was calling for a pre-arranged discussion of the global economic crisis that was hammering credit and stock markets around the globe.

The Prime Minister, still clad in the suit he had worn to a business dinner in the city, was polite and calm. "Have another drink while I take this call," Rudd told his guests as he slipped into the adjacent study.

What followed was an extraordinary exchange in which Rudd advised the most powerful man in the world that a plan to address the global financial crisis through the G7 group of leading industrialised nations was wrong.

Rudd, the former diplomat and Mandarin speaker, advised Bush that the G7 plan, largely being pushed from within Europe, was out of touch with the reality of the Asia-Pacific century.

It made no sense, he said, to take action on the crisis without engaging China.

Rudd argued that the better vehicle for a co-ordinated response to calm the markets and toughen financial regulation was the broader G20 grouping, including G7 members plus China and a range of other nations from South America and the Middle East, as well as Australia.

Two weeks later, Rudd's view has prevailed.

Bush has defied the leaders of Europe, instead calling a G20 summit in Washington for November 15 - the first of several meetings to consider how to clean up the financial mess that has its roots in the grossly inadequate regulation of the sub-prime lending market in the US.

The collapse of the US lending markets has cascaded around the globe, leading to bank failures and stock market panics. And it is now bearing down on the real world economy, and threatening to plunge many nations into recession.

Rudd, who refused to comment on his dealings with Bush for the preparation of this article, was not the only leader in the world to advocate broad global action on the crisis.

But his success in convincing the US and the leaders of several other nations of his view signals that he has established his credentials as a genuine player on the global political stage.

Perhaps more so than any of his predecessors, Rudd is bringing a new understanding to world politics - a keener sense of the subtle political changes in coming decades as economic and political power moves inexorably away from Europe and North America towards Asia.

Rudd had solicited Bush's telephone call, which came as the financial crisis reached frightening proportions.

Trading on the Australian stock market that Friday saw share prices plunge by 8.3per cent.

The S&P ASX200 closed at a 3 1/2-year low. And Japan's Nikkei index tumbled by 9.6 per cent.

Although Wall Street was yet to open its Friday trade, US shares shed 18 per cent of their value over the full week.

The figures confirmed that despite a flurry of meetings at the UN General Assembly on September 24 and September 25, the world markets were not settling. The situation was entering what Treasurer Wayne Swan described as "a dangerous new phase".

So when Rudd excused himself to take Bush's call, he was well prepared to forcefully argue his case.

Informed sources have confirmed the discussion took place on a speaker telephone with a Rudd staffer taking notes.

After the President explained the pressure from Europe for a G7-brokered action on supporting the credit sector and reforming regulation, Rudd immediately insisted the G20 was the solution.

Rudd was then stunned to hear Bush say: "What's the G20?"

During the spirited 30-minute discussion that followed, Rudd continually brought Bush back to his contention that political imperatives and economic common sense demanded the involvement of China in any response to the crisis.

He told Bush he had heard "through back channels" that the Chinese believed the economic collapse underscored the inherent failures of capitalism and the benefits of a planned economy.

Rudd's view on China was probably better informed than he let on to the US President. Just four days earlier, the fluent Mandarin speaker had discussed the global turmoil on the telephone with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

Rudd urged Bush to draw China into the solution, both to harness its energy as an emerging economic power and to prevent the Chinese using the global crisis to make political points about the failure of Western capitalism.

And he told Bush that, with his eight-year term in office about to end within weeks, it was vital that he leave his successor - Barack Obama or John McCain - a multilateral agreement that he could use to drive post-election reform across the world to prevent recurrences of the systemic failures caused by inadequate financial regulation.

Sources said Bush spent the first third of the conversation attempting to keep Rudd at bay. Although the President was seeking input, he was initially resistant to the idea of allowing nations like China into the tent.

But over time, Rudd appeared to convince Bush he had a reasonable point.

"He was like a bull terrier," said one source. "He was polite but firm. He was not deferential at all. I could not have imagined John Howard talking to Bush like that."

Rudd had been carefully lobbying for G20 involvement for weeks.

The G20 forum, established in the late 1990s to give emerging nations a greater say in world economic affairs, includes 19nations from across the world, as well as the European Union.

Unlike the G7 - comprising the US, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Japan and Italy - the G20 also includes China as well as South American and Middle Eastern nations.

In New York on September 24, Rudd argued in favour of G20 involvement at a dinner attended by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who this year holds the rotating G20 chairmanship.

A day later, he told the UN General Assembly the G20 was well-placed to provide the political authority to implement urgent regulatory reform.

As well as discussing the issue with Wen, Rudd had consulted Japan's Taro Aso, Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and German Chancellor Angela Merkel before talking to Bush.

As his discussion with Bush drew to a close, Rudd said the G7 covered only North America and western Europe.

He implored Bush to "understand the importance" of engaging Asia and the rest of the world through the more representative G20, and promised to report details of their discussion to Brazil's Lula.

After he put the telephone down, Rudd ordered the staffer who had taken notes to brief Swan, who was in Washington for a G20 meeting, on the conversation.

This week's indication that Rudd's lobbying has worked means the Prime Minister will now have a chance to push his claims in Washington. His task there is to win approval for proposals for global reform of finance regulation.

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