When Hillary Clinton arrived in Australia last week, she was welcomed by Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on twitter:
RT @KRuddMP: Welcomed Hillary to Oz at Melbourne Airport. Because of the flies I introduced her to the science of the great Aussie salute.
Her visit seemed to charm the media and her audiences:
She swept from a breakfast among power women to an ABC-hosted forum at Melbourne University and on to Pixel House, billed as the world's first carbon-neutral office building, where she conceded that America still had big challenges with climate change since the Republican rout had left President Barack Obama without a policy. Soon she was off to the Port of Melbourne where she extolled shipments of American tractors, giant mining tip-trucks and Harley-Davidson motorcycles as symbols of trade ties, and on again to the Shrine of Remembrance to place a wreath.
Hillary shows why she's a 24/7 politician
So much so, that there was surprisingly little criticism in the Oz blogosphere. Nevertheless, a number of diverse themes were raised by Australian bloggers.
A sleeper issue with an improbable connection was raised by Dan Cass:
When asked why the US wants access to military bases, Mrs Clinton answered that climate change will create security threats in the region.
This was not just rhetoric. As I have written before, American liberals are successfully starting to reframe national security in environmental terms.
Hillary Clinton, climate security and Australia-US military discussions
US born academic, Harry Melkonian, currently works and blogs in Australia. In a post for the ABC’s Unleashed he heaped praise on Clinton:
…the success and smoothness of her visit cannot be entirely separated from the mauling the Obama administration took at the polls last week.
…She has all the ease of a politician working a crowd and is not cowed by academics or experts because she knows that she is every bit as bright as anyone else. In short, she understands people and power even in the elevated world of foreign ministers.
American asset: Clinton's hidden talent
Rollo, at Horse – Intelligent Commentary for a Stupid World, is concerned that Barack Obama has not shown the flag here yet:
Ms Clinton seems to think that the United States and Australian relationship is somehow one of the US's “core partnerships”. Something however doesn't quite add up here thought. Namely, why is it that Hilary Clinton of all people is the one to say that the US-Oz relationship is a “core partnership”? If it really was so important, wouldn't it have been the President himself to say that?
Hillary thinks that the US and Oz is a “core partnership”
This criticism of Obama’s absence came after Hillary denied any ambitions to run for the Presidency in 2012 or 2016 during her New Zealand stopover. Kevin Rudd also copped flak for appearing too Prime Ministerial.
Meghan Lodwick, a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University, is co-editor of upstart . Upstart is a ‘site for emerging journalists’. Her report on Clinton’s forum with young people focused on social media.
Outlining an agenda for forward deployment in response to natural disasters, Clinton believes a global network will help in relief as ‘disintegration is matched with integration.’
Perhaps the key to that is connectivity and the importance of young voices entering the public through platforms like social media or the town-hall style meeting Clinton conducted in Melbourne last Sunday morning.
Hillary Clinton addresses social media
A video of the forum is here.
It will be fascinating to see the reception Barack Obama gets from the Australian blogosphere when he finally visits down under.