Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday asserted that “we are a country of laws” and people should not take the law into their own hands. There was no direct reference in his comment to any concern that aggrieved Indians in Australia might retaliate, following the latest attack on four of them.
The comment, however, attracted attention, as he had earlier warned against vigilante-style retaliation to a series of attacks on Indian students.
Mr. Rudd was responding to a question from the media after announcing two key diplomatic appointments. He was asked: “What’s your message to people who might take the law into their own hands?”
His response was: “Firstly, people should not. This is a law-abiding country. We are a country of laws, and even when the laws are uncomfortable for the nation, the laws are there for a purpose, and that is for all citizens to adhere to them.”
Mr. Rudd was speaking in the presence of Foreign Minister Stephen Smith; and his answer forms part of the ministerial transcript of the entire press conference.
In another development, amid Australia’s efforts to project itself as a safe place for foreign students, especially Indians, Trade Minister Simon Crean announced plans for a new international brand for the country in fields ranging from investment to education.
In a media release on Thursday, Mr. Crean asked Australia’s “best creative minds” to help “redefine and enhance” the country’s “global image.” He said the objective was to “build a contemporary national brand.”
The effort was designed to capture “the essence of Australia – not just a great place to visit but a great place to live, work, and invest – a trusted trading partner and a great place to pursue an education.”