In the last few days, Tony Abbott delivered two key speeches on his foreign policy tour of America and China, and they gave a clear indication where his loyalties lie.
In his keynote address in Beijing, he boldly urged the Chinese Communist party to undertake political reform to match its economic reform. He also signalled a tough new test on Chinese investment in Australia if he were to win government.
"It would rarely be in Australia’s national interest to allow a foreign government or its agencies to control an Australian business," he said. "We don’t support the nationalization of business by the Australian government, let alone by a foreign one."
Few political leaders have spoken so unequivocally on China in recent times.
The contrast to his earlier speech to America's Heritage Foundation was significant. "The United States and Australia," he said, "are separate legal entities but few Australians would regard America as a foreign country. We are more than allies, we’re family."
"The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has revealed a bold new style of foreign policy that challenges the Chinese Communist Party to loosen its iron grip on political power. He also signalled a more interventionist approach to Chinese investment in Australia and Chinese territorial muscle flexing in regional waters. Mr Abbott's promise of a more assertive policy on China enables him to define himself as a values-driven leader, far from the fray of the domestic carbon debate. But it risks major turbulence in what has become Australia's dominant economic relationship."
"An alleged Canadian spy has compromised Australian intelligence information in an international espionage case that has sent shock waves through Western security agencies. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a naval officer, is alleged to have disclosed a vast trove of classified information to Russian agents on a scale comparable to the alleged handover to WikiLeaks of United States military and diplomatic reports by US Army private Bradley Manning."
"Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has accused Premier Campbell Newman of being irresponsible by saying Queensland cannot afford to contribute to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. On Tuesday Mr Newman warned that Queensland did not have the money to fund the scheme … '"
"Events of the past 10 days affirm that public destabilisation of Julia Gillard's leadership is institutionalised, which has two results: it further guarantees Gillard cannot recover in the polls, but it cannot alone meet Kevin Rudd's core requirement for his return to power. Labor risks being torn apart. Emotions and animosities are getting hotter."
"If Julia Gillard could have found a handy time warp around Sydney's Fox movie studios, she would have crawled into it."