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What Kevin Rudd's Australia Win Means

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Australia's Shadow Climate Change Minister and former Midnight Oil Singer Peter Garrett

Australia's election that has today elevated the Labor Party to majority status and Kevin Rudd to succeed the conservative John Howard may signal a major shift ahead in America's political order.

In the past, American elections that were the result of large political currents here also were reflected in political outcomes elsewhere. Bill Clinton and the early Tony Blair come to mind. So do George Bush and the now ousted Shinzo Abe.

But political currents elsewhere may also anticipate currents in the U.S. Gordon Brown in the UK and now Kevin Rudd in Australia may be good predictors that the next U.S. president will be a Democrat (or Independent if Bloomberg enters the race). However, Sarkozy's win in France though does pose a counter point, or at least a speedbump, to that prediction.

Beyond ending the lockstep dance between George Bush and John Howard, Kevin Rudd's win also means that Peter Garrett, former lead singer for Midnight Oil, will be Australia's next Climate Change Minister -- and Kim Beazley, former head of the Labor Party, will most likely be the next Australian Ambassador to the United States.

I think Beazley will become a real force in Washington circles and will be welcomed enthusiastically. I know he'll throw great parties.

And on climate change policy, I've never heard anyone more articulate and compelling than Peter Garrett who I met and listened to carefully last September in Melbourne.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note