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Rudd damaged Asian relationships: Packer

Posted by: Matt Cram | 8 April, 2014 - 11:58 AM
James Packer says

Powerful billionaire businessman James Packer has essentially labelled Australia's visa process racist.

In a wide-ranging interview during his Asian tour with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and other business heavyweights, Mr Packer also accused former PM Kevin Rudd of damaging ties with our neighbours.

On visas, Australia's second-richest man said Australia was behind the times and gave preferential treatment to English-speaking visitors.

"I don't think the Cold War is still going," the casino mogul told Neil Mitchell.

"Why would it be any harder for a Chinese citizen to get a visa to visit Australia than it would be for an American citizen to get a visa to visit Australia?

"I don't think it makes sense that visa application forms in China should be filled out in English and I don't think it makes sense that they have to be done through the post.

"There's a new world out there."

Meanwhile, Mr Packer said Mr Abbott had to work hard to recover lost ground in Australia's relationships with several Asian countries.

"That's my personal view, Neil. And again I wish Kevin Rudd well, but that's my personal view - that relationships in China went backwards, and Indonesia and India.

"I think the Prime Minister making Asia ... his first big trip in his Prime Ministership ... is again showing that the interaction with Asia is going to be key to Australia's economic future.

"It's not about minimising or reducing or throwing away past relationships - our relationship with America and our relationship with England are priceless and should be treasured and maintained and kept.

"But it doesn't mean we have to take sides and it doesn't mean we can't make new friends."

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