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12 Oct 2022, 0910 hrs

Keynote: Hon. Mr. Tony Abbott, Fr. Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia

On-Stage talk with Glenn van Zutphen, Founder & CEO, Van Media Group (Singapore)

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has underlined the importance of political communication for all spheres of politics at the second Asian Conference for Political Communication (ACPC) held in Singapore on 12 October 2022.

As the keynote speaker at the #ACPC22, Mr Abbott said that his own recipe for political communication has always been to “say what you think and do what you say.”

At the event organised by the Singapore-based Media Programme Asia of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Mr Abbott said at the heart of leadership is “clear and effective communication that leads to effective and credible action designed to bring about desirable results”.

“Where are we at our most persuasive? When we know the facts, when we tell the truth as we see it, and we obviously believe whatever it is we say,” Mr Abbott said.

“People who want to practice effective leadership have to face uncomfortable truths,” he pointed out.

The Asian Conference for Political Communication 2022 has brought together over 200 influencers from the academia, politics and government to talk about challenges on social media, discuss the odds and threats of #twiplomacy, analyse the phenomena of rising populism and watch the hottest tools for e-campaigning. 

KAS, a political foundation from Germany, is committed to democracy, human rights, free markets and the freedom of word.

The participants represent 40 countries including India, Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

At the event, Mr Abbott criticised with strong words the Russian invasion in Ukraine, pointing out that he was not surprised at the move.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has been saying that the breakup of the USSR is the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century”, Mr Abbott said, adding, “We make the mistake of not believing what dictators tell us”. 

Mr Abbott said the same could be said of China, warning that “we have to expect that if the time is right, China will move on the free democracy” of 23 million people that is Taiwan.

He recounted his meeting with Putin about the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by a surface-to-air missile in 2014 to talk about possible reparations for the families of the victims.

The Russian President in turn told Mr Abbott, “You are not a native Australian, but I am a native Russian”. That, Mr Abbott said, showed how “irrational” Putin’s approach to Ukraine has been.

The former Australian prime minister further said that if Ukraine wins the war with Russia, “it will be a story for the ages that was shaped and sustained by political communication of the highest possible order”.

Mr Abbott further mentioned political communicators who “changed the world”, including Ronald Reagan.

“Everytime we are tempted to take the timid course… I think we should remember Ronald Regan who said the future belongs to the brave,” Mr Abbott said.

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fr. Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia
Van Media Group, Singapore