Author(s): Stephen Fitzgerald
Modern Australia was in part defined by its early embrace of China. A turning from the White Australia Policy of the 1950s to to the country's acceptance of Asian immigration and engagement with Asian neighbours. It saw the far-sighted establishment of an embassy in Beijing in the 1970s by Gough Whitlam. Stephen FitzGerald's own story is interwoven with the wider one of this dramatic change in Australia's history, as diplomat, China scholar, adviser to Gough Whitlam, first ambassador to China under prime ministers Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser. Comrade Ambassador also highlights the challenge Australia faces in managing itself into an Asian future.
Stephen FitzGerald began his career as a diplomat, became an academic, was China adviser to Gough Whitlam, and from 1973 to 1976 FitzGerald was Australia's first ambassador to the People's Republic of China. In 1980 he established the first private consultancy for Australian business and government in China. He is currently a Board Member of the independent public policy initiative, China Matters, and an Honorary Fellow at the China Studies Centre at Sydney University.