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Czechmated into irrelevance

By Thom Woodroofe - posted Monday, 15 August 2011

It was about time the Czech President got back to, you know, some governing?

Václav Klaus delivered the last of his pocket-lining lectures previously this month in Brisbane before packing his bags for the long flight back to the Czech Republic.

The two-week visit to Australia was probably the closest thing the two-term President and former Prime Minister often called, "the Margaret Thatcher of Central Europe", has come to a holiday in some time.


Swinging through Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Coolum he has certainly got a taste for the country with people forking out $180 along the way to hear him speak.

And thanks to the Institute of Public Affairs, it hasn't cost him a cent!

The draw card for Klaus was his view that "global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so" which formed the basis of his book Modrá, nikoli zelená planeta or in English, 'Blue Planet in Green Shackles'.

Klaus' visit is another example of Australia's curious and peculiar interest in entertaining the thoughts of people widely discredited in the rest of the world for their views; quite literally putting their names on the map and their bank balances in the black in the process.

These visits are now almost weekly rituals with Christopher Monckton in town before Klaus, and Nigel Lawson, a former Thatcher Chancellor in town in this week.

And just as Monckton is often wrongly credited as a 'Lord', Klaus is often called a 'Professor of Economics'.


In reality, while Klaus does have a degree in economics he cut short an academic career for a curious job with the State Bank forty years ago, only receiving the title 'Professor' when filling out the application for an honorary degree himself as Prime Minister in 1995.

But it is probably a testament to the lunacy of Klaus' views that the greatest headline his visit sparked occurred when he was denied entry to Parliament House without a security check.

And probably rightly so!

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About the Author

Thom Woodroofe, 21, is a foreign affairs analyst combining journalism, research, teaching and community work to advance an understanding of Australia's place in the world.

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