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Julia Gillard is learning some important people building skills on the run. Speaking to Australian media yesterday in Bali she said, ”I am someone who will shake a hand, kiss a cheek, put an arm around a  shoulder. That’s just me”.

”So there is no reason why you would be any different when you’re meeting  President Obama or walking through a shopping centre and saying a warm hello to  someone you come across.”

Often accused of being wooden since seizing the top job, she is now being  criticised for displays of personal chemistry, kisses on the cheek with Mr Obama  or other tactile affections.

But Ms Gillard describes it as her personal style of diplomacy.

”It’s about relationships between people – how you are reacting and talking  in that summit, or that bilateral discussion, or over that cup of coffee or  lunch or dinner – with a leader whose nation is important to our country’s  future,” she said.

”Certainly as Prime Minister, I am now dealing with leaders that I have seen  on many occasions. You would expect that your personal relationship grows”.

It’s positive to witness the PM’s new diplomatic skills; Australian leaders need to be a walking example of strong leadership in all aspects; not just words but also the visual.

The Asian century demands that we stand out and claim our rightful position as one of the leaders in the region. The PM’s new style is a good start. The polls agree.