AUSTRALIA is a founding member of the world's new premier forum for global governance and economic management, which has been finalised at the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Pittsburgh.

In a stunning transformation in the past year of the global financial crisis, the G20 group of finance ministers, originally formed to fight the Asian financial crisis, has evolved into the world's leading economic forum and eclipsed the powerful G8 - the world's eight richest nations - as the pivot of economic decision-making.

On his arrival in Pittsburgh from the UN in New York, an ebullient Kevin Rudd said "the G20 has...

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