Kevin Rudd
(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Kevin Rudd has landed back in Australia with a splash to set up a Melbourne outpost of the US-based Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

Rudd, as ASPI's president, managed to nab the services of former senior Australian diplomats Richard Maude and Patrick Suckling as senior fellows.

The funding of the ASPI has been connected to senior Chinese government-linked figures and apologists, as well as firms with Chinese interests. This has long raised questions with critics over the institute's ability to be balanced on China.