According to the government Tony Abbott is a “mouse“, even though he is also a “bully boy”, because he allegedly failed to raise his policy of towing back refugee boats with the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhyono.
Given Labor’s disastrous handling of our relations with our nearest large neighbour, it’s not surprising that they don’t understand subtlety.
They should talk to some of our readers. Dr Tony Young (no relation writes):
I don’t often communicate, but this is so striking that I wanted to put my thoughts on paper.
First, the President of Indonesia does NOT normally extend a personal audience with the Leader of the Opposition, but he did with Abbott – presumably because the Indonesians look on him as the next PM of Australia.
Second, the Indonesians already know Abbott’s stance on boat people and there was no reason for him to raise the matter. There were plenty of other very important matters that needed clarification.
Third, Gillard is now becoming what I can only call neurotic and psychotic with respect to her attitude to Abbott.
If he had raised the matter of the boat people with the Indonesian President, Gillard would have called it an attempt to usurp her power; since Abbott didn’t, she now calls him a coward. In other words, he’s damned if he does and also if he doesn’t.
This is vile behaviour …
Which makes me wonder whether journalists ought to report the government lines as they are, because they are designed to deflect debate away from the things that matter.
Our relations with Indonesia are much more than a policy to tow boats back, a policy which has been implemented before, and supported in the past by both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.
The government is running distractions. Surely it is the job of good journalism to ignore the distractions.
When you are looking for reasons why Australian public debate is the mess it is, you need look no further than the dereliction of duty of the media gate keepers whose habitual reflex is a fast twitch to a government media release.