Foreign Affair – The train wreck that is foreign affairs since Abbott and Bishop took control

Posted: November 28, 2013 in Politics, World News and Events

In running this great nation of ours there are three top jobs in Australian politics. One of these is clearly the Prime Minister the other two would be the Treasurer and the Foreign Minister.

When it comes to Treasurers we have clearly drawn the short straw.

Joe Hockey spent the last few years telling us all how bad debt was when Labor held the purse strings. However debt under Labor meant all sorts of things such as coming out of the Global Financial Crisis in relatively fine form, certainly better than most. We were seeing a first class National Broadband Network being built, a National Disability Insurance Scheme kicked off, major GONSKI reforms in education as well as a raft of other improvements.

Under Joe Hockey we are seeing debt continue to rise and what do we have to show for that?

The NBN downgraded and stopped, and jobs being lost all over the country in the public and private sectors, and now the GONSKI reforms being taken away.

Now Joe Hockey wants to lift our credit limit because he is going to blow the one that was in place under Labor.

Only under a Coalition do cuts cost money.

Damn, I shouldn't have said "reduce debt" when I meant increase debt...

Damn, I shouldn’t have said “reduce debt” when I meant increase debt…

However it is foreign affairs I wanted to look at the new governments performance on today as the way a government handles important relationships shines a light on how capable that government is of handling itself.

Right from the outset we knew foreign affairs wasn’t going to be a strong suit for an Abbott led government when Abbott himself made a monumental blunder himself just over a month after taking office.

The nation that Abbott decided to upset was quite a significant one, The United States Of America.

The US had what could be described as a fantastic relationship with Australia. The relationship between Obama and Gillard in particular was extremely close.

Tony Abbott decided to cheapen that relationship by branding the government that had seen so much progress with the US as “whacko” in an interview for the Washington Post. Even worse, he made his childish and ridiculous comments whilst in America.

Abbott describes Obama's friend Julia as "whacko"... That will go down well Tony

Abbott describes Obama’s friend Julia as “whacko”… That will go down well Tony

More recently there have been several other significant events that further show the skill, the subtlety, the discretion, and the capabilities of this government went it comes to foreign diplomacy.

$10 Million dollars may sound like a lot of money to some, but to a nation that has just been hit with a typhoon of epic proportions it doesn’t seem like a great deal coming from a rich nation such as Australia.

Yet in 2010 we provided Haiti with $26.2 Million after a devastating eathquake, after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia John Howard rightly thought that $1 Billion was an appropriate amount to donate towards the recovery effort, and after flooding hit Pakistan in 2010 killing over 1600 the Australian Government donated $35 Million.

Despite previous generosity and compassion  the new regime under Tony Abbott only see fit to donate $10 Million to the Philippines, one of our neighbours, despite the death toll being well over 10,000 and according to Care Australia over 13 Million people affected.

Many have suggested that climate change may have been a factor in the Philippines killer typhoon, so it was fitting that the United Nations were holding negotiations on a global climate treaty.

Looking for the bodies of family members in the Philippines after the deadly typhoon

Looking for the bodies of family members in the Philippines after the deadly typhoon

There was hardly a dry eye in the house as  Naderev Saño representing the Philippines told delegates he would be going on a hunger strike in honour of the typhoons victims until a “meaningful outcome is in sight”, as details of the scale of the disaster and the death toll were coming to light.

The Government Minister representing Australia may well have been one of those shedding a tear, but Australia became one of the worlds laughing stocks by not even sending a Minister. Instead we were labelled as obstructionist, winning the “Fossil Of The Day” award on day one. The award is given by the Climate Action Network to the country that has done the most to block progress.

Although given Greg Hunts reputation on Wikipedia maybe we were spared further embarrassment by not sending the Minister.

Hunt

Another event that has seen Australia falter on the international stage was the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Sri Lanka recently.

Despite the event being boycotted by several counties including Canada due to allegations of Sri Lankan war crimes including genocide and torture, Tony Abbott thought it was appropriate to attend.

Also attending was British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who despite attending the CHOGM event was scathing in his condemnation of Sri Lanka for its failure to address war crime allegations. Cameron stated that he would do whatever is within his power to see that those responsible are held to account for their actions.

By contrast Tony Abbott when asked about the torture of Sri Lankan civilians stated in a response that would have made Saddam Hussein, Dick Cheney and Josef Mengele proud;

“We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

The worlds administrators of torture must be pleased to hear Tony Abbott defending their positions.

Tony Abbott topped this off by giving the Sri Lankans two navy patrol boats similar to the ones the Sri Lankan Navy had used to gun down civilians on a beach only a few years ago.

Our gift of military equipment to a nation the UN are calling on to be investigated for war crimes totalled $2 Million. In perspective that is 20% of what we sent to the Philippines to rebuild lives rather than destroy them.

Abbott’s justification for this blood stain on our history is that it may protect us from the evil scourge of asylum seekers seeking to flee oppression.

When it comes to asylum seekers the Coalitions policy could not be more in tatters with Scott Morrison proving once and for all that sheer arrogance will never out-trump epic failure.

Scott Morrison looks for signs when deciding on new ways to deal with asylum seekers

Scott Morrison looks for signs when deciding on new ways to deal with asylum seekers

Even Attorney General George Brandis put it kindly when he told Penny Wong in a Senate hearing regarding the absolute mess we find our relationship with Indonesia in courtesy of our new inept government;

“Unless you have been elsewhere in the Solar System for the last few days you would be aware that this is a very delicate time in the bi-lateral relationship”

Well another way of putting it is that our relationship with Indonesia has gone down the toilet and we are left desperately looking for a plunger.

As the boats have continued to arrive, and as Indonesia has continued to not allow boats to be turned around as Abbott and Morrison promised they would be during their election campaigns, the relationship with Indonesia sinks deeper and deeper into the murky depths of a third-world sewer after a long bout of dysentery.

Abbott found out that unlike the press here, the Indonesian press don’t like it when on matters of asylum seekers things are kept secret. So when Tony Abbott locked the Indonesian press out of a press conference he held in Indonesia he didn’t make a lot of new friends.

The recent drama’s involving Australia’s tapping of the Indonesian Presidents phone as well as that of his wife have been handled in a manner that has been less than perfect. In fact it has been handled with about as much skill and professionalism as a crack addict performing brain surgery whist going cold-turkey.

Abbott apologising for President  Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s embarrassment after the phone hacking was revealed was just daft. We should be embarrassed not him, we were the ones caught doing something.

As one would expect, Abbott’s comments went down in Indonesia like a fart in a phone box, protests outside our embassy, Australian flags burning, and Indonesia pulled its ambassador out of Australia. Good job Tony.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was queried on how much faith he has in Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was queried on how much faith he has in Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop

Since then Abbott has sent President Yudhoyono a letter that was to improve things and help put our relationship back on track.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor’s tweets comparing high ranking Indonesian government members to porn stars I’m sure did not assist discussions.

Clearly Abbott is as good at writing as he is at keeping promises as further diplomatic ties and joint exercises have been cut since Yudhoyono received the letter, and now Indonesia is even looking for somewhere else to buy its beef from.

Our Foreign Minister Julie “Blue Dust” Bishop has seemed to have been kept out of the Indonesia ruckus, maybe Abbott thinks it’s a job for a man, however “Blue Dust” Bishop has been left to explain yet another questionable foreign policy decision that was kept quiet and caught most off-guard when it was uncovered.The decision I speak of is to change our countries position on a United Nations order to stop “all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories”.

This decision to tacitly support the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians is a decision to join 8 other nations who share the position, and to oppose the position of 158 countries who support the order.

While a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict is something that most hope to see achieved, under the Coalition Australia now supports Israel in its acts designed to deliberately inflame the situation and encourage conflict.

If you think that this is all depressing news, spare a thought for Colin Russell.

Colin Russell is an Australian Greenpeace activist who was arrested for hooliganism during a protest at sea over the first Russian Arctic drilling rig in the Pechora Sea.

No matter what your thoughts on the protest, one thing is for sure, Colin Russell is an Australian citizen in need of some help.

Of the 30 activists arrested 29 have been released and are probably home relaxing after their ordeal, this leaves Colin Russell all on his lonesome.

Those wondering why Colin is the only one left to languish in a Russian cell the answer is simple. It is not because Colin is a member of Pussy Riot, it is because he is Australian. While other countries like Sweden and Britain have ensured that their citizens have been released by diplomatic measures, Australia has not cared. Perhaps Julie Bishop was having her hair done?

Due to failing so badly in her current role, Julie Bishop has decided to audition to sell exercise equipment on morning television

Due to failing so badly in her current role, Julie Bishop has decided to audition to sell exercise equipment on morning television

Whatever the reasons, something needs to be done to ensure that Colin Russell is released urgently.

All of these foreign affair failings have happened over a three-month period, one can only imagine the carnage we will be facing after three years.

In fact as I write this details have emerged of Julie Bishop not understanding diplomacy and calling in the Chinese ambassador, a serious move in China’s eyes. Bishop’s office have called him in to discuss an air-space dispute China is having with Japan. The way Bishop has handled this now threatens our relationship with China with the Chinese quick to condemn Bishop’s actions.

Also the anger is starting to heat up over another spy scandal with East Timor, where Timor claims phone taps were used during negotiations over the Timor Sea Resources Treaty in 2004. East Timor has likened this latest scandal to insider trading, and is pursuing international arbitration to have the 2006 Treaty overturned.

The government is yet to provide an adequate response.

When the Coalition formed government we were told that the adults were back in charge.

If this is the adults then we want the kids back.

Quickly.

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Comments
  1. hilderombout says:

    What can we say. I feel ashamed to be Australian right now, even more so than when John Howard was in charge. How will we ever get out of the mess that this bunch in power is creating for us? I despair.

  2. Stuart Dean says:

    Two words explain the behaviour of this govt. and the voters, unfortunately. “Cognitive Dissonance”. Yes, I’m proud to be an Australian, because I didn’t vote for this mob, they are not recognised by me.

  3. M. R. says:

    Come come! – not more so: that’s impossible. I was going to emigrate if the little bastard got re-elected … But, come to think of it, it’s remotely possible that these halfwits will come up with enough handouts for the greedy that they might even get … no. No. NO! Hara kiri.

  4. Angie says:

    if this is the mess this embarrassing, lying, secretive ‘adult’ government has put Australia in over just 11 weeks then what the hell is going to happen over the next 2 years 9 months? The world is turning against us and laughing.

    It’s very frightening!

  5. musteryou says:

    Well they’re patriarchal masculinists, so by definition they are adult, no matter how poorly they behave, or do you suggest the Australian voting public got it wrong?

  6. Chris Carstairs-Prott says:

    Bishop and Abbott were lovers …………….. very true. Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 00:53:30 +0000 To: chris_c-p@hotmail.com

  7. Fed up says:

    That photo says it all.

  8. allenmcmahon says:

    Be fair in gaining his boxing ‘blue’ Abbott had to have been hit in the head a fair bit, not enough in my opinion but I am probably biased, so the odd lapse is not unexpected. At least as a pugilist he would know that you should never fight way outside your weight division and that is why he hasn’t … oh. dear! he has.

  9. Gael McLeod says:

    Sad but true…’I told you so’ is getting very old right now… Most Australian have been round the block before, those who voted for this government must have wanted this carnage.

  10. rwthorne says:

    When I think of Colin Russell in that Russian gaol I remember how Abbott upset Putin by turning up late to his birthday bash on Abbott’s first overseas trip after the election. There was a great picture of Putin turning his back on our PM. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that was the reason an Aussie is the only one of that group still in prison. After all Putin is a lot like Abbott in some ways: all muscle and show, and quite vindictive in his actions.
    What did upset me was hearing Abbott talking about his meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi today as though were both champions of democracy. I don’t think so! She’s trying to bring democracy to her country, Abbott is trying to trash it in his!
    The thought of Julie Bishop making such a fundamental error in calling in the Chinese ambassador just horrifies me. Are they trying to start a war?

  11. rwthorne says:

    rwthorne is actually Margaret McMillan in disguise! I must have logged in under an old username.

  12. Cathy says:

    If the current government has it’s way, Australia can expect to have no sovereign rights left by the time they’re done…that Abbott is deciding our fate with regards to the TPP frightens me more than anything has, ever…

    http://campaigns.greens.org.au/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1792&ea.campaign.id=23574&ea.tracking.id=grns

    • owen1967 says:

      as much as we all wish otherwise, the ALP was on track to slide the TPP through so it’s not a coalition / Abbott thing … the (almost secret – thanks to wikileaks) secret deals were already done before the election … disgraceful – yes … and on the part of both major parties.

      just another opportunity to launder more taxpayer money into the pockets of specially selected big business … with interest … which i why the debt ceiling was raised …

      good job Peter – a story worth telling … and it read well.

  13. Is it any wonder that when you enter the phrase serial buffoon into Google, Joe Hockey features prominently.

  14. Josephine Dudson says:

    the only one positive thing I read here is that Indonesia may not want our live exported animals, one small hope for them, but I am sure this Govt will wreck that hope as well…

  15. So many inaccuracies in the one place…

    1, Australia suffered one single quarter of GDP contraction as a result of the GFC, Australia was largely insulated from the effects of the GFC for two very important reasons, neither of which were related to any stimulus spending. Firstly, Australia had arguably the best banking controls in the world along side Canada, as a result there was no market panic generated by the fear that they would collapse. Secondly, Australia’s current economic framework is geared for trade with Asia and not the US or Europe, thanks largely to China continuing to post GDP growth numbers of 7+% creating a resource boom our terms of trade actually reached their best ever position. The Australian Government could have spend a tenth of what they did and it the end result would have been the same.

    2, Yes debt does continue to rise, in line with the budget that was passed by both houses of parliament under the previous government. Seeing as this government has yet to introduce a spending bill only the recapitalisation of the RBA is all the current government is responsible for.

    3, If anyone had read the last budget passed by the previous government they’d have realised that it exceeded the debt ceiling substantially and the spending contained over the forward estimates period would have likely reached a new debt ceiling of $400,000,000,000. In-fact had the ALP been re-elected it would have passed 10 straight deficit budgets in a row and still wouldn’t have fixed the underlying structural issues.

    4, One must remember that the previous government borrowed $250,000,000,000 (with a further $100,000,000,000 debt required to meet its funding commitments) whilst simultaneously enjoying the greatest revenue boom in Australia’s history, in-fact no other government in our history ever had so much money.

    5, Abbott’s “whacko” comments made in the US of A barely rated a mention in their media and certainly didn’t offend anyone of any importance in that country. I appears it mainly offended and upset the sensitive ALP voting types who gravitate towards employment at the ABC more than anything else.

    6, Australia has made an initial funding pledge of $10,000,000 but will also make available any other funds their government requests. Australia is also providing other humanitarian services along with a great raft of other nations.

    7, The death toll hasn’t reached 10,000 and as far as typhoons go even if it did reach a 100 times that it still wouldn’t have been as deadly as the Bangladeshi typhoon.

    8, As far as making some link to climate change, complete nonsense, there have been many far more powerful storms to ravage parts of Asia throughout history.

    9, Considering the media in Australia failing to even report on the absurd hypocrisy of India boycotting CHOHM in Sri Lanka on based on that country’s human rights record when it was the armed forces of India who at times actively participated in those very same acts against the Tamil minority says more about the media and the discussion in Australia than anything Abbott did or didn’t do.

    10, The two vessels in question are not and never have been property of the Royal Australian Navy, they’re operated by Customs. In-fact they were meant to be retired and scrapped in 2010 but the then government forgot to release a tendering process for their replacement till after the vessel’s due retirement debate. So, if the previous government actually did their job these vessels would have been aluminium cans by now, not being gifted to a 3rd world state to save us the cost of their disposal.

    11, We torture people, we torture people every day, we actually have special facilities with specially trained people for the purposes of torture. Certain members of the ADF go through counter-torture training, which involves being tortured. Torture is a fact of war, you can either continue to gripe about it or get on with life. Also, Australia and its governments going back to the 1970s have accepted the abysmal behaviour of the Indonesian Government in its territories, don’t see anyone here denouncing Keating for continuing to negotiate oil and gas deals with Indonesia whilst it carried out genocide policies in East Timor and West Papua, where such policies continue. We also have a long standing tradition of giving that country military equipment and training, and I don’t recall anyone howling down the previous government’s decision to gift Indonesia C-130s.

    12, Abbott is hamstrung by convention, there is not a great deal he can or can’t say regarding intelligence matters. Secondly, why should we be embarrassed that we were caught spying? Indonesia has been caught spying on us on a number of occasions and quite frankly we handled those occasions with far more restraint and dignity than what Indonesia is doing now. In-fact, the Indonesian government is milking this for internal political reasons, our government understands this and so does everyone else, well, apart from those of a certain voting persuasion it appears.

    13, People should already be protesting our military relationship with Indonesia over their treatment of the West Papuan people, or, maybe genocide is acceptable when we’re being paid to keep quiet?

    14, Beef sales have actually increased, Australia is the largest beef exporter in the world, even if Indonesia wanted to buy beef from somewhere else it is unlikely they could.

    15, There will never be a two state solution, so get over it.

    16, Russel was afforded far more consular assistance than was required and far more than the previous government gave to anyone who wasn’t a pleasant looking white woman caught in some third world state.

    17, Virtually no-one gets bail in Russia, Russel didn’t get bail because the judge he faced has likely never given anyone else bail either. The lack of understanding regarding the legal system in Russia is acceptable, what isn’t is the media failing to research it.

    18, We asked and quite rightly so why China extended its air boundary unilaterally and over territory it does not control, we were right to do so and just because China makes us a lot of money is no excuse to keep quiet when they do something wrong. The US of A, Japan and South Korea responded by flying military aircraft through that airspace without warning as other Asian countries also voice their concerns over China’s actions. In-fact, Australia took the calmer leadership role on this issue, for that you should thank Bishop.

    19, The way the media portrays anything China says or does in Australia says more about their latent cowardice and lack of moral conviction than it does about China and our inter-governmental relationships.

    20, We spy on people, get over it. Australia is part of the greatest intelligence gathering enterprise ever undertaken in the history of humanity. We spy on every country on Earth, allies and foes alike, and most of whom spy on us in return. It keeps us all that much safer, and no we don’t have a right to know what they do or why, and sometimes it is better not to know. If E Snowdon was a Russian or Chinese turn-coat spy he’d be dead by now, so he can be thankful that those in the West lost their back-bone a long time ago.

    • wixxy says:

      I’m not going to even bother pointing out all the crap in your arguments as it would take too long.

      It would seem everything is the former govts fault or the press misreporting

      Your cavalier attitude towards loss of life and the torture of citizens probably goes a long way to explaining your point of view and political allegiances

      • Everything in my comment was factually accurate, and I was being generous at stopping at the 20 obvious mistakes in your post. The fact that you were wrong on so much says more about your political allegiances than it does mine for pointing them out.

        There is nothing cavalier about my view in regards to the torture of anyone, only the acceptance that unless you’re willing to engage in military adventures there is nothing you can do to stop it from having, And since the ADF was neutered a long time ago (much like their political leaders) I suggest we’re left with a far more pragmatic foreign relations reality, that being we accept the past and move on.

        Should we stop trade with China because it tortures people? Should we raise their record on torture at every meeting? Or would that be problematic? Maybe we should continue to raise Indonesia’s pathetic human rights record at every meeting? Or would that be problematic?

        I suggest it is you that have the cavalier attitude towards torture, or a rather, a very selective outrage regarding torture especially when there is money to be had.

      • wixxy says:

        I wear my political allegiances on my sleeve, I don’t think anybody who reads my posts is under any illusions there.

        Where did money come into the conversation????

      • Only supplying a reason for why it is ok to criticise Sri Lanka but not China, both are equally repugnant but according to you we should be all over Sri Lanka but not criticise China.

        Is it money? Or is it something else?

      • wixxy says:

        That’s a fair question, I can tell you on my part it’s not money, I sure as hell don’t get any…

        I don’t think we have the info on China, and that is a seperate issue again I think

        However the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989 certainly did have governments condemning them all over the world.

        I also note the Australian government did not give them tanks as gifts a few years later either…

      • Australia had three decades (as did the British) to intervene in the Sri Lankan civil war and chose not to, so it is a bit rich to start complaining about it now. And pointless, Sri Lanka couldn’t care less for our opinion and it would be an insult to the many thousands of dead Tamils to start moralising after the shooting has stopped.

        We’ve given Indonesia plenty of military equipment, should we ask for it back?

  16. EXCELLENT SUMMARY of our already ‘Fossilised Government’. What a huge embarrassment to Australia these amateur buffoons are. who voted for them?? Noone ever seems to own up. Only positive is the news on GRAINCORP – Aussies wouldn’t let Pope Abbott & Co sell off the Farm. Democracy at work, albeit minimally !

  17. Reblogged this on Universic Times and commented:
    EXCELLENT SUMMARY on the failings of Australia’s new pre-fossilised government on the international stage. Embarrassment to Oz citizens on a buffoonic scale!

  18. ' george hanson ' says:

    @ revolutionary citizen …..I need a job …can i help look after your flock of ROLLERS , LAMBOS , and FEZZA’s as you seem to be on the money . POgge Ma HONE !

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