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More Labor sins haunting the Abbott Government


The current crisis, courtesy of The Guardian newspaper and its source Edward Snowden, has brought out of the woodwork all sorts of advice to the new federal government. One of the more bizarre ideas came from former foreign minister Bob Carr. He suggested Julie Bishop should fly to Jakarta and apologise to the Indonesians. I hope she doesn’t. That’s an absurd suggestion. It would undermine once and for all the age-old policy of neither confirm nor deny. And if The Guardian publishes another allegation, does she apologise again? Or if the allegation is serious, but false, how does she start explaining why she won’t apologise? You see the point. The Carr formula is a formula that could unravel our intelligence capabilities. As Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten should dissociate himself from this nonsense. Instead, he seemed yesterday to endorse it.

What is more, neither Bishop nor Tony Abbott was in government at the time of the alleged phone interception. The prime minister was then Kevin Rudd and the foreign and defence ministers were Stephen Smith and John Faulkner, respectively. So if there was any apologising to do, they should do it. For the reasons I’ve mentioned they shouldn’t apologise. They should do nothing.

The Snowden affair is arguably the most serious breach of security in history. It’s certainly a sad indictment of America’s capacity to hang on to its own secrets as well as those of its allies. All this comes so soon after the huge WikiLeaks embarrassment. But it says something about the ideological disposition of the left-wing Guardian that it has shamelessly dribbled out this material to maximise the pain and embarrassment to the Western alliance. That may suit The Guardian but the cost to the national interests of Western countries will be very high. As John Sawers, the head of MI6, told a parliamentary committee last week: “Our adversaries are rubbing their hands with glee, al-Qa’ida is lapping it up.” Perhaps Snowden could now tell us about the intelligence capabilities of his hosts, the Russians.

Alexander Downer was foreign minister from 1996 to 2007.

The anguished cries form the usual suspects insisting that Tony Abbott should “apologise” are about as sensible as they are sincere. Clearly its not really about  our relationship with Indonesia as much as its about seeking vindication for their claims that Tony Abbott is not up to the top job of being our PM.  Once again the current government is being saddled with a mess created on Labor’s watch and the chutzpah of leftist minions chiding Tony Abbott for sticking to the long standing convention about neither confirming or denying anything about intelligence gathering is breathtaking in its opportunistic hypocrisy. Frankly if minions of the left are so keen on an apology to Indonesia then they should be seeking one from Kevin Rudd and or the relevant  former ministers from the class of 2009 when the phone tapping is alleged to have occurred.

As Alexander Downer suggests Tony Abbott should stick to his current position and never “apologise” especially as I am rather inclined to think that Indonesia is more than likely to be attempting to do precisely what it complains about to us. Its much ado about nothing  and as much as it may hurt or beef producers were Indonesia to get up on an even higher horse the reality is that they need and want the “aid” we give them so we have no reason at all to bend the knee to their jumped up and arrogant political class.
Cheers Comrades


  1. […] More Labor sins haunting the Abbott Government (iainhall.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Simon says:

    And isn’t this still just an allegation? You would have thought if the Indonesian Government were a true friend of Australia they would have spoken up in their defence, that they have never had any evidence to share publicly of spying by Australia, and that they can’t believe such actions would have taken place. No, instead there is a call (so to speak) for the Prime Minister to further “kiss the ring” even after he has taken the correct position of hoping there is no embarrassment on the Indonesians part on this story being published and to neither confirm or deny any such security related matters.

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh come on, Iain, Tony Abbott has fluffed his response to Indonesia big time and proved – beyond a shadow of doubt – that he is not up to the job as PM. As if we needed any more proof of that.

    What should he have done? Apologise? Well, sort of. You see, I reckon spying on Indonesia (or keeping them under surveillance) is pretty much a reasonable thing for Australia to do. Abbott agrees with that, obviously. After all, how the hell can you trust a country that (a) is politically corrupt (b) as much as condones terrorism against our citizens (c) freely allows asylum seekers ‘in transit’ to enter their country and arrange passage to Australia and then shuns any responsibility when things go wrong (d) jails our citizens for 20 years on martijuana charges while letting its own citizens walk free?

    Face it, Indonesia might be a country we need to keep on side but you cannot trust them as far as you can throw them. So Rudd’s spying in 2009 was probably a bipartisan thing and not a mess as you seem to imply. It was probably necessary. It’s bloody Indonesia, Iain.

    Anyway, and getting back to what Abbott should have done – it’s easy (if he had a brain). He should simply have said (diplomatically) something like the following:

    1) It didn’t happen under my watch
    2) I don’t condone it
    3) I’m sorry it happened (yes he should have actually apologised on behalf of past governments)
    4) It won’t happen again.

    In other words he should have lied. He owed them no truth, as he said. He just didn’t know how to say it.

    Kevin Rudd would have squashed this issue in 5 minutes flat. Because he was a PM … and Abbott’s not.

  4. GD says:

    Kevin Rudd would have squashed this issue in 5 minutes flat. Because he was a PM … and Abbott’s not.

    Oh come on Ray, get over your man-crush on KRudd. He wasn’t a good prime minister and he was hopeless at foreign affairs.

    Rudd seemed perfectly fitted to lead Australia into the Asian Century…. By the time he left office he had alienated Beijing, Washington and Tokyo all at the same time, and had done nothing to reposition Australia to meet the shifting balance of wealth and power around us.


    Rudd’s record as a foreign policy PM does not live up to the expectations he created with his diplomatic background and fluency in Mandarin. Numerous times he launched grand visions that were shot down through lack of consultation and left Australian relations in the region worse than when he was elected in 2007.

    On the same trip, he floated an ambition to establish a security grouping in Asia, built on the North Korean six-party talks and including Australia, which came to nothing. He offended the Chinese by delivering a speech in Mandarin at Peking University about Tibetan rights and continuing to harp on the topic.

    Rudd later revealed a plan for an Asia-Pacific community so vague and unprepared it died of derision from our neighbours, despite enormous and costly efforts to try to put up a new Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum.


  5. Iain Hall says:

    While I agree that Indonesia is untrustworthy and largely corrupt your prescription for a solution is off the mark. Abbott is doing the right thing now he is sticking to the only valid way to deal with the issue, neither confirming or denying that anything took place under Rudd’s watch. For all of their size they need us far more than we need them because they aspire to emulate the economic powerhouses of India and China but they lack fluency in the international language (English) that India has or the manufacturing infrastructure that China makes the most of. All they have is a large population that they govern badly and they are a Muslim nation to boot which burdens them with a backward culture that is at odds with modernity and gives then a certain arrogance that means that they will never be in the global elite they aspire too. Thus they are very keen to show that they are not the corrupt rabble that we know them to be.

    Finally Rudd was by any measure a very flawed character who would have been apoplectic in his office with indecision over this matter, probably he would be swearing like a warfie at some poor public servant and demanding some paper or report post haste that he would then not even read before producing some embarrassing brain fart public statement that made matters worse. As GD suggest its time for you to get over Rudd mate. he is yesterday’s man and responsible for this mess in the first place.

  6. Richard Ryan says:

    Oh Dear! Now where will America get it’s intelligence on Indonesia. All is not well here in the United States Of Australia, where Indonesia is concerned. Now I am off to tap Abbott’s wife’s phone. Shalom

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, in just a few weeks Abbott has managed to almost totally put Indonesia offside. Admittedly they don’t need much of an excuse to behave like prats (look at that idiot President abusing the Austn PM on Twitter – that’s juvenile) but the fact is we need to keep our ‘friends’ close, lest they become our enemies. As for Indonesia needing us, they only need us as a customer and can easily import or acquire all the other industrial and technological help they need to enter the 21st Century and modernise. So it’s in our interest for Abbott to smooth this over. Somehow I don’t think he’s capable.

    GD, as usual you address the Coaltion’s & Abbott’s shortcomings by deflecting onto Labor & Rudd. So typical – you never address the actual issue, mate.

  8. Richard Ryan says:

    (Q) Do you think Liberal Party wanker Mark Textor should be sacked? (A) Textor will be sacked, because Malcolm Fraser said so. Now hear the “village idiot”, Bolt and his inbred bloggers go on about free speech. Shalom, Richard Ryan.

  9. GD says:

    GD, as usual you address the Coaltion’s & Abbott’s shortcomings by deflecting onto Labor & Rudd. So typical – you never address the actual issue, mate.

    Well, no Ray. You dragged Rudd into this with your comment:

    Kevin Rudd would have squashed this issue in 5 minutes flat. Because he was a PM … and Abbott’s not.

    I was merely commenting on your deluded proposition that Rudd would have dealt with this issue ‘in 5 minutes flat’. Rudd’s woeful foreign affairs record showed that he was hopeless at foreign affairs. See my links.

    As for Abbott’s shortcomings, well, frankly, I don’t see any. He is becoming stronger every day as PM.

    He’ll handle this current upset. Remember this international incident was caused by the Rudd government’s spying activities and exacerbated by the ABC broadcasting the details to the world.

    Isn’t it funny that they sat on the leaked information until after the election?

    So much for ‘our’ unbiased ABC.

  10. Richard Ryan says:

    Abbott’s days are numbered as leader of this country. He is no leader, as Australia will find out shortly. Keep a watch on Bali, as Aussie kids go GA-GA there during the school holidays

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Yes, GD, Abbott’s doing a great job of handling our international relations. What a diplomat – I mean, who else would say something as bland as this:

    “There’ll be good days and there’ll be better days. But my determination is to ensure that the relationship is constantly improving and my gratitude is always to president Yudhoyono, who has been a very good friend to Australia – one of the best friends we’ve ever had,”

    He’s an embarrassment.

    And he’s going down well in Indonesia too – they love him:

    (PS, maybe you should add this one to your collection of childish cartoons, seeing that you like putting them up here so often)

  12. Iain Hall says:

    remember the argument that you were running about the cartoons you allude to?

    Submitted on 2013/03/09 at 7:44 AM | In reply to Iain Hall.

    I don’t think Gillard would be upset about it at all – she has a very thick hide. That’s not the point, Iain. The Pickering cartoons of our PM as a dildo-wearing lesbian are the approximate equivalent of a cartoon that depicts Barak Obama as a tree-swinging monkey. Get it? It’s sexist and discriminatory. Poor form.

    Where is your condemnation of the Indonesian cartoonist for being just as demeaning of our current PM?
    Surely if you expected that our then PM should have been treated with respect because of her office that the same principle should apply now to the current PM?

  13. Ray Dixon says:

    I agree it’s demeaning and inappropriate, Iain, and I don’t condone the Indonesian newspaper’s childish depiction of our Prime Minister. I only put it up here to make the point that Abbott is damaging our relations. There’s a big difference between my use of that cartoon and GD’s use of Pickering cartoons that denigrated Gillard. Mine was to merely demonstrate how Abbott is perceived overseas, whereas GD’s constant use of Pickering’s sick work is straight out sexist mockery.

  14. Iain Hall says:

    The damage was done on Rudd’s watch Ray and I predict that no act of contrition form Abbott would make the slightest bit of difference so he is doing the right thing by sticking to his current line.

  15. GD says:

    The damage was done on Rudd’s watch Ray and I predict that no act of contrition from Abbott would make the slightest bit of difference

    Yes, Iain, the ABC and Fairfax using this situation, which was caused by the Rudd Labor government, is sheer hypocrisy. Clearly the ABC, Fairfax, and Ray, are hoping Abbott will fail in his negotiations with the rampantly corrupt Indonesians rather than allow him time to achieve an honourable result for Australia.

    A result which wouldn’t mean cowtowing to the Indonesians, a result that would establish Australia on the world stage as a player in international affairs rather than a nation so beleaguered by 3rd world guilt that we pay Indonesia six billion a year in aid while apologising for imagined or perceived slurs.

    Six billion a year in aid to the Indonesians??

    This is a joke. The left are a joke and Labor in its first of many terms in opposition, is also a joke.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    I think it is actually point 6 billion GD but that is still 600million more than they deserve IMHO what a country like that needs any “aid” totally eludes me. why are they so incompetent that they can not raise their own funds through proper taxation is the elephant in the room

  17. Ray Dixon says:

    This is a joke. The left are a joke and Labor in its first of many terms in opposition, is also a joke.

    The joke, GD, is this hopeless Government run by Tony Abbott. Face it, we (*) have elected a government that after just 2 months has proved itself to be absolutely bereft of policy and leadership. It’s no wonder the polls are already showing the ALP ahead. In hindsight, the electorate is clearly saying “we made a f*ckin’ mistake”. Oh well, I hope you’re happy with the idiots running this country.

    (* Not me!)

  18. Richard Ryan says:

    AS Paul Keating would say: “god help us”

  19. Richard Ryan says:

    These f*ckin rightards blame ABC,Rudd, everyone except themselves, and Abbott the wanker. Terrorism I would say, is high on the list again, thanks to Abbott the wanker.

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    Looks like GD has deleted his comment. Says it all.

  21. GD says:

    I didn’t delete the comment, Ray. Too busy busking for falafels.

    I think it is actually point 6 billion GD but that is still 600 million more than they deserve

    At least Iain’s fact checking unit is accurate, unlike the leftist tax-payer funded ABC’s fact checker.

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