Fall Of The Whirling Dervish

Three months is all it took.

Three months and the mistaken belief that a series of snarky heckling points in QT, borne of hubris and post-election triumphalism, would be seen merely as “robust Australian politics” by the Indonesians.

When I think of the column-miles of bullshit written about how Abbott was a natural at diplomacy (much better than the professionals), had “repaired” the relationship in one afternoon meeting with SBY and had come back to Australia with a Foreign Affairs miracle under his arm… and then contrast all that with where we are today… it really does make you want to sob with frustration.

Alexander Downer saw yesterday’s developments for what they were – a looming disaster, if not an actual one – but he, too, put in his two bob’s worth a few weeks ago on The Drum, by subscribing to the Rad Hadley/2GB view of relations between the two countries: “Indonesian boats, flying Indonesian flags, from Indonesian ports… &etc”, in all its tiresome glory.

Australian exceptionalism (summarised as “Let the Dagoes look after the Dagoes”), combined with schoolyard slagging in Parliament and the media, plus empty hubris have all combined to render the hard work of previous governments with Indonesia almost completely moot.

Abbott wanted the top job, and by God he has got it. Yet, he has trouble lifting himself above slogans and mantras of the previous three years in Opposition.

Abbott Hatesman Statesman

He is immature, dopey and is competing WAY above his class. The Whirling Dervish approach is utterly inappropriate to the gentler arts of Foreign Affairs.

The world of the Daily Telegraph – with its fawning coverage of everything he does from playing “firey” and “lifesaver” – and The Australian – with it’s man-love of “Spartacus” Abbott, must look so inadequate now.

Murdoch sold Abbott on the idea that, in exchange for as yet undisclosed favours (but we can guess), he would cover for him, prop him up, inflate his standing in strategic sections of the Australian community and generally give him a free pass into the highest office in the land.

In Abbott’s Bloke World, a hearty, pumping handshake and some hail-fellow-well-met macho talk is enough to get you by with fellow firies and lifesavers, but not – unfortunately – with Indonesian Presidents.

A little bit of flunkied argey bargey in the local media keeps the home fires burning as we tell the Indonesians what they are to do to make OUR lives easier. The connection can always be denied, or explained away, or not even addressed, can’t it?

No it can’t.

While Abbott and his gang of wreckers may be able to get away with crass denials, cheap stunts and sloganeering here, where the measure of a man is more physical, the Indonesians have a different view of things.

They know the media is speaking for Tony Abbott when they see “This will all blow over” stories, or when they hear some over-coiffed nobody hack from nowhere dismiss Indonesian feelings as “posturing” or “chest thumping”.

The Australian media, too used to depicting everything in terms of “winners”and “losers” has declared Tony Abbott to be the “winner” over SBY, much to the Indonesian President’s displeasure (for Christ’s sake, SBY is even tweeting now). He knows they speak for Abbott.

Abbott can deny this connection all he likes, but what matters is not Rupert Murdoch’s opinion, or the the way the front bar at the Rooty Hill RSL sees it, or whether the tradies think he’s a good bloke.

What matters is how Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sees Tony Abbott. It is SBY’s opinion only that carries real weight in this matter.

And his opinion of Tony Abbott – braggart, triumphalist, double-talker, buffoon from the boxing ring, bully and bullshit artist – is pretty low at the moment.

The more Abbott and his pals couch the relationship with Indonesia as the Indonesians’ problem as much (or even more) than ours, the more they slag them off, the more they patronize them as if they were school children or petulant teenagers, the more the Indonesians will turn the thumbscrews and make life a lot harder for Australia in the region.

Speaking of the region, the laughter you here from over the horizon is not just the Indonesians chortling. It’s also the Malaysians, the Japanese, the Russians and just about everyone else Abbott managed to lie to, keep waiting, fawn over, or outright insult as he cut a diplomatic swathe of destruction over the first few weeks of his tenure in office (not that you’d have known it from media reports of his magnificent passage… they wrote it up as almost “Peace In Our Time”).

And the amazing thing about it is that he doesn’t seem to have a clue why they’re so angry, and doesn’t seem to have the slightest idea of how he’s going to get himself out of the mess he’s created for himself, except to keep on slugging.

It’s pretty clear by now that Peta Credlin, in telling Abbott to keep his mouth shut, was spot on the money.

The only problem is that she wasn’t allowed into the various meetings he had with Asian and Pacific heads of state where, it appears, he has managed to set relations with most of them back 10 years in the space of a single week.

And who has he got to help him?

Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop… step forward please.

Jesus wept.

Jesus wept



722 thoughts on “Fall Of The Whirling Dervish

  1. I reckon that, subject only to the very broadest policy changes which isn’t that case here, the spooks would be pretty safe from governmental interference as they went about their tasks. Abbott’s already had a bit of a go at blaming Labor alone for all this (the recent Sales interview) & has backed off. The only possible explanation is that his mob are & were embroiled in it all too. Up to a point the clown’s right (sorry to any real clowns reading this), governments do collect information. But he’s lobbed, as has been pointed out, into a situation where others can’t hire a few QCs, knock out some flattering newspaper acreage or whatever to cover for him. He’s on. Centre stage. Now.

  2. INDONESIA has officially “downgraded” its relationship with Australia in the wake of spying allegations.

    “The downgrading in the level of the Indonesian-Australian relationship has been done,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said today.

    “We have taken measured steps in accordance with their response and attitude.”

    Jakarta Dr Natalegawa made the comments on his way into the Indonesian foreign ministry in Jakarta for a meeting with the country’s ambassador to Australia Nadjib Kesoema.

    “We have already adjusted various forms of cooperation,” he said.

    “We are turning off the tap by degrees.”


  3. Take a bow Mr Abbott

    [2:00pm: Before we scoot off to question time, the AAP World Wire is reporting that Indonesia has officially downgraded its relationship with Australia.

    “The downgrading in the level of the Indonesian-Australian relationship has been done,” Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said today.

    “We have taken measured steps in accordance with their response and attitude.”]


  4. Shorten asks Abbott what proigress has been made in restroing relations with Indonesia. Abbott takes a long time to say how important it all is and how we value Indonesia plus a bit of grovelling, but no specifics.

    The next one is a dixer on the carbon ta and Abbott goes in to his opposition type of deploring the carbon tax. Tries to bring it onto hs own ground of slogans such as “As the Tax”. Claims Labor MPs still in denial ( love his choice of language for a carbon denialist. Claims jobs will come and we’ll return to paradise recovering from “the mess’.

    Tanya on actions of other governments in relation to imprisonment. Abbott hides behind never discussing these things in public.

  5. Question number 1: Tail between his legs Tony Abbott showing he hasn’t a clue what to do about the Indonesian issue!

    Question number 2: Attack Dog Tony gets a Dorothy and lets rip with the same rubbish that we copped for 3 years.

  6. Many Indonesian leaders had most of their education in this land. Suspect they know us, better than we will ever know or understand them.

  7. From Crikey’s Tips and Rumours –

    The snubs start. Indonesia’s anger over Australia’s spying on President Yudhoyono, his wife and senior officials has begun to take shape. We hear the Indonesian Minister for Religious Affairs, Suryadharma Ali — who was due to arrive in Australia this weekend to deliver a lecture at Deakin University on managing religious diversity in Indonesia — has cancelled. Although his formal apology for cancelling the trip said he had “other inevitable tasks and obligations”, his office said the cancellation was in direct response to the furore in Jakarta over the Australia spying scandal.


  8. Hockey gets a similar dixer on the mining tax and how this is holding up employment. I think if he works on it, he might find it employs a lot less than tourism, but he wants to get on to what a great failure it is. Hockey says he nearly choked on his Weeties this morning listening to Bandt. Bandt’s probably think he should’ve tried a bit harder. Still claiming the tax leaves everyone worse off.

    Now marles, amid a lot of background noise. Onto Morrison on boats buy-back and why Campbell could answer it but Morrison wouldn’t. Morrison ignores the question and talks about budget blowouts. POO ignored by Bronnie in a bizarre ruing saying it was about costing. Dreyfus takes up. Pyne counters. Bronnie asks him to repeat the question. (no reference to costs).

    Morrison still tries to turn it around to what it might have cost to purchase nboats under Labor. Morrison allowed to consdier with his bullshit and avoiding answering the question.

  9. Blimey! I thought we had already had the election campaign for the 2013 election.

    Seems somebody has omitted to tell the Coalition that it is over. They have won. 😉

  10. Why can’t Abbott get that damned tie straight? Is he so incompetent that he can’t even dress himself properly? Mr Eleventy has a nicely knotted tie, maybe he could give the boss some lessons. And that is the first and last time you’ll get a nice comment about Hockey from me.

    Other fashion issues -Sussan Ley needs urgent attention from a hairdresser. So does the blond woman with the crooked pendant sitting in the noddy seat.

  11. Wilkie with one about cost of freight to Tasmania. Abbott tries to blame the costs on “Labor-Green” governkment in Canberra and also still in Tasmania and the sooner that’s changed like his has the better. A bit of a peptalk about working with the new Lib MPs. Wilkie wants an answer to hi query but Bronny says too late he’s sat down.

    Now we’ve got Ley up with a dixer on education. Comes up with an unusual angle by claiming that the costs have gone up with the carbon tax. This is reaching Abbott levels of bullshit/hyperbole. Trying to have a swipe at the shadow minister, but a bit hard to see the relevance. First time I’ve heard carboin tax.

    Now Pyne has a whinge about shouting during Ley’s talk. Apparently he missed all of what happened in the last parliament.

  12. Bronnie hasn’t a clue. Getting frustrated as the job is clearly beyond her capability. She’s good at shielding the incompetent mob of liers on her side of politics, though!

  13. Marles asked why Morrison wehy he bothers turning up if he won’t answer any question. Bronnie tries her book and says the question fails. Burke not happy with ruling. Bronnie not shifting.

    Now the lovely Goerge talking about jobs lost in coal. Asking how axing the carbon tax will help jobs. Cahinsaw gets up to say how good abolishing the tax would be. Chainsaw seems to want to argue the point with an interjecter. Now talking about the mining tax and how gloomy it has all been for the coal industry. Hasn’t yet mentioned the bottom falling out of the price of coal.

  14. Q on abolition of tax breaks on small business. Bilson starts off by saying that benefits need to be paid for. Now talks about Labor cancelling an entrepreneurs tax offsets. Lecture on being honest with small business people.

    Now Andrews gets one on pressures of cost of living for pensioners. He bames it all on the carbon tax. Apparently he hasn’t worked out that the tax was actually returned to penseioners and low-income earners. If it was as bad as all this, why did The Parrot fail so badly with his Convoy?

  15. Scorpio,
    About the only “good” thing about the Unlovely Andrews being back on the front bench is that we can, once again, address him as the Minister for Grecian 2000 …

  16. Which is true. Have our literacy and numeric skills gone down, or could it be true, those we are comparing them with, have improved.

    The latter I believe.

  17. Shorten tries one on taking away the tax and benefits from low-income people and redistributing to the wealthy. Abbott says it’s all about bringing in their policies which will make it better for everyone.

    Pyne tries to pretend that our education system has failed under Labor. Pyne reckons it’s all down to teachers and unions and Shorten.

  18. scorpio6to2

    JTI wrote a good blog on meeting Kevin Andrews.

    A short history of time with Kevin Andrews

    ……… In fact fifteen minutes with Kevin Andrews may well prove to be the worst week of your life.

    ……………………I had morning tea with the bloke and managed to finish off my thesis on Marxist Theory and Practice in Zoroastrian Eschatology, write a book, knock together a radio script and still had bucket loads of time to prepare a five-course meal and drain the sump oil out of my car, before I’d even finished my second milk arrowroot with the Honourable Member for Menzies.

    ……………….By the time I returned to my seat, Kevin was peering out through the venetians, looking for Sudanese youths, who he suspects keep moving his garden hose.


  19. Does Mr Andrews not understand that pensions are indexed and increase twice a year to keep up with rises in the CPI?

  20. Jenny Macklin to Andrews on cutting the schoolkids bonus. Andrews says it will honor its commitments.

    Southcott on the NBN. I don’t want to listen to another Turnbull bash

  21. Malcolm could give The Idiot some tie knotting lessons. I bet there have been many times when he would have loved to tell The Idiot how to get knotted.

  22. Maybe Mr. Brandis should move his books, down the corridor, to be place ion the shelves of the parliamentary library.

  23. Andrews gets another one and blames it abolishing the schoolkids bonus. Andrews goes into a rant, which Dreyfus objects. Andrews continues with the lies about debt mountains, which apparently are to be rectified by borrowing.

    Now Ms Sexy gets in a dixer to Morrison about offshore processing. Morrison goes into a gloat about how the previous government did compared with what his lot are doing. Quotes Shorten on Pacific Solution condemnation.Where’s my mute?

  24. Actually, Morrison has answered Marles earlier question of why he truned up. He was waiting for that dixer.

    Abbott gets another on schoolkids bonus abolition. Says his crowd was totally honest with the voters. Now it’s up to Labor to “abolish the Carbon tax” and save everyone $550 a year.

  25. Bronnie’s hopeless, she calls the member for Charlton the member for Makin, and get’s the Member for Wakefield’s electorate wrong and calls it Wakehurst.

  26. I think I’ll call it a day now as member for Wakefield gets booted. Bronnnie disallows Fitt’s POO, but he disputes. Dutton moves in for a bash. Giving Bronnie a bit of work by pulling up Dutton for impugning a member. Dutton withdraws. Another POO on direct relevance. Dutton resumes with a general bash, but pulled up again. Resumes his bash after a mild caution. I think he’s telling porkies but it’s a bit hard to stop him in a QT period.

    Shorten after Abbot on ‘unimportant’ priorirites against helping the wealthy. Abbott goes on about being absolutely upfront and honest with the electorate. Still pretending that Labor did it with borrowed money, which was the Andrews line.

    I’m outa here now.

  27. Quick summary of QT, which should save some time:

    1. All dixers end up with a Government front-bencher shouting “No Carbon Tax!”
    2. Most Opposition questions end up that way as well, unless they’re completely off-topic, in which case they don’t get answered.

    Pyne is breaking the pattern at the moment. He’s just shouting about whatever.

  28. Some trivia –
    Did you know Abbott doesn’t live in his own electorate of Warringah? He lives in Broomhilda’s electorate – Mackellar.

  29. Broomhilda reminds me of the aged chook in my chookhouse which keeps on forgetting how to get down off the perch in the mornings. I keep thinking that Broomhilda will forget where she is and why, and cause some angst in Parliament, sooner rather than later if her current performance is anything to go by.

  30. @SenatorWong: The Treasury Secretary has confirmed that Government debt will not exceed $400b in 2013/14 #Estimates

    Poor Joe.

  31. Would it be terribly cynical of me to suggest that Mr C Saatchi might have a problem with assertive women that has been recently highlighted? Might that not be an added colouration to the small sample on which the paper is apparently based?

    I’m getting tired of being so surprised at my lack of surprise at the lack of conceptual evolution of these people now representing us on the world stage. Also tired of saying “told you so” to family members who thought they would be ‘better than the other mob’ and are now discovering by how much they are not. *sighs*

  32. It appears, there will only be debt over the limit for three days. It is also admitted, there are alternative means available to deal with the problem.

    Debt is unlikely to over over four hundred billion this financial year.

  33. More on the teenage girl sent unaccompanied to Nauru.

    Joe Hockey must have died – again. He said this just over a year ago.
    “But I will say one thing to you,” he said. “I’ll say it deliberately to this parliament. I will never, ever support a people-swap where you can send a 13-year-old child unaccompanied to a country without supervision. Never. It will be over my dead body.”

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