From the SMH:
Australia’s asylum-seeker measures in Indonesia have been thrown into disarray with Jakarta pulling the plug on all military co-operation in retaliation for the Abbott government’s refusal to explain the phone tapping of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Relations between Canberra and Jakarta have descended to their lowest level since the East Timor crisis as the Indonesian President ordered his country’s troops to stop joint exercises with Australians in Darwin, and the navy to halt any joint patrols to combat people smuggling.
“How can we do all this if we are not sure that there is no tapping of our military, which is working for the interests of the two countries?” Dr Yudhoyono said.
The sudden deterioration in ties sent the Abbott government into crisis talks, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott requesting time to address the House of Representatives at short notice to emphasise his respect for the relationship and his desire to see it repaired.
…”The President indicated that he would shortly be writing to me. I would like to reassure the House that I will be responding to the President’s letter swiftly, fully and courteously. As always, I am absolutely committed to building the closest possible relationship with Indonesia, because that is overwhelmingly in the interests of both our countries.”
The first was to wait for “an explanation and for Australia to take responsibility”.
The second was: “A number of agendas for cooperation will be re-examined: the exchange of information, intelligence and training between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia, and the issue of people smuggling”.
The third was to demand a “Necessary protocol, or code of ethics, and guiding principles relating to cooperation in various fields to sustain the relationship the two countries”.
And you can add Textorgate to that:
As the government sought to limit damage from the phone-tapping affair, a Liberal Party senior adviser issued a series of racially-loaded remarks about top Indonesian government figures, which have been reported prominently in the Indonesian press.
The Liberal Party pollster, who is a close counsel to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made the front page of one of Indonesia’s most prominent media outlets, the Indonesian-language Kompas newspaper for his series of abusive comments, with one likening Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa to a ”1970s Pilipino [sic] porn star”.
…The opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, called for Mr Abbott to distance himself and the government from the Textor remarks.
”These comments are disgraceful,” she said. ”The Prime Minister must disassociate himself, the Liberal Party, and the Australian government from them immediately and unequivocally.”
Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser also weighed in on Twitter, demanding Mr Textor be sacked as the Liberal pollster.
Mr Textor has been described as one of the most influential people in Australia. He has himself advocated the use of Twitter by prospective employers as a way of gauging a person’s true character.
Well, it’s efficient. Might as well cut out the Prime Minister and let the faceless men govern directly.