The rest of the world knows how stupid and venal our politicians are and, unlike most of us, they aren’t afraid to tell them.
In obvious reference to the gormless Peter Dutton’s gaffe when he was overheard giggling about time meaning nothing when you have “water lapping at your door”, the Fijian Prime Minister told Scott Morrison exactly what he thought about his government’s inaction on climate change and dogged support for coal.
“Here in Fiji, climate change is no laughing matter. From where we are sitting, we cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples — vulnerable people in the world over. Prime Minister, I urged your predecessor repeatedly to honour his commitment to clean energy future, the only future that guarantees the survival of your neighbours in the Pacific,” he said.
Mr Bainimarama said the issue “cannot be written off as a difference of opinion”.
“Consensus from the scientific community is clear, and existential threat posed to Pacific Island countries, a certainty.”
Slap down number one.
Then we had Tony Abbott contributing his views on Brexit to the twittersphere.
“What’s wrong with no deal? Australia does $100 billion a year in trade with the EU without a deal.”
This was immediately met with derision.
Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College in London, replied:
“Australia’s trade with the EU is worth about 7.5% of Australian GDP. UK’s trade with the rest of EU is worth more than 30% of UK GDP. Anyone with a basic grasp of economics (not @TonyAbbottMHR it seems) should spot the problem”.
International trade expert Dmitry Grozoubinski wrote “Australia’s exports to the EU are dominated by raw commodities and agricultural products for which it enjoys country specific quotas the UK won’t get. You are embarrassing. Stop.”
Andy Bruce, an economics writer for the wire service Reuters, tweeted:
“Gaffe-prone former Aussie PM, deposed by own party, once described by Council on Foreign Relations as most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy: listen to this guy!”
For some unfathomable reason, Abbott is a member of a pro-Brexit advisory panel called The Institute for Free Trade. His membership alone is sufficient to destroy the credibility of that organisation.
Unsurprisingly, Peta Credlin is spouting the same lines as Tony with speculation that these two are supporting Boris Johnson’s leadership aspirations.
“You should plan for a no-deal Brexit,” she said. “You should square your shoulders, Britain. Put something on the table and walk away. Bugger Europe, they need you far more than you need them … a bit of bulldog spirit there. I want to see Britain look and sound the way it used to look and sound.”
Considering how well they did when they got the reins, the only skill this pair have is in wrecking things for what they admit are entirely political reasons. Talking tough guy rather than making a plan is how they operate.
When asked to reflect on his time in leadership and any regrets or mistakes, Abbott told the Daily Telegraph “I probably shouldn’t have winked at Neil Mitchell. I probably shouldn’t have eaten an onion. I probably should have had walk coaching.”
Because for these guys, it’s all about the image. They bounce around doing what their spin doctors and the IPA tell them to do. They have no plan.
Slogans about “stepping up and turning up and showing up” or “listening and hearing and doing” and “if you have a go, you’ll get a go” are meaningless when you are completely unwilling or unable to assess risk and address the priorities of governing.
Not only has the government been an embarrassment, they are a source of misinformation with an increasing lack of transparency. They are an impediment to progress in this country and they must be booted out.