Canberra’s relations with Pakistan are fractious at the best of times, but thanks to the unruly behavior of the dog belonging to her majesty’s Australian Ambassador to Italy, the two countries may never speak again.
Amanda Vanstone’s beautiful weimarana, a hound who answers to the name of Gus, doesn’t have the diplomatic aplomb of his mistress and obviously doesn’t like other female ambassadors.
Just ask her excellency, Pakistan’s ambassdor to Italy, Ms Tasnim Aslam, who was bitten by Gus when she arrived at Casa Australia to make a recent official call to Ms Vanstone, our gastronomic representative in Rome.
According to a cop from the Roman constabulary — who was visiting Melbourne and who Crikey happened upon at a cocktail party — Gus’ behaviour was the subject of a lot of time-wasting and many communications between our embassy, the Pakistani embassy, the Italian foreign office and DFAT.
Amanda of course was on Gus’ side — hang the diplomatic niceties — and her main aim was to save the beast’s life, an issue that had hung in the balance. Gus was eventually spared but is now muzzled when anyone but his mistress is present.
That’s cold comfort indeed for the Italian cop assigned to Amanda’s “protection” unit and who was bailed up against a tree by Gus in the embassy garden one day. Although not bitten by the brute, he had his uniform torn.
We understand the time taken to fix up that incident meant the real diplomatic work of the mission suffered and Amanda’s reports back to DFAT, which in the main extol the virtues or otherwise of the restaurants she patronizes on a regular basis, were later than usual.
Our garrulous Roman cop revealed that the main gossip among Rome’s very professional and elegant diplomatic community centred around the doings of our Amanda, which, to put it bluntly, isn’t quite what DFAT wants.