May 3, 2012

Dog-whistle politics offends Indonesian ears

What should have been a brief exchange of pleasantries turned into a diplomatic disaster when Julie Bishop outlined the opposition’s policy on "sending back" asylum seeker boats to Indonesia.

Professor Damien Kingsbury

Crikey international affairs commentator

Not since Malcolm Fraser was prime minister has the federal Coalition understood, much less had an engaged relationship with, south-east Asia. This lack of understanding and engagement was reflected again yesterday when the opposition foreign affairs spokesperson, Julie Bishop, made a “courtesy call” on the chair and deputy chair of Indonesia’s legislature (DPR).


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13 thoughts on “Dog-whistle politics offends Indonesian ears

  1. Bill Hilliger

    Unlike what would have happened if it had been labour government ineptness on refugee issues; for this one which relates directly to the coalition I bet there will be no megaphone reporting in the electronic media on the Julie Bishop arrogance in dealing with the Indonesians.

  2. robinw

    Wouldn’t it be ironic that a Coalition victory could mean that the Indonesians, pissed off by the Coalitions ineptitude, de-regulate their side of the fence thus allowing a flood of boat people to hit our shores. Good one, guys, I’m sure you planned for this all the time.

    A good spin off for us is that we could finally see the so called ‘boat people’ as genuine refugees from a situation that in some of the cases at least, we had a hand in creating in the first place. The most worrying part of all of this is that this opposition of ours could place us all in a very sticky situation thanks to their stupidity should they gain the Treasury benches. It seems that the White Australia Policy is still there with them as evidenced by this latest attempt at telling others how to run their countries.

  3. James K

    Excellent article.

    But wow: these people (Bishop and co) might just be driving the nation soon. What a disturbing thought.

  4. zut alors

    I agree with the remarks by RobinW at 2.25pm.

    The Opposition oozes its usual charm – if Indonesia thinks Bish0p was arrogant they ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Abb0tt and Co have scarcely begun to warm up.

  5. James K

    One of the tragic ironies in all this could be a major increase in the
    number of boat arrivals after the coalition win power.

    Now what major media would stop reporting that I wonder?

  6. mattsui

    I wait for the popular response to the inevitable cheering and bluster from a coalition Government and it’s media backers when the first boat is “turned back”. One suspects that the overwhelming majority will be feeling something other than national pride.

  7. Pedantic, Balwyn

    Even sadder is that the highly professional work by our diplomats, unreported by the media, to win Indonesia’s support for curtailing the journey of mainly legitimate refugees, aboard desperately, unsafe transport, is likely to be jeopardised.
    In a country where wealth is not evenly divided, it is very challenging to arrest the flow where relatively large sums are available to profit those in the “boat people” business for greed, or even those few with more humane intentions.

    The Indonesian Government is actually quite effective, in most difficult circumstances, and crass actions by those who should know better, like Ms Bishop, do not help anyone find a resolution. In fact it demonstrates again that the Coalition is only interested in gaining power at any cost.

    However the sooner that the present Government increases the numbers of genuine refuges through recognised channels, the sooner this wholes sorry saga will end; for the benefit of both countries.

  8. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    And so I turn on the news tonight,
    [“Coalition Boat people plans sink new low”]
    [Not here says Indonesia]
    [Get stuffed Bishop says Indonesia]

    Ohh, what a world I live in

  9. AR

    It may have been a dream but I seem to recall, almost 40yrs ago a hundred thousand refugees, indistinguishable from (if in not the same) people our troops had been fighting for almost ten years, were welcomed into Australia, by the then PM, who had been the Army Minister who’d sent our troops to that far away country. Those people became tax paying citizens.
    Fortunately, it was only a dream and i awoke to the reality of today… ah sweet Morpheus, please return all is forgiven.

  10. Lin Bowden


    You clearly did not get the memo. So, let me tell you slowly: WE will decide who comes into this country, and the methods by which they come. Any Australian political leader suspected of taking dictation to the contrary from foreigners, will be mauled by the Australian people.

    Consider the memo served. You have no excuses in future to write such ill-uninformed gutless un-Australian drivel. Where is your national self-respect FFS?

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