It's another Abbott gaffe, say the newspapers, and clearly the staff-work in the Opposition Leader's office will get some scrutiny after Abbott told the media yesterday that, instead of swanning around New York chasing votes for Australia's UN Security Council bid, the Prime Minister ought to be in Jakarta talking with President Yudhoyono about 'stopping the boats'. Turns out, of course, that Yudhoyono is in New York too. Whoops.
Gaffe aside, Abbott's comment reinforces the point Nick Bryant made yesterday on The Interpreter about the lack of ambition and imagination Abbott has shown in foreign policy: 'The ambitions of both Gillard and Abbott seem happily accommodated within these shores.'
Also, if Foreign Minister Bob Carr is right about Abbott's alleged attachment to the 'Anglosphere', wouldn't membership of the UN Security Council, on which the US and UK serve as permanent members, serve that attachment reasonably well? I'm sure a Prime Minister Abbott would relish the opportunity to get in the room with these allies when an international crisis is being debated.
But it is worth pointing out that Carr's characterisation of Abbott's Anglophilia isn't entirely fair. Remember that the Opposition has taken an aggressive stance on the teaching of Asian languages (Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has admitted it may be too ambitious), which the Government has yet to match.