In the spirit of everyone’s favourite Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great (sorry, Amyntas III), Tony Abbott has begun his Prime Ministership with the geographically-staggered conquering of our neighbours and one-time allies.
There’s been a distinct pattern to the way Abbott has undergone this charm offensive, acknowledging that those last two words may be in the wrong order.
In October, Abbott was forced to apologise to Malaysia after making some fairly inflammatory comments about their human rights record during the election.
In November, crucial diplomatic ties with Indonesia became damaged when Abbott refused to apologise following revelations that Australia had been spying on Indonesian politicians and officials.
Now, in December, East Timor is launching a case in The Hague which accuses Australia of mistreatment over a key oil and gas treaty. We responded with an ASIO raid on the offices of a lawyer representing East Timor, which probably didn’t help much.
Abbott’s eastward trek of monthly diplomatic fumbles across the Southern Hemisphere represents what we feel is a clear indication of what the next year holds for Australia. So, to help you prepare for the next twelve months of news stories, we’ve taken the above behaviour to its logical conclusion and extrapolated Tony Abbott’s 2014.
January: West Papua, Papua, Papua New Guinea
Tony had a great deal of success in reducing the excessive number of portfolios when he came into office, folding nonsense ministries such as science, disability care, mental health, childcare, workplace relations and ageing into the all-encompassing Department of Misc. This approach will be applied to foreign relations when, to save time, Tony combines West Papua, Papua and Papua New Guinea into the rebranded PapuaMax. Tensions come to a head when Tony enlists Casey Chambers to perform his specially-adapted national anthem, “Papua Can You Hear Me?”
February: New Zealand
The historically-strong Trans-Tasman relationship is formally ended by New Zealand, after Tony mentions that the new Hobbit films “are a bit meh”.
When Benedict Cumberbatch wins an Oscar for his portrayal of Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate (narrowly beating out four of his other nominated performances), Tony suddenly becomes concerned for the fate of the Wikileaks founder still living in Ecuador’s London embassy. With Assange basically a refugee, Tony causes rifts with Ecuador when he accuses them of inhumane offshore processing, forcing Assange to live out his days on an island with sub-par beer and a rubbish cricket team.
Tony accidentally praises Augusto Pinochet in a one-hour speech devoted to praising Augusto Pinochet. Sensing disquiet in the crowd, he quickly adlibs a tribute to former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, describing her as bringing “great sex appeal” to Chile. Abbott and his staff are eventually rescued in a daring raid by a bearded Ben Affleck.
Visiting the municipality of Enrique Carbó in northeastern Argentina, Tony Abbott blames the region’s booming economy on Labor’s Carbó tax, and abolishes it before the Argentine government notices.
Diplomatic ties with South America’s eastern state will be frayed when, due to a series of comical mistranslations, Tony Abbott issues a challenge in the High Court to stop recognition of Uruguay marriage. After several weeks of “Who’s On First?”-esque misunderstandings (with Abbott adding further nominative confusion by taking the role of Costello), the Australian Government eventually smooths things over by sending the country a Blu-ray player to replace their Montevideo recorder.
July: Falkland Islands
Tony once described Margaret Thatcher as “one of the greatest British prime ministers and one of the most significant world leaders of our times”. To honour her memory, he will send a fleet of ships to the islands and bomb any ships he sees retreating. Scott Morrison will mitigate controversy by not telling anyone about it.
August: Osage County
When his father goes missing, Tony returns to his family home to confront his prescription drug-addicted mother, reconnect with his estranged siblings, and uncover closeted skeletons in a dramatic and confronting series of dramatic scenes. Tony’s efforts end up estranging his family even further, in a political gaffe the New York Times called “a tour de force!”.
September: South Africa
On a diplomatic mission to South Africa, Tony Abbott praises Universal Studios for continuing the Fast and Furious franchise despite the death of Nelson Mandela, a man he says fought injustice “a quarter mile at a time”.
After creating a stir this month during a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi by comparing her experiences to his own as opposition leader, Tony will sympathise with Zimbabwe’s fight against British colonialism by pointing out that he competed in boxing matches at Oxford.
Confusing Tanzania for Tasmania, Tony approves the logging of old growth forests in what quickly becomes a major diplomatic disaster with Tanzania.
Confusing Swaziland for Switzerland, Tony approves the logging of old growth forests in what was supposed to be a major diplomatic disaster with Switzerland.
December: Indian Ocean
Confusing the Indian Ocean for India, our new Ambassador to India is deposited in the middle of the sea, never to be seen again. Outraged, Tony Abbott wages war on the Ocean. Australia suffers an unprecedented loss of ground troops, but the bombing campaign is deemed a success.
And when Tony saw the breadth of his gaffes, he wept, for there were no more countries left to piss off.
Follow Lee on Twitter: @leezachariah
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