Chan and Sukumaran were just another means for Abbott to boost poll ratings

Judging from the deaths of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, it appears that the Australian government does not know the definition of diplomacy.

Either that, or it chooses to ignore what it is, because the whole point of communicating with other countries is to shore up its political position at home.

The word diplomacy is best defined as “skill in managing negotiations, handling people, etc., so that there is little or no ill will; tact.”

One does not conduct diplomacy — and in the case of Chan and Sukumaran the aim was apparently to prevent these two young men being executed by firing squad — by announcing to all and sundry what is being done. Or what is intended to be done.

One uses the back-door for diplomacy. It does not matter who gets the credit, if the end result is what one wanted to achieve. Megaphones are not used when one is conducting diplomatic negotiations.

And one particularly avoids making one party look as if they have backed down or lost out in negotiations. This is the one thing that can kill a diplomatic process. But Australia has done exactly the opposite.

It is abundantly clear from all that has happened in the last few months, that for both the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and the foreign minister Julie Bishop the lives of these two young men was the least important consideration.

Neither Abbott nor Bishop did a thing as long as community sentiment was not in favour of Chan and Sukumaran. Once there was sympathy in the community, both Abbott and Bishop started holding press conferences whenevr possible to trumpet whatever they were doing in the case.

It is downright cynicism, but then that it politics. Abbott saw a good chance to boost his poll ratings – and no doubt when the next opinion polls come out he will get a boost. Bishop has leadership ambitions and she took the chance to do her image as much good as possible.


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