Sunday 25 February 2018

Australian PM blasts rival's 'John Wayne diplomacy'

Jonathan Pearlman Sydney

Tony Abbott, who is likely to become Australia's next prime minister on Saturday, has been labelled a graduate from the "John Wayne school of international relations" over his description of the Syrian conflict as a war of "baddies versus baddies".

The comments by Australia's British-born opposition leader have prompted a furious attack on his foreign policy credentials by the ruling Labour Party.

Several opposition MPs defended their leader and pointed to similar comments by Barack Obama and David Cameron, who have not used the term "baddies" but have both raised concerns about the "bad guys" in Syria.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat, likened Mr Abbott to John Wayne, saying the comments showed the opposition leader was not ready to represent Australia on the international stage.

"I really do question his temperament for occupying the highest office of the land," Mr Rudd said.

However, his attacks appear to have failed, with a new poll in 'The Australian' showing Mr Abbott ahead of Mr Rudd as the preferred prime minister. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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