Dear President Yudhoyono
Or can I call you Susilo? We like to use first names here in Australia. It’s a sign of informality. It indicates that you’re not wanting to be stand-offish. If you like we can go with middle names so that’d be Bang Bang right? You can call me Tone, or even John If we’re doing middle names
Anyway I gather from reading the papers that you’re a little bit cheezed off. Well let me tell you I am too. It was the previous government that may or may not have done the things that I refuse to confirm nor deny. It’s their fault. It’s also the fault of exceptionally highly paid journalists on the taxpayer teat who seem to think that having a free media means that they are allowed to freely publish whatever they feel is newsworthy. You’ve asked for a promise that it’ll never happen again, and let me say that my people are working on it as we speak. These journalists will regret ever humiliating you, and I for one will make them pay.
I know you feel let down by a good friend, and I just want to say, I know how you feel. Australia’s very very good friend and superpower, the United States has let us down by being sloppy with certain information, the veracity of which I can neither confirm nor deny. But let me just say that we’re sticking by them even despite their foul ups, and I fully expect them to stick by us. I’m betting they’ll drop you a line in a couple of days just to say hello and they might take the opportunity to re-iterate that they are indeed sticking by us.
Now, I understand that you’re after a grovelling apology. You will of course understand that I can’t apologise for things that I was not responsible for. As I’ve said. All that stuff that we’re neither confirming nor denying – well I can’t apologise for that. And I can’t apologise for the fact of its publication in our free press, because, well – my friends in the conservative media haven’t been able to cow them into submission yet, and I’m not quite ready to dismantle the ABC. Some things take time. So the things that I am in a position to apologise for are the things that have happened since the publications, and that means the public utterances from my government and the way they’ve been received by your good self.
So let me say now that I deeply regret that Indonesia has not taken my statements regarding the importance of the strategic relationship in the generous manner in which they were intended. I am deeply deeply sorry that you have taken such offence at what, in my mind, were quite cleverly crafted words designed to appear to say something without really giving away much at all, and finally I am sorry in a deeply apologetic but manly way, that you are allowing Indonesian internal politics to upset this incredible fantastic relationship that both countries have.
Why not pop on over to the Lodge when this is all over. We can knock the top of a lager together. By then we ought to have a bit more aid money we can sling Indonesia’s way as well courtesy of a supine public broadcaster and some very grateful friends in the commercial media.
Yours in a manfully apologetic way,
Tone (John) Abbott – PM