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Abbott Governments First Act is Mean and Petty

julie-bishop2The Abbott Government won power on the Saturday and the first thing they did on Monday was to sack Former Victoria Premier Steve Bracks who was the previous Governments appointee as Australian Consulate-General in New York.  This is an unusual move as most incoming Governments leave political appointees to diplomatic roles as a form of political courtesy.  This move has the potential to create a tit for tat environment where incoming Governments terminate diplomat appointments by previous governments which would damage Australia’s international reputation.

The arguments the incoming Government used were two fold:

– It was in appropriate to make the appointment during an election campaign when the previous Government was in “Caretaker” mode.  This is clearly a nonsense as the appointment was made in May this year and the election wasn’t announced until August.  Even though the Ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard did announce a September Election date this was never formalised and thus the Government was not in Caretaker mode;

– That Steve Bracks was not qualified for the role.  In the words of the new Attorney General George Brandis his credentials for the New York job “were not obvious to us”.  This makes no sense as previous Coalition Appointees e.g appointing Amanda Vanstone as Ambassador to Italy even though she didn’t speak Italian, appeared to have even less credentials.

Julie Bishop (pictured above making a cat hiss) as Foreign Minister appeared to take great pleasure in making the decision as of one of the two Government attack dogs (Christopher Pyne being the other one). Using Julie to do his dirty work allows Prime Minister Tony Abbott to appear to remain above the nastiness but it would appear that he was well aware of the decision and approved of it.

Here is an link to an excellent article that describes the situation quite well but I fear that we will have more of this nastiness to come.