In a scathing article for the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, reporter Robyn Dixon slammed Australia as “The adolescent country. The bit player. The shrimp of the schoolyard.” She contemptuously added: “For Australians it's not so bad – most of the time – to be so far away, so overlooked, so seemingly insignificant as to almost never factor in major international news. The lifestyle makes up for it.”
What garnered the nation so much scorn from Dixon? It’s conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whom she accused of creating “an awkward, pimply youth moment so embarrassing” at the recent G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia that it supposedly left a “sting” for all Aussies.
Dixon proceeded to rattle off a series of policies in which Abbott had defied left-wing orthodoxy.
She began by explaining that “embarrassing” moment: “Abbott opens their [G-20] retreat Saturday with a whinge (Aussie for whine) about his doomed efforts to get his fellow Australians to pay $7 to see a doctor.” That in reference to Abbott proposing that Australians pay an extremely modest co-pay for medical visits in order to provide $3.5 billion in budget savings over five years for the nation’s government-run health care system.
Dixon continued: “And then he throws in a boast that his government repealed the country's carbon tax, standing out among Western nations as the one willing to reverse progress on global warming – just days after the United States and China reached a landmark climate change deal.”
She later added: “...the conservative Abbott insisted that climate change would not be on the agenda, only to be wrong-footed by the U.S.-China pact and President Obama's pledge to contribute $3 billion to a fund to help developing countries deal with the effects of global warming.”
Next on Dixon’s hit list was Abbott’s audacity to adopt a hardline against Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russian-backed separatists murdered hundreds of innocent civilians – including 28 Australians – by shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July. She scolded: “Abbott publicly vowed to ‘shirt-front’ Russian President Vladimir Putin – a term conveying a chest-to-chest male physical confrontation.”
Dixon then sympathetically noted that “After orchestrated Western pressure and pointed slights,” Putin “reportedly planned to leave early” from the summit.
Finally, Dixon was aghast at Abbott’s opposition to illegal immigration: “He offended the world's most populous Muslim country and one of Australia's closest and most important neighbors, Indonesia, over his handling of his policy to turn back boats carrying would-be asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan who often depart from Indonesia.”
From government-run health care to global warming to Russian aggression to illegal immigration, Dixon saw Abbott’s conservative approach as cringe-inducing.
However, not one word of criticism was offered against Barack Obama’s abysmal record on foreign policy, who has pursued the exact opposite approach from Abbott on each one of those issues.