|The real Tony Abbot.|
Tony Abbott and John Key met in Australia, accompanying Key was Wheeler’s Corner agent eavesdropper, he was in the waiting room at the television studio when Tony and John were chatting; What he heard was never reported so I thought it only fair to share this with you all:
“Tony you don’t really mean what you said about New Zealanders do you? Asked John with his head lowered, his words whispered.
“Of course I did, we can’t have all your unemployed trash moving over here”, said Tony.
“But your wife is a Kiwi, is she not’, said John in his finest weasel voice.
“She’s not a Kiwi now; she’s a fair dink-um Australian, she has lived here for bloody years John”, he answered smiling.
“But Tony we let Australians use our health services and we even cover them when they become unemployed”, John muttered lowering his head even lower.
“So! That’s more fool you, look what happens in your little backwater is not my problem I have bigger issues to sort-out, like those bloody boat people”, said Tony sounding very irritated about the whole conversation.
“But”, said John before he was rudely cut off.
“No butts about it, half of your unemployed are Maori and they give our Abo’s ideas above their station, the next they’ll want is a bloody treaty like your Treaty of, what's it called?”, shouted Tony.
“Waitangi”, stuttered John.
“Yeah that’s right wit-angee”, mumbled Tony adding, “why the hell did you do that deed, they might be good at rugby and rugby league, but seats in Parliament no way are we going to do that here in Aussie baby, Now about the interview, you’ll of course say something nice about me, since we both lead so-called centre right parties”, he said as he reached out and patted Johns thinning hair.
|Now look here Tony I'm a nice guy.|
“Naturally Tony, I’ve got what you want me to say in the note from your PR guy, I’ve even had a practice run in front of the mirror”, he said as he raised his head a fraction.
“That’s great said Tony, “I’ll do the same for you, and don’t worry I promise I’ll build you up so your media can say what a wonderful, strong leader you are”, and I wont mention that David what-ever-his-name-is…
Here is what Fairfax wrote about that meeting, you decide which was more meaningful and honest. My agent never tells fibs…
“Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott greeted his NZ counterpart John Key as a brother in their first formal get together. There clearly isn't much doubt in his mind about which of them is the big brother in the relationship.
Emerging form their first formal meeting, Abbot wasted no time slapping down hopes of any change to the status of Kiwis denied citizenship rights across the Tasman.
He was also quick to junk the deal done by Key and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard for New Zealand to take up to 150 boat people a year off Australia's hands.
But there has never been any doubt where the power in this relationship rests
That was underscored by Key's whistle-stop trip across the Tasman yesterday.
Key and Abbott were due to meet this weekend at the Apec conference in Bali but the symbolism of being among the first foreign leaders to meet the new Australian prime minister was important enough for Key to board an Air Force plane yesterday and make a special trip to Canberra
The two leaders have already worked hard at getting the chemistry right between them - something that Key never had with former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, though he and Rudd's predecessor Julia Gillard had chemistry in spades.
It helps that Abbott is a protege of former Australian Prime Minister Howard, who is widely credited elevating the trans-Tasman relationship, and who always had a soft spot for Key.
When Key delivered the John Howard lecture across the Tasman in 2012, Howard bought the then Opposition leader Tony Abbott along to meet him. Their relationship is now warm enough for the two of them to exchange texts.
But it was not just symbolism or relationship building that took Key across the Tasman yesterday; there is a big trans-Tasman work programme underway, on issues including mutual tax credits and expanding smart gate at the Australian and New Zealand borders to facilitate easier travel.
The fear is that these are issues which could slip to the back burner with a new government in office, especially one with a heavy work programme of its own, and a big shift in focus.
But there was always going to be one issue that rose its ahead above all others in this first meeting - the plight of Kiwis who cross the ditch but were denied citizenship rights since 2001. And on that score Abbott probably did Key a big favour.
It would be an act of hari-kari for any Australian prime minister to commit to the massive welfare bill associated with restoring the status quo prior to 2001 - but with the trans-Tasman relationship increasingly defined by the issue, Key has been obliged to ask all the same