Entertaining post on the ABC's The Drum by Mark Tamhane on the German reaction to the departure of Mr Rudd. I missed it at the time. It's worth a browse.
I felt for Deutsche Welle's Australian representative, Esther Blank: "This always happens!," she is quoted as saying. "Every time I leave Australia a major story breaks." Esther is the mother of one of youngest's close friends and indeed it does seem to happen.
For those who don't know it, The Drum is the ABC's on-line opinion segment, using a blog format. It has developed its own written style.
One of my complaints about both the Howard and Rudd Governments was a tendency to insensitivity in dealing with Australia's neighbours. The Gillard Government's approach to Timor-Leste on the refugee issue seems to fall into the same class. Maybe its a cultural thing?
I was taken-aback by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith's response to the rejection by the Timor-Leste parliament of the concept of the processing centre. I quote:
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says the rejection should not be over-interpreted and discussions between the two countries are continuing.
"Unlike the Australian Parliament, East Timorese ministers do not sit in East Timorese parliament so this is a reflection on those members of the East Timorese parliament at the time and not the government's response," he said.
"The government of East Timor's response remains as it has been over the last few days."
Coming from the Australian tradition, I suppose that I had assumed the centrality of parliament. For those who are interested, you will find a copy of the Timor-Leste constitution here. Parliament is central, but the way powers are divided is very different from that holding in Westminster systems.