I always thought that Heather du Plessis Allan was a bit of a Jacindaphile, but she has been known to criticise our dear leader on occasions. Her recent Australian trip was one such occasion, and Heather has pointed out something that most of us probably would not have picked up.
An interview the Prime Minister’s given on TV in Australia is being called awkward when it is really anything but.
In the viral clip, The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson asks Jacinda Ardern about comments where she called the deportation of New Zealand citizens from Australia corrosive to the trans-Tasman relationship.
Wilkinson challenged Ardern about the fact Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was the architect of the plan, and Ardern said that the fact our countries are friends means she can be frank.
That’s not awkward. That is called being found out. That is called being found out trying to run two different positions on the same thing.
Hang on a minute. So Heather is saying that Jacinda is busily calling the issue of Kiwi criminals being deported as ‘corrosive’ to the NZ media… but she is not saying that in Australia?
When watching the interview, I was a bit surprised at the way she tried to say that, because we are such ‘great mates’, she can say anything she likes to her Australian counterpart, and it won’t damage the relationship. I thought that was both naive and arrogant in the extreme, which is nothing new for Jacinda, but Heather thinks differently. Heather thinks Jacinda spins two completely different lines, depending on which side of the Tasman she is on.
To New Zealand media, Ardern was describing Australia’s deportation policy as ‘corrosive’, and she was getting applause. People were saying how strong she was and how refreshing it was to hear a leader actually be prepared to say the tough things.
But to Australian media, she’s making excuses for the policy, saying ‘oh let’s put it in context, it’s been around for a while’, and ‘oh, it’s just a few cases here and there that we have a problem with, largely it’s totally fine if Australia deports criminals to New Zealand’.
Which I think is probably an insight into what she’s really saying in those closed door meetings with the Australians.
Please don’t tell me that Jacinda thinks that Australian journalists are incapable of searching through a New Zealand news website to find out what she has said? Or that Scott Morrison’s team of advisors don’t scan world headlines to see what is being said about their prime minister and their country?
She couldn’t possibly be that stupid… could she?
Truth is, we shouldn’t be surprised. What are the Prime Minister’s qualifications for this job? A communications degree and the ability to hold a press conference?
This is a Prime Minister who won the job by saying the right thing. She didn’t do the right thing, she didn’t actually do very much in the NINE years she was an opposition MP.
All true, but I am shocked… not by the fact that Jacinda is not truthful, which is nothing new, but by the fact that she thought she could spin two different lines, one for the Australians and one for the folks back home, and actually get away with it?
She gets away with it at home, of course, because no one from the media ever asks her a difficult question, but it seems that the Australians are not quite so affected by her fairy dust.
So, it shouldn’t take any of us by surprise when she says one thing to us to make us feel nice and make her look strong, and then to say something completely different to a different audience.
For the record, I don’t think it makes her look strong. I think it makes her look arrogant, and I don’t want her wrecking our relationship with Australia. She cannot rely on the goodwill of previous prime ministers to save her… she has to create some goodwill with Australia herself, and she is not doing that by using the word ‘corrosive’.
Australia obviously has some decent journalists though, who can read foreign websites and confront her with relevant questions. If only we had a few more of those over here.