In today’s Age, newly recruited columnist Julie Szabo takes — surprise! surprise! — an anti-Abbott line, seizing upon the Prime Minister’s diplomatic courtesy in hailing the bravery of the Japanese submariners who died after penetrating Sydney Harbour in May, 1942, as proof positive of his tin ear for public sentiment. Szabo believes Abbott should have kept his mouth shut, a view she advances by quoting General Sir Thomas Blamey’s observation when accepting the surrender of Japanese forces in September, 1945.
“In receiving your surrender,” he said, “I do not recognise you as an honourable and gallant foe.”
The inference is clear: If Blamey couldn’t bring himself to respect the defeated foe, Abbott shouldn’t either. Trouble is, that Blamey quote has been somewhat, er, truncated. What the Australian military commander actually said was this (emphasis added):
“..In receiving your surrender I do not recognize you as an honorable and gallant foe, but you will be treated with due but severe courtesy in all matters.”
Courtesy, eh? Six decades after the Sydney attack, Abbott extended that commodity to visiting Japanese PM Abe, but there is little chance he will get any of that from the Fairfax press.
UPDATE: In further Fairfax news, one of the green types who infest the media company’s newsrooms has a monumental sook about the repeal of the carbon tax. Such misery in one so young is a joy to behold.