Labor's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has described as disgusting and disgraceful a cartoon depicting the prime minister and foreign minister as fornicating dingoes.
The cartoon of John Howard and Alexander Downer dominated the front page of one of Indonesia's biggest-selling newspapers, the Islamic-leaning Rakyat Merdeka (People's Freedom).
Headlined "The adventure of two dingo" (sic), the drawing shows the prime minister as the dominant dog, shaking as he tells the foreign minister: "I want Papua!! Alex! Try to make it happen!"
Today after seeing the cartoon, Mr Rudd said he would raise his concerns about it with the Indonesian ambassador.
"This is a disgusting and disgraceful depiction of the prime minister and the foreign minister, I don't think it passes any standard of taste anywhere in the world," Mr Rudd said."
It seems the cynical bilateral game that has been played with the lives of asylum seekers can go sour when one side perceives the other as two-faced. The sorry debacle of a foreign policy shaped to accommodate shifting domestic public opinion, married to a short-sighted unilateral or limited 'bilateral' approach to complex strategic issues, is coming home to roost.