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Cancelled Indonesia trip: PM is embarrassment to Australia - Milne

Media Release
Christine Milne 3 May 2014

The Australian Greens say Tony Abbott's cruel refugee policy and Operation Sovereign Borders condemns Australia to a deteriorated relationship with Indonesia.

"This is Tony Abbott in action. He is an embarrassment internationally and at home," Greens Leader Christine Milne said.

"With Indonesia having already expressed its extreme displeasure at Australia dumping life boats in Indonesian waters, imagine how embarrassing it would have been for President Yudhoyono to have to stand with Tony Abbott as a group of dehydrated, sick and desperate refugees in an orange life boat drifted back from Australia.

"The Prime Minister should be doing everything he can to repair the relationship. A meeting with the Indonesian President would have been a step in the right direction and this cancellation is an opportunity lost.

"Tony Abbott is hoist on his own petard. It is because of his own cruel refugee policy that he stood to embarrass the President and that our relationship with Indonesia has been so damaged in the first place.

"It is very clear that Indonesia wants to heal the relationship as does Australia, but while the Abbott government continues to tow life boats back into Indonesian waters with a view to them drifting back to the coast somewhere, it will continue to jeopardise the relationship."

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