Give Gillard a chance, she's learning as she goes
With the continued unravelling of the government's plans to entine whichever cash strapped developing nation it can – Timor or perhaps Papua New Guinea – into taking asylum seekers heading to Australia, international affairs expert Dr Michael Wesley leaps to PM Julia Gillard's defence:
I don't think we can judge Prime Minister Gillard on this particular episode.
I think Julia Gillard is in kind with a very long line of prime ministers. People like Malcom Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard really had no experience of foreign affairs when they became Prime Minister.
I think in a lot of ways Kevin Rudd was a rarity. He will stand out as a rarity in Australian political history. In a prime minister with significant diplomatic experience and background on coming to office.
I think Julia Gillard is much more in the mould of prime ministers who have not really focused on foreign affairs before they have reached office but then become quite adept at it once they get a feel for it in office.
Wesley's remarks are absurd. Rudd's diplomatic experience didn't help him come to terms with the asylum seeker "problem".
Surely there are career foreign affairs experts within the government who would have advised the Prime Minister to consult with Timore before announcing her overly ambitious plan. Were the experts consulted or is Gillard, like Rudd, so impressed with herself that she saw no need? Regardless, the rapidly developing asylum seeker shunt fiasco bodes well for netiher Labor nor Australia.