Tony Abbott Thinks Australians Are “Sick Of Being Lectured By The UN” About Torture, Is A Big Sook

Someone call the waaaahmbulance.

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News that Australia’s detention policy for asylum seekers is in breach of the United Nations Convention Against Torture broke this morning, taking the list of people who’ve come out in condemnation of mandatory detention to roughly “everyone but us”. Rather than react to the news that they’ve been torturing more than they probably should be (read: zero torturing) by, you know, stopping, the government’s responded by metaphorically flipping the UN the bird and kicking a small child in the face, marking an improvement on the standards kids on Manus Island are used to.

Earlier today Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quizzed on his reaction to the report in a press conference, which must’ve been a fairly high-wire exercise given there’s not much wiggle-room to say anything in a press scrum like that other than “torture is bad and we don’t like it.” Instead of doing that, though, Abbott responded with the diplomatic equivalent of a child’s tantrum in a supermarket.

“Look, I think Australians are pretty sick of being lectured to. I really think Australians are sick of being lectured to by the United Nations,” Abbott said, presumably while getting ready to give them a Chinese burn for dobbing.

“I think the UN’s representatives would have a lot more credibility if they were to give some credit to the Australian government” for stopping the boats, the PM continued. Just as an aside, the guy who prepared the UN report, Professor Juan Méndez, is the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, helped found the American branch of Human Rights Watch and was tortured by the Argentine military dictatorship for 18 months back in 1975 for defending political prisoners. Admittedly he’s no Peter Dutton, but surely the word of a guy like that can be taken to have some “credibility”.

“The most humanitarian, the most decent, the most compassionate thing you can do is stop these boats because hundreds, we think about 1200 in fact, drowned at sea during the flourishing of the people smuggling trade under the former government,” Abbott said. The government runs the “stopping the boats saves lives” line a lot, and it’s a halfway-decent point unless you think about it for anywhere north of half a second. Asylum seekers are no longer drowning in Australian waters, but they’re absolutely still dying, whether in Australian-run detention centres or in the countries Australia’s sent them back to“Stopping the boats” didn’t mean the world’s refugees magically disappeared — it just means they’re choosing either to flee to countries already grappling with far more refugees than Australia does, or staying put to get murdered by ISIS or the Taliban.

But anyway, how mean are the UN, right? So mean.

While it’s a bit rich for a guy with a 24 percent approval rating to claim Australians are sick of anything, I suppose we should be thankful he didn’t call for the entire UN to resign for its clear showing of Labor bias. In next week’s episode of Senior Government Ministers Are All Giant Babies, Treasurer Joe Hockey is in court today suing Fairfax for writing something that hurt his feelings, and old tweets of his like this are coming out of the woodwork.

God help us.