The Indonesian President is seriously miffed that Abbott didn’t take seriously enough the sense of invasion of privacy when in the process of intelligence gathering, the phones of a number of senior Indonesian politicians, including the wife of the President, had their phones tapped. In a hardline response, Indonesia is likely to redirect most or all of its beef imports from Australia which would cripple the industry within Australia.
On 20 November, the Coalition government and opposition parted diplomatic ways as Prime Minister Tony Abbott ruled refused to apologise for the tapping of the mobile phone of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior ministers.
Mr Abbott pushed back at Dr Yudhoyono after the Indonesian president took the extraordinary step of using Twitter to upbraid Mr Abbott in English for not taking the issue seriously.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urged Mr Abbott to copy US President Barack Obama, who rang German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally after US intelligence was similarly exposed as having tapped her mobile.
With Indonesia withdrawing its Canberra ambassador, vowing to review all forms of bilateral co-operation, and demanding an explanation and an apology, Mr Abbott held fast in Parliament on Tuesday 20 November.