Indonesian Newspaper Depicts Australian PM as Masturbating Voyeur

Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been depicted in an Indonesian newspaper as a masturbating voyeur, as tension over Australia’s surveillance program heats up. The cartoon was placed on the front page of Rakyat Merdeka, showing the Prime Minister, sweating and drooling, peering into a door labelled “Inodnesia” while pleasuring himself with his right hand. He is wearing Australian-flag underwear and is mumbling “Sssst! Oh MyGod Indo… So Sexy.”

Indonesian Newspaper Cartoon Shows Tony Abbot Masturbating

The tasteless pasquinade was published in response to new Snowden leaks that allege Australia’s Defense Signals Directorate bugged the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the phones of his closest circle. In response to these spying allegations, Indonesia has recalled its ambassador to Australia and has requested that the Australian government apologize. Later Indonesia downgraded its relationship with Australia further by suspending military cooperation.

Demonstrators have burned Australian flags and photos of Mr. Abbott in front of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The Prime Minister has not apologized. Kevin Rudd was the Prime Minister at the time that the spying was authorized, not Mr. Abbott. Relations between Australia and Indonesia have been sticky in the past and reactions to the spying allegations are adding to the friction.

The same Jakarta daily newspaper, Rakyat Merdeka, published a lewd cartoon in 2006 that depicted then Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as fornicating dingos. The newspaper was critical of Australia’s decision to grant protection visas to 43 Papuans seeking asylum, as it was seen as a political move to push for West Papua’s separation. In the cartoon, Howard is saying: “I want Papua!! Alex! Try to make it happen.” It was drawn by the same artist who drew the recent one of President Abbott masturbating. The artist has retired since the 2006 cartoon but was called upon by the editor to produce a new piece that ridicules PM Abbott.

2006 Offensive Cartoon in Indonesian Newspaper

The gaping rift between Indonesia and Australia deepened when The Weekend Australian published another grotesque cartoon parodying this one. In it, the Indonesian President was drawn as a dog mounting a Papuan with a bone through his nose. The caption read: “No offence intended,” although the cartoon is clearly meant to offend.

Offensive 2006 Cartoon in Australia

The two countries share important economic ties, with over US$12 billion in trade between them. 2,137,537 passengers have traveled between Indonesia and Australia in 2012, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. Australians flock to the beaches of Bali to enjoy cheap vacations and Indonesians travel to Australia, often to visit family members. Australian diplomats are pushing for a presidential reprieve for members of the Bali Nine, a group of convicted Australian drug smugglers, some of whom may be facing death by firing squad. Recent diplomatic rows can have deep repercussions in many ways.

If recent history repeats itself, we might expect to see a new lurid illustration of the Indonesian President in an Australian newspaper, although it would not make any sense to go with the “tit-for-tat” treatment from the 2006 Cartoon War and depict him as a masturbating voyeur as well.

K. Elsner

The Australian

BBC

Sydney Morning Herald