Our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd (the dentist), has had as many overseas trips at the taxpayers' expense as I have. Unlike a couple of his predecessors, he has not sought my advice about discreet rub-and-tug shops in Bangkok, though I would have been delighted to assist him should he be desirous of getting his rocket polished in a tasteful setting. He needs to watch his back, however, because Malcolm Turnbull - the next prime minister, incidentally - is waiting for the first opportunity to shaft him. Malcolm, like me, comes from a good old Irish-Australian background, but he once gave me a serve in the British press, accusing me of damaging Australia’s overseas image. I didn’t give a stuff because, quite frankly, I am Australia’s overseas image. But I had to hand it to old Mal. If you’re a nonentity, as he was at the time, the best way to get a bit of publicity is to impugn the patriotism of a bloke everyone knows and loves. I felt like shaking his hand, though my hand was pretty busy at the time. Are you with me?
Diary and Diplomatic Notebook both from The Spectator