Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been warned to keep his “winking” out of diplomacy, with the infamous gesture now also making headlines in Indonesia.
The wink – Mr Abbott’s response while listening to a 67-year-old talkback radio caller who said she was working on an adult sex line to supplement her pension and pay her healthcare bills – has been shared globally on social media.
It has been interpreted in many ways, with the prime minister himself describing it as a “mistake”.
The Jakarta Post newspaper says in Indonesia, his wink could be seen as suggestive of arrogance.
In its editorial on Friday, titled “Abbott’s wink: what’s the joke?”, the influential English-language newspaper noted, “In the eyes of many Indonesians, the PM is not averse to being insensitive.”
Relations between Indonesia and Australia quickly deteriorated after Abbott came to power, as he demonstrated he was going to be much tougher with his neighbour than the Labor Party had been.
In doing so, he is perceived by many Indonesians to be extremely arrogant.
The newspaper says Mr Abbott can expect Indonesia’s next president to be less accommodating than Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Winking and smiling while listening to Indonesia’s complaints will cost him diplomatically, it says.
Mr Abbott is tipped to visit Jakarta next month, his first trip since Indonesia suspended cooperation with Australia late last year over spying claims.