Out of the least mysterious air crash since Napoleonic times (plane over war zone suddenly changes altitude, gunner panics, shoots it down) Abbott sought to spin a tale of lengthening horror and suspense. It may be months, he told the bereaved, before we know what happened, or bury at last the remains of the dead. He sent Julie Bishop off to New York to ‘campaign’ for an open, international inspection of the crash site, achieving this in the UN Security Council despite the veto of China, who thought her a ‘complete fool’, and Russia, who found Abbott’s McCarthyist rush to judgment ‘unacceptable’. She took off in a warlike mood, promising a long, hard fight, but Russia agreed to everything while she was in the air.
Campbell Newman then threatened to deny the pleasures of Brisbane to the world’s most powerful man, Vlad Putin, unless he grovelled in several ways. Six hours later he lost a byelection by the largest swing in Queensland history. Duplicated federally, it would lose the Coalition eighty-seven seats, leaving them with three. Abbott, Hockey, Morrison, Pyne, both Bishops, Dutton, Hunt, Roy, Turnbull, would be among the members mulched in mid-career.
Abbott, having wasted half a billion dollars looking for MH370, resolved to spend half a billion more on Malaysian Airways’ previous manifest incompetence, finding them a more deserving target of Australian largesse than every Australian schoolkid, despite their having by their organisational fuckwittedness killed forty blameless Australians thus far.
Abbott struck a Churchillian pose, promising ‘justice for the dead, and closure for the living’, this closure to be delayed by many, many months while experts examined the remains of the deceased, for what information it is hard to say. He thought it worth threatening the nation that won World War 2 with international humiliation in Brisbane and giving the co-culprit, Malaysia, buckets of money to further explore their last big, mortal mistake.
And so it goes.