U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney hopes to receive a luke-warm reception when he visits Australia later this month, to thank Australia for the thankless task of participating in the war in Iraq. Mr Cheney’s tour will also incorporate Japan, Guam, and a number of “undisclosed locations”.
Extraordinarily tight security will be in place to protect civilians in the event of Mr Cheney firing on them.
The Coalition has hinted that Cheney will reward Australia for its support with tariff cuts. But the hints have apparently fallen on deaf ears, with Cheney suggesting the thanks will be more in the form of a fruit basket and a nice card.
Despite pressure for host John Howard to grill the Vice-President over the fate of long-time Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks, the Prime Minister John Howard says he “may not bring up” Hick’s trial. “I don’t want to come across as pushy,” he said. “If Mr Cheney feels that he’s ready to talk about it, then we will, I’m not going to bug him about it, if it doesn’t feel ‘right’.”
The Republican powerbroker is also expected to meet Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd. “With his personal approval rating at 18%, he wants to know how he can bounce back in the polls,” said Rudd. “Who better to ask than the party once led by Simon Crean?'”
Mr Cheney said he acknowledged that Japan and Australia were drawing their commitment to an end, and hoped other countries would commit resources to Iraq. Unfortunately, Iran and Syria were the only countries to answer his call.