This story in The Australian is headlined “Pope envoy quits to ‘slow down'”. Come now, whoever you are who dreams up the headlines for such stories, the Hon. Mr Tim Fischer is hardly “quitting”. As the story itself puts it far more accurately, he is “not seek[ing] an extension to the job given to him by Kevin Rudd in 2008.” He had a clear term, and it was clear from the beginning that he saw this as a one term appointment. He has said “I want to return home and to my family farm and slow down,” and good on him too. Job well done, Tim! I just hope that whatever government is elected on August 21 recognises that you have demonstrated that maintaining a diplomatic post in Rome is a good idea and appoints a replacement when you return home.
There is a rather nice little story included in the Australian piece:
Mr Fischer said if the Pope’s reaction to Australian wine was an indicator, celebrations at the canonisation would be well attended. He said the Pope’s “poker face” was cracked by a gift of dessert wine from Mr Rudd last year.
“This great smile appeared across Pope Benedict’s face as he looked down on these beautifully packaged bottles of Australian dessert wine,” Mr Fischer said. “I’m told within 48 hours they weren’t to be found anywhere.”
I had been told that the Holy Father was not particularly fond of wine, but perhaps the fact is that he simply isn’t fond of Italian wine, and prefers the Australian drop. I can understand that. When we were travelling in Italy last year, we did not avoid the local drop (which is, at least, affordable), but it was a great relief to finally be served Australian wine at the reception held for us at Mr Fischer’s residence.