What do you do when your Government's long failure to adequately prepare for or deal with natural disasters is exposed yet again? Trot out Murray McCully, of course.

At least, that's the only explanation for the way the Government reacted to the popping in of Rodrigo Duterte, the anti-Catholic president of the overwhelmingly Catholic Philippines.

Armchair psychoanalysis is not generally to be encouraged but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Duterte is a few beads short of a rosary.

He is the one who encouraged private citizens to kill on sight anyone they suspect of being a drug dealers or user - 2400 dead so far - and who called Barack Obama and the Pope sons of whores and threatened martial law if his country's Supreme Court opposed him.

Advertisement

Fortunately, the Government has experience in turning out all the lights and pretending it's not home when faced with the prospect of diplomatically unwelcome visitors, such as anyone whose presence might upset the delicate sensitivities of the Chinese Government.

In this case, however, our representatives seem to have opted for the option of playing nice with people you wouldn't leave alone with your children or, as it has become known, the Saudi Solution, and despatched McCully.

How did our foreign minister find one of the international scene's most loathsome individuals?

"He's a very engaging character and it's not difficult to discuss sensitive issues with him," gushed an apparently bowled-over foreign minister.

He had gone out of his way to call on Duterte in his hotel, where he no doubt interrupted the president trolling Pope Francis on twitter.

"He has got quite firm views and he expresses them, and very colourfully," McCully went on, probably struggling to suppress his blushes and keeping his eyes fixed on the ground.

One of the things he liked most about Duterte was that he was just, you know, so easy to talk to: "We talked about everything," he said. The president also brought out the foreign minister's nurturing side, McCully explaining he wanted to "welcome him and make sure that he is being looked after here".

I don't imagine there was any doubt about that by the time the diplomatic slobbering was over.

It would be easy to describe all this as currying favour and toadying, but that would be unfair to curry and toads.
***
A six-month pregnant woman whose real name may or may not be Caitlin and who has recently become separated from the father of her child told a Sydney radio station she has been using Tinder to find dates.

It might just be me but thought I detected a faint whiff of disapproval in accounts of this.

Caitlin's real shame, if any, should be for having talked to Sydney morning radio hosts, but that's not where the criticism focused. Rabid UK hate sheet the Daily Mail proclaimed: "Pregnant mother admits to using Tinder despite carrying a child." "Admits" and "despite" do the finger wagging there.

People seemed most upset Caitlin doesn't tell men she's pregnant on Tinder.

But she is well aware they are going to find out very quickly when they meet. She doesn't try to convince them it's just wind. The hard part, as with so many things in life, is getting in front of someone for that first meeting.

I suspect that the real difficulty people have is the idea of a pregnant woman having any interest in men or sex. Caitlin, without someone in her life to whom she needs to be loyal, has every right to look for both sex and/or a partner.