Winning a non-permanent seat on the UN security council was a good achievement for Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bob Carr.
It is also good for Australia.
Although these two statements are obviously true leading Liberals like Abbott, Hockey and Minchin have all made comments that seek to diminish the importance of Australia's success.
Weirdest of all was Minchin who said it was 'disgusting'.
Also weird was Hockey's apparent belief that the UN security council should be doing something about Australia's asylum seeker problem.
Abbott got caught out because he was geared up to attack Gillard and Carr for failing to win the bid, and then had to say it was 'good' but too expensive and not really important.
Abbott missed an opportunity to be a little statesmanlike.
Australia is a middle power and as a middle power we need to do what a middle power would be expected to do.
That means a capacity to project military strength (see the most recent defence white paper).
It also means a willingness to participate and contribute in world affairs at regional and global levels.
The comments of Abbott, Hockey and Minchin are, of course, just the usual political point-scoring.
But they also suggest a poor understanding of how international relations and foreign policy work.
The Liberals seem intent on a narrow (Australia's immediate interests only), transactional approach.
Today's Liberals seem to have pulled back from the more expansive approach of John Howard eg war on terror and East Timor intervention.
They have pulled back from Howard's realism to something that is so narrowly pragmatic that it can only diminish Australia's standing in the eyes of the world.
Australia needs leaders that understand that our nation's interests lie in the broader architectures of international relationships not just "doing something about the boats".