The hunt for missing Malaysian airliner MH370 has been taking place in the ocean to the west of Perth. With the world’s media watching during his visit to China, Abbott gleefully announced on 12 April 2014 that:
We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres, but confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost four-and-a-half kilometres beneath the sea.
The Chinese were particularly interested as the majority of the passengers are from China.
It was a big call that he seemed to backing away from when he spoke to the media on 28 April:
Once "V confident" of finding #MH370's black box, Oz Pm Abbott now "baffled & disappointed" as search draws blank http://t.co/WLJo9fnfxE
— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) April 28, 2014
Many saw it as a back down:
Why did Tony Abbott tell the world weeks ago he was 'confident' Australian military had found #MH370 plane's black box? #auspol
— Sandra K Eckersley (@SandraEckersley) April 26, 2014
Abbott doesn't think he said in China that Aust had found MH370……. but rest of world took that from his words!
— Agnes Mack (@AgnessMack) April 28, 2014
Not afraid of some more hyperbole, the PM persevered at his media conference:
Abbott: "This is probably the most difficult search in human history." #MH370
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) April 28, 2014
#MH370 Does Abbott know no shame? Please show some consideration for the families and stop hyping this up?
— Duke of Martin Place (@lightonhill) April 28, 2014
A thread soon emerged on twitter alleging an attempt to distract the local audience from damaging scandals concerning his own Liberal Party colleagues at the Independent Commission of Corruption [ICAC] in New South Wales. The resignation of the State Premier the previous week has been followed by more political heads rolling over money laundering.
Lol Abbott's 14:00 presser about #MH370 What a joke, distraction from money laundering allegations at #icac #auspol
— Quiet_Please (@Quiet__Please) April 28, 2014
Abbott declared hunt for MH370 "the greatest search in the history of man". But ICAC's hunt into the Liberal party might eclipse it #auspol
— Count de Monet (@Gordicans) April 28, 2014
Tony Abbott is prepared to put his money where his machismo is, but some think it’s a waste:
19 days ago Aus officials hoped to find #MH370 wreckage within "a matter of days." Now we're talking months. And $60 million in resources.
— Chico Harlan (@chicoharlan) April 28, 2014
The search area is once again being widened, as the world watches with increasing disbelief:
So Abbott's basically saying they have no idea where the hell #MH370 is. http://t.co/m1VvnS7g4J
— Matt Young (@MattYoung) April 28, 2014