Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as they shake hands, after speaking to the media following their meeting at the state guest house in Tokyo April 7, 2014. Japan and Australia clinched a basic trade deal on Monday to cut import tariffs, as U.S. and Japanese officials stepped up efforts to reach a parallel agreement that would re-energise stalled talks on a broader regional pact. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS) April 7, 2014
It may not be a selfie photo that became controversial like that of U.S. President Barack Obama and an athlete who has an endorsement for Samsung. But Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's photo talking on the phone and posted on Twitter has became viral and subject to parodies (https://twitter.com/TonyAbbottMHR/status/453820001292521472/photo/1).
Mr Abbott, who uses the Twitter handle @TonyAbbottMHR, was talking to Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, the chief coordinator of the ongoing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 jet.
Soon, Twitter members "joined the conversation" by posting photos of themselves holding phones or different items to look funny.
Besides the parodies, there are also a number of comments made on social media sites about the original photo of the Australian PM.
Jessamie Dunton-Rose tweeted, "When will politicians learn not to tweet pictures of themselves on the phone trying to look important."
Sean Keeley asked, "Is the 'Tony Abbott on the phone' caption contest open to entries?
The Guardian noted that Mr Abbott was channeling his British counterpart, pointing out that British Prime Minister David Cameron was likewise the subject of photo parodies when he recently posted pictures of himself on the phone talking to Mr Obama.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins as he arrives at Number 10 Downing Street in London April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS) April 9, 2014
Hugh William dismisses the viral photos, pointing out that "The photo of Tony Abbott on the phone and subsequent pics of ppl holding objects up the ear is 98% less funny because it's been done b4," obviously referring to Mr Cameron.
Jason Tozer commented, "I don't think a selfie on the phone is appropriate," although technically the photo was not a selfie but taken by Mr Abbott's media staff.
The tweets indicate how Aussies view their politicians in general and their PM in particular, such as this suggestion from Dave Gaukroger which was actually posted in November, ahead of the viral photo, but nonetheless a valid commentary on Australian politics.
Mr Gaukroger suggested: "Can someone please get the Pope on the phone to Tony Abbott so he can tell him to stop being a dick? I don't know who else he'd listen to."