Daily Bulletin


Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor

It’s ON between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – the political equivalent of nuclear war.

Escalating hostilities have come to a spectacular head over Wednesday’s story in The Australian. It reported the Turnbull government’s defence white paper had delayed the acquisition of new submarines compared with the draft produced under Abbott, with the former prime minister saying he was “flabbergasted at this decision”.

The story, by The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, quoted sections of a draft of the white paper from Abbott’s time. The draft was a classified national security committee (NSC) document. When Abbott was prime minister the Turnbull forces often accused the then prime minister’s office of leaking NSC documents.

Responding to a question from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Turnbull announced that the secretary of the Defence Department, Dennis Richardson, had asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the leak.

Shortly before, Turnbull, Defence Minister Marise Payne, Richardson and the head of the Australian Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, had met in Turnbull’s office to discuss the leak. It was agreed the police should be called in.

The Australian story referred to the public statement from then-defence minister Kevin Andrews a year ago that it would be necessary for the first submarine to be built by the mid-2020s. The draft white paper had “the first submarines likely to begin entering service in the late 2020s”, Sheridan wrote. Despite the caution in the draft, Abbott and Andrews were determined to get the first submarine built by 2026-27, the report said.

In parliament Turnbull also took aim at the Abbott timetable. He said Richardson and Binskin had advised him and Payne that the advice to the government since 2013 “has been that it was highly unlikely the first of the future submarines could be delivered by 2026”.

The day before The Australian’s story appeared Binskin was asked, at a briefing for journalists on the white paper, whether its reference to the early 2030s had changed since the switch of minister and prime minister. He said: “No, no, not at all. No.”

Some days prior to that Binskin told The Australian extra time was needed because the process of selecting, designing and building the new submarines could not be rushed.

Sources confirm that Abbott when prime minister was set on the 2026 date but this had been regarded as unrealistic and was against all professional advice.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said that “whatever happened between the draft and the final document would have happened on the basis of the advice from Defence".

Abbott denied having leaked the document. “I don’t leak, I don’t background against colleagues. If I’ve got something to say, I say it.” But he stood by his comments about the delay. Sheridan also denied Abbott was the source.

On the precedents, as all the players know, there would seem zip chance that the origin of this leak will be traced. It looks so obviously political that finding it could make things worse.

The subs story follows Abbott’s Tuesday high-profile partyroom intervention in the tax debate, when he warned against changes, especially to negative gearing, and said there should be a fresh effort to cut spending.

One close-in observer says: “Today’s story has nothing to do with submarines – it has everything to do with Abbott turning into Rudd”.

A Liberal MP sees him as motivated by hatred of Turnbull and going “full bore” to try to destroy the man who destroyed him. “This guy is going to blow up the place,” he says. Another Liberal parliamentarian describes Abbott’s latest action as a “huge strategic blunder” by the former leader.

The question now is how far Abbott is willing to go in his attacks on Turnbull – whether this has turned into a crusade for which the government will pay an increasingly high price in an election year. The cost to Abbott will also spiral if he persists – but what frightens some Liberals is that he may not care.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/abbott-turnbull-conflict-goes-nuclear-55659

Writers Wanted

Yes government debt is cheap, but that doesn't mean it comes risk-free

arrow_forward

Young African migrants are pushed into uni, but more find success and happiness in vocational training

arrow_forward

Ruth Bader Ginsburg forged a new place for women in the law and society

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

How to Secure Home-Based Entrepreneurs from Cyber Threats

Small businesses are becoming a trend nowadays. The people with entrepreneurial skills and minds are adopting home-based businesses because of their advantage and ease of working from home. But...

News Company - avatar News Company

Why Businesses Must Consider Marketing Automation over ESPs

If you have been using email marketing for your brand you must be familiar with using ESPs such as Mailchimp, Vertical Response, or Constant Contact. These email service providers are used for s...

Kevin George - avatar Kevin George

How To Create A Better Impression With Your Business Card

There’s no doubt that done well, business cards can deliver a lot for a brand. The problem, then, is that there aren’t very many good business cards out there! This is hardly the fault of the bu...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion