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Malcolm and national security

June 6, 2016

This is Greg Sheridan discussing Malcolm’s views on foreign policy.

The other shocking national-security moment for many Liberals came after Attorney-General George Brandis called on Labor to dis­endorse Peta Murphy, its candid­ate for Dunkley, because she had opposed tough anti-terror laws and questioned whether ­al-Qa’ida’s Somali affiliate, al-­Shabab, should be listed as a terror group. Questioned on Brandis’s stance, Turnbull declined to support him.

Sheridan then goes on to discuss the effect on Liberal “insiders” because, I suppose, we outsiders had not come across this:

Even more astonishing to Liberal insiders, Brandis had co-­ordinated his remarks with Liberal campaign headquarters and was encouraged to make the call. Partly because of the PM declining to back his A-G, terrorism has gone unmentioned in the campaign, ­despite terrorism-related arrests.

No Liberal expects Turnbull to channel Tony Abbott on terrorism, much less to overpoliticise ­arrests. But protecting the nation from terrorism is a core function of government and the Coalition has a very good record on this.

Yet Turnbull refuses to make anything of this issue even though the government is marginally ­behind in the polls and confidence of victory depends on the hope of sandbagging enough seats to resist the general swing.

Sheridan continues further along the same line:

Turnbull and his campaign make almost no mention of defence and Australia’s strategic challenges. Yet ­almost all national-security analysts agree the nation’s strategic circumstances are becoming more challenging. There is an obvious, strong case that the coalition is better equipped to handle these ­issues than Labor, but the PM’s ­apparent discomfort with national security, or unwillingness to campaign on it, has left Liberal silent on one of its strongest issues.

I continually hear about how we need stability and given our recent past, how important it is to allow a Prime Minister to get through his full term. For me, a promise to throw Malcolm out within the first six months of the next Parliament would be the only certain way to get my vote.

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