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.