A fascinating look/leak into the Abbott gov's cabinet meeting on Monday night. In it there was open revolt against Abbott, even by his own deputy Asbestos Julie. The subject matter was of extreme importance to Australia, to do with one of humanity's basic human rights; that of the right of citizenship and not to be made stateless.
Unbelievably, Abbott and Dutton wanted to be able to strip an Australian of their citizenship over some expansion of anti-terror laws. Incredibly, not after the person had gone through the courts and been found guilty of terrorism, but simply on the suspicion of the defence minister Dutton. A stupendously stupid idea that would no doubt be roundly condemned in the community at large. Not to be dismayed by this though, Abbott, Dutton and (of course) Morrison actually argued the implausable case for such an outrageous measure.
The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, was proposing that he should have the power, at his own discretion, to strip an Australian of his or her citizenship. Even if it's the only citizenship they have. It was not for any random reason, however, but specifically for use on people suspected of terrorism-related offences. moreBut, as if that wasn't enough, this plan had been hatched in secret and the cabinet had no notification that this was going to be discussed at the meeting. Not even deputy PM Asbestos Julie knew about it. A situation completely beyond protocol and which beggars belief. The legislation was a giant captains call, ambushed onto the cabinet by said captain.
The matter was not listed on the cabinet agenda. There was no cabinet submission. There was no written proposal of any kind in front of the ministers.Judging from the article, the discussion that followed wasn't in the least measured or polite. Abbott ended up being rolled on it, by none the less than his own cabinet.
Abbott brought up the subject only at the end of a cabinet meeting on other business, then asked Dutton to speak on it. It emerged during debate that there was a discussion paper on the subject, and Brandis volunteered that he had seen a copy and had been debating the idea with Abbott in the inner sanctum of cabinet's National Security Committee.
It was at this point in a tense and difficult debate that Bishop stunned the meeting with a further revelation: "I haven't seen a discussion paper."
The ministers around the table instantly understood. The Prime Minister had tried to ambush his cabinet.
Bishop is the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the minister with oversight of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, a member of the National Security Committee of cabinet and a central figure in Australia's effort to defeat the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State.
The depth of mistrust between the Liberal leader and his deputy was starkly exposed. more
What's more, the Terrorgraph had been informed of it before Abbott's own Cabinet.
Turnbull was incensed: "Here we go again," he told his Prime Minister in the meeting. "Talking about something as momentous as this and there is nothing in front of us. There's a discussion paper that only a few of us have seen. This is a shambles."So we have a situation where Abbott's own cabinet, including his own deputy the second in command, the deputy prime minister, doesn't trust Abbott. How in the hell are the rest of the community supposed to trust him then?
Turnbull asked Abbott directly if the Daily Telegraph had been briefed on the proposal for the next morning's paper, which would have meant the cabinet meeting had been pre-empted by the Prime Minister's press office. The Telegraph is a favoured Abbott outlet for signalling his moves in advance.
It had not, replied Abbott.
Yet the next morning the Telegraph carried a report saying that the proposal would be "included in the bill" that had been approved by the cabinet the night before. Oops. more
FFS on Monday he lied to his own cabinet. He just can't help himself.