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Thursday, 27 November 2014
Page: 9541

Minister for Defence


Senator CONROY (VictoriaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:08): Mr President, my question is to the Minister for Defence. I refer the minister to an article by Dennis Shanahan in The Australian which says of the defence minister:

His long-term standing is mortally damaged, he’s lost the confidence of his Cabinet colleagues and his comments have been publicly disowned by the Prime Minister.

Will the minister now walk the plank and resign?

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on both sides!



Senator JOHNSTON (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) (14:08): Of course not.


Senator CONROY (VictoriaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:09): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I refer the minister to the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald today, which says of his performance:

Mr Abbott must be considering not only the future of Senator Johnston but also the performances of other ministers.

It adds:

Mr Abbott eventually will reshuffle cabinet, when he tires of defending the indefensible.

Given that it is now only a matter of time before the minister is reshuffled out of the cabinet, will he do the right thing and resign? (Time expired)


Senator JOHNSTON (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) (14:09): Again, no.


Senator CONROY (VictoriaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:09): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. I refer the minister to senior journalist Laura Tingle, who described him today as 'a dead man standing', and to Mark Kenny from Fairfax, who said:

A reshuffle when it comes will see him moved—perhaps all the way to the backbench.

Isn't it time the minister did the Prime Minister and his colleagues a favour and resign?


Senator JOHNSTON (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) (14:10): I think I have already answered that question.