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Turnbull Government at war with itself - and the truth - over UNSC nomination



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SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TURNBULL GOVERNMENT AT WAR WITH ITSELF - AND THE TRUTH - OVER UNSC NOMINATION

The Turnbull Government’s failure to deal fairly with Kevin Rudd’s proposed nomination as the United Nations Secretary-General has exposed deep divisions inside the Cabinet, gross breaches of Cabinet confidentiality, and caused Australia international embarrassment.

Last night it was revealed that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key publicly criticised the Rudd bid two days after receiving a call from Mr Turnbull about the position.

Mr Turnbull’s attempt to outsource his dirty work to the Prime Minister of New Zealand is more evidence of Mr Turnbull’s failure to understand the difference between politics and government.

Nominating Kevin Rudd - a former diplomat, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister - should have been a formality at last Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.

Instead, the partisanship and division that characterises the barely-elected Turnbull Government overwhelmed the national interest and petty politics won the day.

Every aspect of the decision has been subject to damaging leaks, including the content of departmental submissions, the views put by Ministers in the Cabinet room and the numbers around the Cabinet table.

The final outcome has been spun so much that even senior Ministers can’t remember if it was a captain’s call or not.

Worse, the outgoing and incoming Secretaries of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been drawn into political controversy in an attempt to justify the decision not to support an Australian nominee for the senior United Nations post.

Questions also remain about what the Prime Minister told the Foreign Minister about his dealings with Mr Rudd.

The only Coalition political figure to emerge with any credibility from this fiasco is the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, who recognised that the national interest matters more than party politics.

This episode is a poor portent for the sort of government Malcolm Turnbull and his divided Coalition will deliver this term.

WEDNESDAY, 3 AUGUST 2016

MEDIA CONTACT: ANNIE WILLIAMS 0428 040 522