Abbott slaps down Turnbull on Huawei

The Abbott Government is hopelessly divided on national security, Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare said today.

The Australian newspaper reports today that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out any review of the ban on Huawei participating in the roll out of the National Broadband Network.

The report followed a letter from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to the Prime Minister seeking an urgent briefing on the Abbott Government’s position on Huawei. This letter was prompted by comments from the Minister for Communications that indicated division within the Government on this issue and a desire by some Ministers to allow Huawei to participate in the rollout of the NBN.

“This is a humiliating slap down for Malcolm Turnbull,” Mr Clare said.

“Last week Malcolm Turnbull said the decision of the former Labor government would be reviewed. This week Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and George Brandis have all come out and slapped him down.

“The Abbott Government is divided on this important national security issue. Malcolm Turnbull, Andrew Robb and Julie Bishop are on one side claiming the Huawei decision would be reviewed.

“On the other side is Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and George Brandis. The events of this week show where the power really lies.

“The Government has belatedly made the right decision but it comes at a cost. It has opened old wounds and divisions in the Liberal Party.

“This is too important an issue for Australia’s national interest to be the plaything of the egos of the Liberal Party.

“I suspect Malcolm Turnbull won’t forget how he has been treated by Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and George Brandis this week.”