Nelson just dropped the bomb on Malcolm
The appointment of Brendan Nelson as Australia’s ambassador to NATO and the EU is good news for him and good news for Kevin Rudd, but it is an embarrassment for Malcolm Turnbull.
While Nelson maintains that there was no offer made prior decision to leave Parliament – the deal was apparently struck over a cup of tea after Nelson decided to leave Parliament with the Prime Minister and only finalised last week – it does cast his decision to leave Parliament early in an entirely new light.
In choosing to leave Parliament early Brendan Nelson has caused a headache for Malcolm Turnbull in having to hold a by-election for his seat of Bradfield, has dropped several mischievous bombs on coalition policy on ETS and is now going to work for the Government that only one year ago he was the leading the charge against.
While Kim Beazley’s appointment to Washington could draw cries of jobs for mates it has been talked about for a long time and makes sense, Beazley know what he’s doing when it comes to the United States. Plus Rudd has already posted several former Coalition members to diplomatic posts, in Tim Fischer and Robert Hill.
Nelson’s post is the only with contemporary political implications.
This is not to question Nelson’s qualifications as a former Defence Minister for the role, but the appointment does have the beneficial side effect for Rudd and Nelson of sticking it to Turnbull.
Despite warmly welcoming the decision Turnbull was asked by David Spears this morning whether he felt betrayed by Nelson’s decision to represent the Rudd Government overseas:
“Well Brendan will do his job professionally and if he asked to represent policies that he may not have agreed with when he was in Parliament he will do that professionally and represent the Government, that’s what diplomats do.”
Yep and this includes the Rudd Government’s position on the ETS, one that he has been highly critical of in recent days and his trying to still force change on with the Liberal Party room.
Nelson will now be in the odd position in Europe of advocating a Rudd Government ETS that he recently said he can’t support, with Malcolm Turnbull back home having to come up with an Opposition policy on the issue recently further complicated by Nelson’s comments.
And what was Turnbull’s opinion as to whether it influenced Nelson’s decision to leave Parliament early.
“As I understand it it was only offered it to him very recently, so I don’t think it did.”
Maybe not, but he didn’t sound too convinced.
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