The fate of Mal Brough is set to dominate the final day of the parliamentary year, with a quantity of Coalition frontbenchers providing varying levels of assistance to the embattled MP.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday defended Mr Brough, who is getting investigated by the Australian Federal Police for any part he played in obtaining former staffer James Ashby to receive copies of then-speaker Peter Slipper’s diary in 2012.
Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham told the ABC that Mr Brough had his full support, whilst cabinet minister Barnaby Joyce provided some qualified support.
The Agriculture Minister told reporters outside parliament that he would not “second guess” the details of the affair.
“I am totally specific that if every thing is as it really is been said, then Mr Brough will continue on,” Mr Joyce said.
“But it’s ridiculous for folks to try to be the Rumpole of the Bailey inside the chamber.”
It was a reference to shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, who has been top the Opposition’s questioning on the matter.
Mr Dreyfus yesterday attempted twice to censure Mr Turnbull over his “atrocious” judgement in appointing and supporting Mr Brough, but both had been defeated.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese repeated his criticism of the Prime Minister this morning, saying that former PM Tony Abbott showed significantly far better judgement than his replacement.
“Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement is the worst judgement shown by a political leader given that Malcolm Turnbull last time he was Liberal leader [when he] decided to stake his entire leadership on a false e-mail from Godwin Grech,” Mr Albanese stated.
Fellow Labor MP Jason Clare compared Mr Brough’s predicament to that of former speaker Bronwyn Bishop.
Mr Clare mentioned it took Mr Abbott 32 days to get rid of Ms Bishop right after the “helicopter scandal”.
“It’s now 16 days considering that Mal Brough’s house was raided by the federal police,” Mr Clare stated.
“Tick, tick, tick. How long is it going to take Malcolm Turnbull to sack Mal Brough?”
Brough offers qualified apology
Mr Brough yesterday provided a qualified apology to Parliament for “unwittingly” adding to confusion concerning his recollection of the Slipper diaries affair.
On Wednesday morning, Mr Brough addressed Parliament aiming “to clarify his comments” over a 2014 interview with Channel Nine.
In the 60 Minutes interview, Mr Brough appeared to admit that he did ask Mr Ashby to procure Mr Slipper’s diary.
On Tuesday he cast doubt on that admission, telling Parliament “what was place to air was not the complete query”.
But on Wednesday Mr Brough told the House that his “recollection of the interview was that the question was place to me in a somewhat disjointed manner”.
“I answered the query without having clarifying what component of the query I was responding to,” Mr Brough said.
Topics: government-and-politics, turnbull-malcolm, federal-parliament, federal-government, australia