Topics:  Albanese rejects NATO invitation; Muslim campaign;

07:55AM ACST
2 July 2024


Simon Birmingham: There is clearly chaos infecting the Albanese Government internally as they tear themselves apart over Fatima Payman, allegations of intimidation, but also now infecting critical areas of policy. The Prime Minister is reported today to be single handedly rewriting budget rules and budget approaches and hoovering up all that power in the Prime Minister’s office, while at the same time it’s reported that he has now cancelled his attendance at the NATO Leaders’ Summit. If the Prime Minister isn’t going to the NATO Leaders’ Summit, then he needs to have a very, very compelling reason why not. Because otherwise it would be a dereliction of duty for the Prime Minister not to be there, putting Australia’s national security interests and national security partnerships with our democratic allies first and foremost in his responsibilities.

National security is the top responsibility of the government, and the idea that Anthony Albanese would rather be campaigning to shore up Labor marginal seats than sitting down with the NATO leaders to ensure global security and our national security interests are heard, is an appalling representation of his priorities. He should be reconsidering this position and making sure that he is there, seizing the opportunity to be part of those NATO meetings, historic ones at a big anniversary for NATO, as well as the opportunity to have all of the bilateral discussions that are so very, very critical, particularly with, for example, newly elected leaders that may be there should Keir Starmer and the Labour Party win the UK election this week.


Journalist: It’s been reported that Richard Marles is going instead, so is that not good enough in your view?


Simon Birmingham: Ultimately, we have a Prime Minister, and we should expect the Prime Minister to do the job as the nation’s leader. Now, if Anthony Albanese has an absolutely compelling reason, let him state it as to why he cannot go. But if this is just because he’d rather be at home campaigning or dealing and responding to the internal chaos in the Labor Party, well, that is not a good enough reason. And the Prime Minister should be undertaking the leadership roles and responsibilities of the nation.


Journalist: There are some stories out about teal-style Muslim candidates who potentially would like to unseat Labor seats. Do you think that could potentially be something that does shake up the next federal election?


Simon Birmingham: Well, ours is a great democracy and anybody is welcome to step forward. My great concern is that since October 7th, the Prime Minister has continually, when pressured, shifted Australia’s position in relation to Israel and in relation to issues such as a two-state solution and how that may be achieved, rather than holding strongly to long-standing bipartisan positions that Australia has held. And what’s demonstrated now is that no amount of trying to appease the left will actually work. That the Prime Minister’s shifting of position has only exacerbated confusion and led to more divisions within the Labor Party rather than holding clearly and consistently to long-standing positions as Peter Dutton has continued to do. Thanks, guys.