The Courier-Mail

Whispers lead to payback, paranoia

- DENNIS ATKINS

WHERE there’s politics, there’s always paranoia and payback. especially when some vicious leaking is involved.

The great leak of 2015 – a blow-by-blow detailed account of how one third of Cabinet revolted against a plan by Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton – dribbled out a week ago but by the weekend there was as much detail as you get in 12 months of gossip magazines.

The aftermath of this citizenshi­p debate leak, which was clearly aimed at the PM, has been as fascinatin­g and dramatic as the unauthoris­ed release of the informatio­n itself.

Abbott was targeted in a bid to show he was still dropping controvers­ial proposals without any prior discussion or warning and he’s putting politics before policy.

This meant the finger of suspicion was pointed at Liberal deputy Julie Bishop and Communicat­ions Minister Malcolm Turnbull, regarded as the possible leadership alternativ­es when Abbott’s position was in doubt early this year.

Bishop flatly denied leaking while Turnbull has assumed his now common “head below the parapet” position.

Meanwhile, the Liberal backbench has swung in behind Abbott and Dutton.

The politics are fascinatin­g, both inside the Liberal Party and in the Parliament.

Abbott supporters are using the apparent dissent by Bishop and Turnbull on the plan to devalue their claims to leadership while the PM is working this far end of the terror/citizenshi­p matrix to wedge Labor and break the bipartisan­ship on national security.

The national interest comes second in all this.

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