The Minister for Immigration and Boarder Protection Scott Morrison has launched a petition on Change.Org for the prime minister to sack Defence Minister David Johnston. The move comes following Senator Johnston’s remark that he would not trust the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) to “build a canoe.”
Morrison, who has widely been tipped for promotion in the next cabinet reshuffle, strenuously denies the petition is in any way connected to his personal ambitions, although would not comment as to whether he was prepared to serve as defence minister should the position become vacant.
Morrison’s petition forms part of a recent trend of cabinet ministers eschewing negotiations with cabinet and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and are instead adopting unconventional means to achieve political ends.
Last week, education minister and Leader of the House Christopher Pyne circulated a petition in a bid to stop the ABC cutting funding to the ABC in his hometown of Adelaide. In May, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnball bypassed cabinet and negotiated NBN policy detail with Clive Palmer at a Chinese restaurant, while in February, Attorney -General George Brandis torpedoed attempts by PM&C to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by using the Australian Senate to declare “People have a right to be bigots you know.”
Yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared that Minister Johnston “has my full support”, echoing his statements made about former Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos in March.