When Tony Abbott’s election team needed a three-star general to bolster their cruel and absurd “stop the boats” election slogan they turned to Angus Campbell.
He is now dragging the political impartiality of the ADF through the mud and his media performances are so hopeless he has made a laughing stock of the top brass. They’re not happy.
The weekly media follies orchestrated by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, a former director of the NSW Liberal Party, are so shambolic that the Abbott Government will eventually have to terminate them.
Who made Campbell a three-star general anyway? Was it on the recommendation of his superiors in the Army – the traditional method of promoting senior officers – or was it at the behest of Abbott, Morrison and the Liberal Party?
A grave precedent appears to have been created with Liberal Party interference in the ADF’s promotion process.
It is being officially reported in defence circles that Campbell is now ranked on the same level as the Chief of Navy, Chief of Army and Chief of Air Force – who have proper jobs and responsibilities – and receives the same wages.
Whereas most senior ADF types are non-political, apolitical or closet Liberals, Labourites or Nationals, Campbell is an exception: he is an outspoken right-winger. It was extremely conservative political views that attracted him to the Abbott crowd.
He was given a $10 million budget to set up an “operational command” in Canberra’s Customs House. It is miles away from defence headquarters and the military hierarchy. And even further away from Border Command at Bungendore, which is officially in charge of Australia’s border security.
Campbell stands alongside Morrison in the weekly media follies looking like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. He refuses to answer most questions and is an embarrassment to himself, Morrison and the ADF.
The real question is – what does he do? Is he responsible to the Defence chiefs, the Immigration Department, Homeland Security or Minister Morrison?
I’ve been reliably told that RAN chiefs are up in arms about the army general’s selection, promotion and bizarre appointment and are taking no notice of him. The Army top brass are also enraged by Campbell’s “political” appointment and are giving him the cold shoulder.
Abbott, Morrison, Pyne and Brandis are ignoring the danger signals and insisting on the army general’s PR role in the “turn back the boats” madness. In just two months, Abbott has managed to incite open hostility between his Government and the Defence establishment.
Hockey is achieved the same outcome with Treasury; Pyne with the Education Department; and Julie Bishop with Foreign Affairs. The decision to challenge the ACT’s marriage equality legislation in the High Court and the decision to sack thousands of civil servants, including hundreds at the CSIRO, means the Abbott gang has fallen into deep unpopularity. And things will only get worse.
Has any Commonwealth Government in history ever won an election and then fallen into such a state of disgrace so quickly?