There is heat amongst the British and Australian politicians over the recently announced appointment of former Australian PM Tony Abbott to 10 Downing Street. Expressing thoughts over conflict of interest, the Mark Dreyfus, the shadow attorney general of the opposition Labor party has pointed out that “It is really up to the Morrison government to explain how a former Liberal PM can now work for a foreign power advising on matters potentially in direct conflict with Australia’s commercial interest.”
Some have gone to the extent of labeling Abbott as a ‘foreign agent’ asking that he may be stripped off his travel and office allowance and as to why should Australian taxpayers be funding a foreign agents movement at all. One such outrageous comment has been made by an independent Australian senator Rex Patrick who strongly feels that Abbott’s appointment is a complete ‘disgrace’ to Australia and that as a former PM, he should be forced to register as a foreign agent under Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme.
“I obviously don’t agree with those sentiments at all but then I don’t agree with everyone who serves the government in an unpaid capacity on hundreds of boards across the country.”British PM Boris Johnson
On the flipside, the Australian Attorney General Christian Porter is all praises for Abbott to have moved one step forward towards a promising new free trade deal between Australia and the UK.
Speaking over the matter of (particularly) the conflict of interest, British PM Boris Johnson pointed out that “I obviously don’t agree with those sentiments at all but then I don’t agree with everyone who serves the government in an unpaid capacity on hundreds of boards across the country.” The trade board, which Abbott will now be a part of, was revived by Theresa May, and was intended to help shape the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy. However, Abbott’s comments in the time of the holding office did not go in his favour. He has been clearly disliked by the LGBT community, climate activists and Tory MPs. His comments were derogatory against abortion, equal marriages and preservation of climate.