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Veteran Affairs Minister Dan Tehan defends PM Malcolm Turnbull for Israel snub

28 October 2017 4:45 PM
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Veteran Affairs Minister Dan Tehan defends PM Malcolm Turnbull for Israel snub

MALCOLM Turnbull’s Veteran’s Affairs minister has rejected suggestions the PM’s delayed trip to Israel is embarrassing.

Mr Tehan, who is also has responsibility for the nation’s cyber security strategy, was speaking in Tel Aviv where he is leading a delegation of Australian cyber security companies and academics to Israel.

The PM was due to arrive in Jerusalem on Saturday night local time but has delayed his trip in the wake of the High Court decision on Friday that saw Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash punted from parliament.

Mr Turnbull is now expected to arrive in Israel on Monday afternoon for the first visit by an Australian Prime Minister since John Howard in 2000.

“As a former diplomat I can tell you this is not uncommon. As a matter of fact the Israelis have done the same to us on quite a few occasions over the last decade,” Mr Tehan said.

Mr Tehan said the High Court’s ruling made it highly likely there could be a move to change Section 44 of the Constitution which deals with dual citizens ineligibility to sit in parliament.

“Now the High Court has ruled there is a need to look at the ruling and to see whether we need take any action or not — so my view is you will see a new committee formed or the Government have a serious look at what the implications are,” he said.

Earlier Mr Tehan briefed journalists with academics from the ANU which has announced it is setting up an institute dedicated to cyber security.

“The announcement of the establishment of a cyber institute is great news for cyber security in Australia and its great news because it shows that we’re not only looking at the cyber threat but we’re looking at the opportunities that come from that threat and if we can capitalise on those opportunities we will job growth in Australia, we will see dollars earned by Australian companies and we will see a stronger Australian community and stronger cyber resilience.”


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