Smoke and terrors


The day after Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister, defence minister (at the time) Kevin Andrews proudly announced that the Australian air force had for the first time “engaged a target” (if you don’t speak militarese, that means killed someone or blown something up) in Syria.

The news came too late for Tony Abbott. Just as he had been a year earlier in Iraq, Tony had been very keen to deploy troops to Syria. In fact, when Abbott announced that the US had asked for Australian support, Fairfax media reported that a source from the very leaky Liberal Party had told them Abbott had actually contacted Barack Obama and asked him to request Australian involvement in Syria.

Whether that report was true or not (I’m cynical enough to believe it possible), another war wasn’t enough to rescue Abbott from declining public and party confidence. But it’s worth remembering that…

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