Turnbull may flout PM’s ban



Senior Liberal Malcolm Turnbull could be about to contradict the Prime Minister twice — on terrorism and anti-ABC sentiment.

The Communications Minister is yet to reveal if he will obey Tony Abbott’s boycott against an ABC program.

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Mr Turnbull is scheduled to appear on Q&A, which the PM has warned cabinet ministers to avoid, in less than a week.

He said it will “depend on the circumstances” whether he will be a panel guest next Monday.

“Time will tell. Stay tuned,” Mr Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday night.

Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce pulled out of this week’s show, citing a directive from Mr Abbott.

Mr Joyce said he was only told of the ban on Sunday. Nationals leader Warren Truss contradicted this, saying the ban was discussed by the coalition leadership team on June 25.

The boycott was in response to the ABC allowing convicted criminal Zaky Mallah to ask a question from the live audience two weeks ago.

If Turnbull flouts the ban, it would be his second recent act of defiance.

On Tuesday, he seemed to contradict the PM’s language on the terrorism threat, calling for a balanced debate on national security and civil liberty.

While defending the government’s draft laws revoking citizenship for dual nationals involved in terrorism, Mr Turnbull said those with the same goal of defeating terrorism could have different views on the best way forward.

Denouncing those who question the effectiveness of new national security measures as ‘friends of terrorists’ was as stupid as describing those who advocate them as proto-fascists, he told a Sydney gathering on Tuesday night.

The minister said it was important not to underestimate or be complacent about the national security threat from the Islamic State group, just as it was not to overestimate that threat.

Mr Turnbull’s comments are in contrast to those of Mr Abbott, who has criticised Labor for “rolling out the red carpet” to terrorists by expressing concerns about the citizenship-revoking legislation.

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