PM denies national security cabinet leak



The prime minister has denied that a senior minister in his own government leaked sensitive information days out from polling day.

Cabinet’s national security committee reportedly rejected a proposition from Foreign Minister Marise Payne to double Australia’s Pacific aid funding to counter rising ­Chinese influence as too expensive, according to The Australian.

Scott Morrison rejected the notion that a member of his team had leaked cabinet deliberations to the press but wouldn’t comment on the veracity of the report, saying he did not confirm or deny matters of national security.

“The members of my national security committee are very, very tight … I’m not going to confirm one way or another the matters in that report,” he said.

“I don’t discuss things … that are addressed and worked through a national security committee.”

Mr Morrison said people other than ministers are also present in the sub-committee of cabinet, but also wouldn’t address whether he would launch an investigation into the foreign affairs department when it was proposed the leak came from officials.

“I’m not confirming that these are matters that have even been discussed.”

The prime minister had attempted to spruik his government’s economic plan for people trying to buy into the housing market before being peppered with questions on national security and poor polling on election eve.

Mr Morrison reaffirmed quiet Australians will again deliver a Liberal-National government.

Invoking praise of the voters he credited for his 2019 election win, he said people were wrong about the expected result in the lead-up last time.

“Everybody is so certain before polling day,” he told 3AW radio on Friday.

“What I’m always certain of is the Australian people and their judgment, who quietly go about their business and listen carefully and consider it and weigh it up.”

The prime minister is spending the final full day of campaigning in Western Australia where the coalition is seeking to hold the seats of Swan, Pearce and Hasluck, two of which have retiring MPs.

He said he had always treated the west with the respect it deserved, while the Labor party took it for granted.

“I’ve always acknowledged that the Western Australian economy is so central to our national economic plan,” he told Perth radio station 6PR.

“Anthony Albanese is no (WA Premier) Mark McGowan. Mark and I actually agree on a lot when it comes to the Western Australian economy, the differences are with Anthony Albanese.”

Mr Morrison is confident the coalition will win Cowan from Labor MP Anne Aly who was elected in 2016.


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