Malcolm Turnbull will still have a part to play for the government after all.
Malcolm Turnbull will still have a part to play for the government after all.

PM hands Turnbull surprising new gig

DESPITE being reviled by some Liberals for "losing" Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull soon will be an international statesman for Australia.

And his special status will come with an unprecedented entitlement to tap taxpayers' funds for flights anywhere, perhaps a hint he will be given a global role.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today confirmed his predecessor would be representing the government at a summit in Bali late this month.

And it has been revealed Mr Turnbull has been granted a unique international airfare pass which will allow him to fly when he wants, where he wants.

A Senate hearing last night was told Mr Morrison had granted Mr Turnbull an unlimited travel entitlement which technically is not restricted to official duties, although it is understood that is all Mr Turnbull would use it for.

It was one of the outcomes from personal talks between Mr Morrison and Mr Turnbull.

"This amendment determination results from consultations between the Prime Minister and Mr Turnbull about Mr Turnbull's capacity to travel overseas on government business," according to testimony from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It seems the former leader's new privileges will be used almost immediately as part of a deal for Mr Turnbull to represent the government at an Our Ocean conference in Bali discussion the environmental sustainability of the seas.

Scott Morrison confirmed the gig for his predecessor today. Picture: Kym Smith
Scott Morrison confirmed the gig for his predecessor today. Picture: Kym Smith

Mr Morrison today told parliament he had discussed Mr Turnbull subbing in for him with Indonesian President Joko Widodo

"I was unable to follow through on that invitation and so, to ensure that we had very senior-level representation - which was well-received by the President of Indonesia - I did request the former prime minister to represent us at that conference, and he'll be there representing the policies of our government," said the Prime Minister.

"In that capacity, I think he presents a very serious, a very senior, and a very duly recognised status of our relationship with Indonesia.

"And I know that his attendance at that summit will be well-recognised and appreciated by President Widodo, and I thank him for representing Australia on that occasion."

 

Barnaby Joyce didn’t agree with the appointment. Picture: Kym Smith
Barnaby Joyce didn’t agree with the appointment. Picture: Kym Smith

But former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce says the move was "pretty wild", especially given Mr Turnbull refused to campaign for Liberal candidate in Wentworth, Dave Sharma, and now the coalition has lost its majority.

"Doesn't stack up for me either. If I was in the cabinet, I'm not, I'd be scratching my head desperately," Mr Joyce told 2GB radio.

"Now I'm on the backbench I can tell you the truth: it is a problem and there should have been a bit more thought put into this, I don't think it's the right move."

Mr Turnbull sent a tweet supporting Mr Sharma and also sent private messages to him, but did not actively campaign while he was overseas.

"I think he's angry about losing his job, I don't know, one can only presume some sulking. It's something you've got to get over with," Mr Joyce said. "I suggest that probably gives us a very good reason not to send him to Bali."

- With AAP


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