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Dutton poised to become federal opposition leader

The former defence minister is set to become the next federal opposition leader, according to senior Liberal Party officials.

The former defence minister is set to become the next federal opposition leader, according to senior Liberal Party officials.

Peter Dutton, former minister for defence, is tipped to assume leadership of the federal opposition, with former prime minister Scott Morrison stepping down as federal Liberal leader following his election defeat. 

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In an interview with Sky News, Liberal member for the seat of Aston, Alan Tudge, suggested Dutton would be elected by the party room uncontested.  

“Peter Dutton will be leader,” he said.

“I think he’ll be incredibly effective actually. He’s a person of immense character, experience, he has very deep values in the Liberal Party and I think we need to go back to those values.

“I think he’ll be a very effective Liberal leader at holding the Labor Party to account.”

A formal leadership bid is expected to be announced in the next few days.

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Dutton served as minister for defence for just over a year, replacing Linda Reynolds in March 2021.

During his time in the portfolio, Dutton oversaw a revamp of the Commonwealth’s defence procurement strategy, aimed at enhancing and accelerating capability in response to the growing threat posed by China.

Key investments and acquisitions included:

  • A commitment to procure nuclear-powered submarines promised under Australia’s historic technology-sharing partnership with the United Kingdom and the United Sates (AUKUS).
  • The $2.5 billion acquisition of 29 Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters and 12 additional Sikorsky MH-650 Romeo helicopters to replace the troubled Airbus Tiger and Taipan fleets.
  • The purchase of 75 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks under the LAND 907 Phase 2 project following approval from the federal cabinet.   
  • A $3.5 billion investment in the accelerated delivery of new missile capabilities for the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy.
  • The establishment of a $1 billion sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise.
  • The launch of Project REDSPICE (Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber, and Enablers) – a $9.9 billion investment over the next decade in the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).
  • The selection of the Schiebel Pacific S-100 Camcopter as the preferred platform for Block One of the SEA 129 Phase 5 Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System project.

Meanwhile, the newly elected Albanese government is yet to appoint a defence minister.

Brendan O’Connor served as shadow minister for defence prior to Labor’s election to government, however, reports suggest new deputy prime minister Richard Marles would assume the role.  

The full Albanese government ministry is set to be sworn in next week. 

[Related: Albanese, the Quad, and ‘JAUKUS’ ]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Dutton poised to become federal opposition leader
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