EXCLUSIVE: The AIMN has learned that Tony Abbott is seeking closer security ties with another superpower.
No, it’s not India, though they did sign a Framework for Security Cooperation to guide closer bilateral collaboration across “defence, counter-terrorism, cyber policy, disarmament and non-proliferation and maritime security”.
“They agreed to hold regular meetings at the level of the Defence Minister, conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular navy to navy, air force to air force and army to army staff talks,” said the joint statement.
And it’s not China, though China and Australia will hold a series of high-level defence exchanges this year under an agreement sealed in April between Tony Abbott and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the first day of the PM’s visit to China.
Defence Minister David Johnston has hailed the forging of closer defence relations between Australia and China and strongly endorsed the agreement to conduct joint military exercises involving China, Australia and the United States.
“Exercise Kowari, in Australia, is a firm demonstration of all three countries’ intent to work together towards enhancing mutual trust and regional stability,” the Defence Minister said.
Nor is it Japan, though Prime Minister Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Abe held a summit meeting on 7 April 2014, at which the two leaders decided to elevate the security and defence relationship to a new level.
In their first trilateral meeting since 2007 at the recent G20 meeting, Australia, the US and Japan agreed to stronger defence ties and to boost joint military exercises.
It’s not South Korea, though Tony Abbott has tightened defence ties with South Korea by laying out plans to conduct more joint exercises and share more military technology, helping to mend a bruising row two years ago over a cancelled weapons deal.
“I wanted to assure President Park that we were interested in defence cooperation beyond the long-established security cooperation including defence procurement, and I think she was very happy to have that assurance.”
Not Indonesia either, though the signing of a Defence Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia on 5 September 2012 shows a strong intent to deepen bilateral defence ties between Indonesia and Australia. There’s been a substantial increase in ministerial-level exchanges and the establishment of a regular Defence Minister’s meeting and a ‘two plus two’ dialogue between Defence and Foreign Ministers. And the next Defence White Paper will aim to set out a path to even closer and more comprehensive military cooperation.
The US you say? Nope, though Australia, the G-20 host, has played an important role in Obama’s efforts to bolster the U.S. military presence in the region in order to be a counterweight to China. During a trip to Australia in 2011, Obama announced a plan to rotate 2,500 U.S. Marines through a military base in Darwin. By the end of this decade, the US is set to deploy most of its navy and airforce to the region.
So who is it?
An insider has revealed to the AIMN that representatives of Tony Abbott are in negotiations with representatives of God at the Vatican regarding enhanced counter-terrorism surveillance.
It is understood that Cardinal Pell is arguing for an ISDS (Individual Sin Disclosure Statute) to be included which would see all confessions taped and the information held for two years.
A spokesman for Cardinal Pell said “Not only will this lead to more arrests of people who have had bad thoughts, it will free up the courts because it is so much easier to prosecute someone if you have a confession.”
He assured us that the information would not be used to prosecute pedophile rings in the clergy.
One point of contention appears to be George Brandis’ insistence on tapping the Telephone to Jesus.
“We are concerned that Jesus may have been radicalised during his time in the Middle East. He has been receiving prayers asking for help from a lot of very suspect people.”
It is said that Tony Abbott has also had a “robust conversation” with God about his failure to smite their common enemy, the scientists, expressing his concern about recent statements made by Pope Francis about climate change, and his anti-business rhetoric about poverty and weak stance on border security.
Under the proposed agreement, radical scientists who encourage others to engage in scientific research could have up to fifty years added to their time in Purgatory, while it will also be a mortal sin for anyone to advocate an evidence-based approach.
Tony Abbott is said to be keen to sign off on the deal, suggesting a Christmas Day announcement from St Peter’s Basilica would make a great photo.
God was contacted for comment but, as at time of publishing, had not responded.
We will keep you informed as further news comes in.