Henry hears that new Defence Minister
Brendan Nelson is kicking off the training wheels and letting a few key players
in the defence portfolio know that there is a new sheriff in town, summoning
senior executives and letting them have both barrels on issues ranging from
probity to the budget.

Probably not a bad strategy. It’s drawing
a long bow to say he has the senior defence players cowering or even on the back
foot (their mission statement can after all be essentially distilled down to
“kill people and wreck their stuff” – these lads aren’t shrinking violets), but
at least they will be getting the message loud and clear just who is running the
agenda. Minister Nelson will certainly be enjoying the bit of leeway the AWB is
giving him, as it is likely to give the “Prime Minister for Defence” a hobby for
a while yet. Henry expects him to use his time in Defence as an excuse to
become the self appointed “Minister Assisting” for Foreign Affairs, Trade,
Industry and any others that strike his fancy.

With the AWB scandal rocking
the Coalition boat (at the moment the Coalition
would surely take a dozen party room brawls and airport screaming matches ahead
of the train wreck they have on their hands with the AWB inquiry) this is already shaping up to be a
corker of a Parliamentary session.

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