Perhaps I'm unduly sensitive on the subject having just spent a few days in Thailand, where military coups -- past or projected -- are a real issue in political life. But do we really want to be the sort of country where the military gets to decide on the appointment of government ministers?

Yet that appears to be view of Tony Abbott, who implied at the weekend that Stephen Smith was unfit to remain as defence minister because "defence personnel don't want him". This morning, shadow minister David Johnston is reported as saying that "Defence does not want [Smith] in the job" and it is "time for him to be moved on".