04 March 2016
by Primrose Riordan

Barnaby Joyce calls for truce in Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull war

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has called for unity in wake of explosive tensions between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.

The comments come after Mr Turnbull announced the Defence Department and the Australian Federal Police will investigate the leak of sensitive national security documents published in newspapers on Wednesday along with quotes from Mr Abbott.

The article by Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan reported that a draft defence white paper produced under Mr Abbott would have seen the 12 submarines to be commissioned by the government built early.

"I'm not just disappointed, I'm flabbergasted at this decision," Mr Abbott told the newspaper.

He subsequently denied he leaked the excerpts of the paper.

Mr Joyce said on Thursday that the Turnbull government's honeymoon was over and it was time to stick together.

"I think we've got to all get to get together as one, we've got to go to the election unified there will be an election this year. Quite obviously honeymoons don't go on forever," he told 2GB.

He then suggested it was in the media's interest to make Labor look competitive.

"Ultimately the press want a competition, it's in their interest. The press have a role and responsibility to be the critical arbitrators of the forth estate and that's precisely what they do," he said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was asked what her advice was to colleagues who leaked information from the National Security Committee. She said: "it's a criminal offence".

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he believed Mr Abbott that he did not leak the documents, but it was dangerous that people were "playing politics" with NSC documents.

"Of course I take Tony Abbott on his word on that.

"Playing politics with national security I think is a very, very dangerous and disappointing thing to have occurred but it is, I think, very reassuring that the Prime Minister has risen above, as he does on these things, and is ensuring the integrity of the process," he said.