British PM head-hunts Abbott to help broker new Brexit deal

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has reportedly been hired to help the United Kingdom negotiate new trade deals post-Brexit.

Aug 26, 2020, updated Aug 26, 2020

Questions have been raised about whether he will now have to register as an agent of foreign influence under Australia’s transparency laws.

Scott Morrison brushed questions about the implications on Wednesday, simply saying the appointment was a “good hire” by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“I’ll leave that for the Attorney-General to sort out and I’m sure there’s paperwork for Tony to fill out – I’m sure he’ll get that done,” the Prime Minister told reporters in Canberra.

“But well done Boris, good hire.”

The UK is negotiating a series of free trade agreements, including one with Australia, after exiting the European Union.

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Attorney-General Christian Porter said former cabinet ministers had a range of requirements under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme.

“It is up to each individual to determine whether or not their circumstances meets the registration requirements,” Porter said.

“All former cabinet ministers and members of parliament receive information outlining registration requirements.”

The British Government has not made a formal announcement about the role.


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