PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has issued a communications clampdown on his frontbench, ordering all ministers obtain the approval of his office prior to speaking to media.
In a leaked email sent by Abbott’s senior press secretary, James Boyce, ministerial staff are told all requests for interviews must be vetted by the PM’s new communications chief, Kate Walshe.
“All media coordination and requests should go through Kate first. This covers all national media interviews on television, radio and print. This includes any ABC local radio or ABC television interviews, the Sunday programmes, Sky News, and metropolitan print media longer-format interviews, etc,’’ the email says.
“With any regular appearances on shows such as Sky AM Agenda, they should first have been coordinated through Kate at least the day before.”
Mr Abbott confirmed reports of the policy at a media appearance on Thursday, saying his government needs to speak with a “united voice”.
“We will be a consultative and collegial government … internally as well as externally,” he said.
“That’s why it’s important that we continue in government the sorts of arrangements that we had in opposition.”
The move comes a week after the coalition’s decision to restrict information on asylum seeker boat arrivals being made available to the media and public.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison argued controlling the flow of information would assist in the fight against people smugglers.