A FORMER Commandant of Kapooka's Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC) Andrew Nikolic has been promoted to one of the federal government's most powerful jobs.
Mr Nikolic, now the Member for Bass in Tasmania after winning the seat at the 2013 federal election, was hoisted to role of government whip following the dumping of veteran MP Philip Ruddock as chief whip late last week.
But Mr Nikolic - who in 2003 became the first officer appointed to lead the ARTC to have also graduated as a soldier - is already in the centre of a political storm having clashed with colleauge Andrew Laming over Mr Laming's plan to introduce a private member's bill to abolish Prime Minister Tony Abbott's knights and dames honours system.
Mr Nikolic has written to other Liberals asking for an end to in-fighting which led to Mr Abbott having to battle for his job last week.
In the letter, published by The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday, opens with the question: What's going on?
"Parties of all persuasions have been behind in the polls at various stages of the political cycle - but only weak parties lose their composure and unity of purpose when challenged. We are not that party," Mr Nikolic wrote.
"The branches and sequels of the disunity I am reading about in the paper each day can go in a number of different ways. My hope is that we knuckle down, re-focus on what's important and not become the rabble we defeated."
Mr Nikolic said the Liberal Party must show they are "up for the job" and what will convince Australians of that more than anything else was a serious economic plan to deal with the country's complex impending challenges. - With The Sydney Morning Herald