Former minister gets defence export job

By AAP Newswire

The former defence minister who said he wouldn't trust the government's shipbuilder to build a canoe has now been hired to spruik Australia's defence wares overseas.

David Johnston, who lost his frontbench job in a Tony Abbott reshuffle following the 2014 gaffe, has been appointed the first Australian Defence Export Advocate.

The position is part of the Turnbull government's bid to massively expand Australia's defence industry exports.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the former Liberal senator would work closely with the new Australian Defence Export Office in the role.

"I work tirelessly to advocate for Australian industries looking to sell their world-class defence materiel to our friends and allies but I can't be everywhere," Mr Pyne said in a statement.

"As a former minister for defence, Mr Johnston brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of Australian defence industry to this significant role."

Labor was unimpressed with the appointment.

The coalition previously appointed Mr Johnston to the board of the Centre for Defence Industry Capability in October 2016, months after he lost his WA Senate seat at the federal election.