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Pyne slams 'liar', denies defence job tilt

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016

Christopher Pyne insists he doesn't want the job of his friend and cabinet colleague Marise Payne, claiming anyone who says he wants to become defence minister is a liar.

Questions have been raised about the future of Senator Payne as she recovers from surgery, with talks between the foreign and defence ministers of Japan and Australia cancelled because she can't travel.

Asked whether he is undermining his colleague, Mr Pyne told Fairfax Media in Paris: "Whoever would be saying such a thing is a liar".

Mr Pyne said everyone knew Senator Payne was one of his close personal friends.

"We share a house together in Canberra," he said.

"The relationship between Marise and I is working extremely well."

The defence industry minister said there has never been a moment of light between the pair who have separate responsibilities.

"I want Marise Payne to be the defence minister."

Mr Pyne said colleagues should stop worrying about the jobs they don't have and do the ones they do.

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