Retired Major General Jim Molan at the Australian War Memorial.

Retired Major General Jim Molan at the Australian War Memorial. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Former military comrades Mike Kelly and Jim Molan are no longer seeing eye to eye on politics.

While still friends, they have divergent views on issues such as how to handle the flow of asylum seekers.

Retired Major-General Molan is scathing about the federal government's management of defence and is now turning to border security.

He says he voted for Dr Kelly in the seat of Eden-Monaro in the hope the Labor government would take action on boat people.

''I am deeply disappointed in what has occurred since,'' he said.

General Molan is a former chief of operations for the Coalition forces during the Iraq war and, since retiring in 2008, he has written extensively on military affairs. ''I have great respect for Mike as a friend but I suspect we have very different views on the world,'' he said.

Dr Kelly, the Minister for Defence Materiel, rose to the rank of colonel in his military career which included tours in Iraq, Somalia, Kenya and East Timor. He was instrumental in the rebuilding of Iraq's legal and justice systems. "Jim and I have known each other for many, many years, we served in Iraq together,'' Dr Kelly said.

"Since then we've often shared platforms talking about Afghanistan and other things and he lives in my electorate. We agree on a lot of things and some things we don't agree on.

''I often see him in the airport and we talk every time we see each other … we marched together on Anzac day.''

Dr Kelly said he had a long talk with General Molan when both were handing out how-to-vote cards in Queanbeyan for the local government elections. "He was handing out how to vote cards for Tim Overall and I was standing there for the Labor candidate, we stood there and had a good yarn,'' he said.

General Molan denied he was a Liberal Party activist, as suggested by Defence Minister Stephen Smith but told the ABC governments should achieve outcomes.

''I find that the people on the other side of Parliament … in the Opposition, have experience in doing what I want them to do, that is, secure our borders,'' he said.

''They have a greater probability of success and they're an impressive bunch.''