Wil­son coy on Dut­ton push

Great Southern Herald - - News -

O’Con­nor MP Rick Wil­son voted for Peter Dut­ton in both Lib­eral party lead­er­ship spills last week, de­spite of­fer­ing sup­port to former Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull in the 24 hours be­fore the party coup.

Mr Wil­son was among the 43 sig­na­tures on Mr Dut­ton’s spill mo­tion which forced the party to vote on its lead­er­ship for the sec­ond time in a week on Fri­day.

The Ad­ver­tiser’s sis­ter-paper, The West Aus­tralian, re­ported that Mr Wil­son voted for Mr Dut­ton in both Tues­day and Fri­day’s spills.

In Thurs­day’s Ad­ver­tiser, Mr Wil­son said: “The PM (Turn­bull) won the bal­lot (Tues­day) quite con­vinc­ingly, that was the end of it . . . we move on.”

A day later, Mr Wil­son had again voted for Mr Dut­ton, one of three Lib­eral min­is­ters to nom­i­nate in the spill, in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son and now former for­eign min­is­ter Julie Bishop.

Mr Wil­son re­port­edly voted for Mr Dut­ton in the ini­tial three-way vote on Fri­day be­tween Mr Mor­ri­son, Mr Dut­ton and Ms Bishop, be­fore again vot­ing for Mr Dut­ton head-to-head against Mr Mor­ri­son, which the lat­ter won 45-40.

Mr Wil­son de­clined any in­ter­views af­ter Fri­day’s vote, but did re­lease a brief state­ment prais­ing Mr Mor­ri­son.

“As Trea­surer, Scott Mor­ri­son has presided over un­prece­dented eco­nomic achieve­ments and I’m pleased that as Prime Min­is­ter he will be able to over­see the con­tin­u­a­tion of those poli­cies,” he said.

Mr Wil­son said he was con­fi­dent Mr Mor­ri­son and deputy leader Josh Fry­den­berg could re­unite the party.

“I look for­ward to work­ing with the new Prime Min­is­ter and his deputy to take on the ALP and Bill Shorten next elec­tion,” he said.

“That’s the fight we have to fo­cus on and I am con­fi­dent we will now be able to win that fight.”

Mr Wil­son was one of nine WA Lib­eral MPs to vote for Mr Dut­ton on Fri­day with Chris­tian Porter, Michael Keenan, An­drew Hastie, Dean Smith, Michaelia Cash, Slade Brock­man, Ian Good­e­nough and Mathias Cor­mann.

Prime Min­is­ter of Aus­tralia Mal­colm Turn­bull with Mem­ber for O'Con­nor Rick Wil­son. Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

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