PM ad­mits anger of by-elec­tion vot­ers

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWSFRONT -

P R I ME Mi n i s t e r Scott Mor­ri­son ad­mits Went­worth vot­ers were an­gry about some is­sues Mal­colm Turnbull iden­ti­fied as key to the by-elec­tion loss, but he doesn’t agree with all of his pre­de­ces­sor’s as­sess­ments of why the Coali­tion lost the seat.

Mr Turnbull said a “messy week” just be­fore the Went­worth by-elec­tion killed off the Coali­tion’s ma­jor­ity, not his lack of cam­paign­ing on the ground.

The Coali­tion had a num­ber of scan­dals in that fi­nal week, in­clud­ing sen­a­tors ac­ci­den­tally vot­ing for a One Na­tion “it’s okay to be white” mo­tion and a plan to move the Aus­tralian em­bassy in Is­rael from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Peo­ple were very an­gry about those events, par­tic­u­larly in the seat of Went­worth and I know that, I grew up in the seat of Went­worth,” Mr Mor­ri­son told a Life­line event in Syd­ney yes­ter­day.

“[But] I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with all those as­sess­ments. There are a range of is­sues that play into any by­elec­tion.

“But the point of by-elec­tions is they’re done and I don’t want to get very fo­cused on pub­lic post-as­sess­ments.”

Mr Turnbull said on Thurs­day the Lib­er­als who brought him down in Au­gust might have been wor­ried he would win the next fed­eral elec­tion.

He named Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton, Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann, and for­mer prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott as the lead­ers of the “in­sur­gency” that top­pled him.

De­fence Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne said yes­ter­day those col­leagues must be “re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions” dur­ing the over­throw.

Sen­a­tor Cor­mann said he did not en­gi­neer the coup but he was clear about why he shifted sup­port away from Mr Turnbull when he did.

That step came af­ter a first lead­er­ship bal­lot showed Mr Turnbull’s lead­er­ship was “ir­re­triev­able”, he said.

“It was in the in­ter­est of the coun­try, the Gov­ern­ment and the Lib­eral Party for the is­sue of the lead­er­ship of the Lib­eral Party to be re­solved with more cer­tainty be­fore we left that week,” the sen­a­tor told Sky News.

“I cer­tainly be­lieve that I was pub­licly ac­count­able for my ac­tions in what was a very dif­fi­cult week.”

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