The Courier-Mail

8 GAY WED­DINGS DE­BATE TRIAL

Latest cap­tain’s pick comes at a price for Lib­eral fundrais­ers

- RE­NEE VIELLARIS THURS­DAY AU­GUST 13 2015 COURI­ERMAIL.COM.AU

FRUS­TRATED Lib­eral Party fundrais­ers are pri­vately talk­ing-up the joint lead­er­ship po­ten­tial of Julie Bishop and Mal­colm Turnbull as they lament their in­abil­ity to raise money un­der Tony Ab­bott’s prime min­is­ter­ship.

The mes­sage has reached the of­fice of mod­er­ate Lib­eral Party front­benchers, who are fum­ing over Mr Ab­bott’s de­ci­sion to pre­vent a con­scious vote on gay mar­riage.

De­scribed to The Courier-Mail yesterday by one front­bench of­fice as “the worst cap­tain’s pick” Mr Ab­bott had made, talks are re-emerg­ing of Mr Turnbull (pic­tured) again not rul­ing out a chal­lenge to Mr Ab­bott. How­ever it is con­ceded the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter does not have the num­bers.

One per­son has flagged a Julie Bishop-Mal­colm Turnbull joint ticket – with Mr Turnbull be­com­ing the deputy but han­dling the trea­sury port­fo­lio.

Mr Turnbull said yesterday a con­science vote was con­sis­tent with Lib­eral Party tra­di­tion. “It would have meant the mat­ter would be re­solved in this Par­lia­ment, one way or another, in a cou­ple of weeks,” Mr Turnbull said.

It is un­der­stood Ms Bishop ar­gued for

a con- science vote but would have voted against gay mar­riage.

The mod­er­ates within the party are be­com­ing more frus­trated but also, more em­bold­ened.

Some voiced their con­cerns about “ScoMo” (So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son) and his am­bi­tions.

The Courier-Mail was told yesterday to ex­pect MPs to do more walk-throughs of Par­lia­ment House over the com­ing days – which al­low them to be pep­pered with ques­tions from re­porters.

Sources have said the Lib­eral Party is strug­gling to raise money be­cause of Mr Ab­bott, “and we are 12 months out from an elec­tion”.

The Lib­eral Party is wor­ried about los­ing a num­ber of seats at the elec­tion, es­pe­cially in Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia.

One Can­berra in­sider said Queens­land fundrais­ers had com­plained they could not con­vince peo­ple to put their hands in their pock­ets for an Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment.

Another was ques­tion­ing “why the f--k do we care what peo­ple do in their bed­rooms?” Mod­er­ate MPs say the PM’s call had con­demned them.

“This was all about the PM shoring up the vote in the hard Right. Peo­ple like Kevin An­drews and Eric Abetz,” one highly placed source said.

“Now we don’t have a po­si­tion (on mar­riage equal­ity). Af­ter all that, what is our po­si­tion?

“We look like id­iots. We are a joke.”

PM’s sis­ter on sad di­vi­sion over state of the union

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