Turnbull ousted for fail­ing to con­nect: PM

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - GREG BROWN RICHARD FER­GU­SON

Scott Mor­ri­son says Mal­colm Turnbull was rolled as prime min­is­ter be­cause Lib­eral MPs be­lieved their for­mer leader did not con­nect with grass­roots mem­bers.

In his first ex­pla­na­tion of why Mr Turnbull was knifed by his party, the Prime Min­is­ter said there were con­cerns in gov­ern­ment ranks that Mr Turnbull was out of touch with Coali­tion sup­port­ers.

Mr Mor­ri­son’s assess­ment came af­ter Mr Turnbull urged the coup plot­ters, whom he de­scribed as “in­sur­gents”, to ex­plain why a lead­er­ship change was needed.

“Those who had ad­vo­cated that (change in lead­er­ship) made points about the need to bet­ter con­nect with the val­ues and be­liefs of Lib­eral, Na­tion­als and LNP mem­bers across the coun­try,” Mr Mor­ri­son said yes­ter­day.

He echoed John Howard in ar­gu­ing that the lead­er­ship of the Lib­eral Party was a gift of the par­ty­room. “We live in a par­lia­men­tary democ­racy, we don’t live in a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem,” he said.

“The par­lia­men­tary Lib­eral Party de­cides who their leader is and the par­lia­men­tary Lib­eral Party formed a de­ci­sion that we wanted to make a change.”

In a spe­cial episode of ABC’s Q&A on Thurs­day, Mr Turnbull slammed se­nior MPs who moved against him, nam­ing Peter Dut­ton, Tony Ab­bott, Greg Hunt, Mathias Cor­mann, Steven Ciobo and Michael Keenan as among those who should ex­plain why a new leader was needed.

Some Lib­eral MPs were yes­ter­day fu­ri­ous at Mr Turnbull’s claim the par­ty­room had seen in­ter­nal polling of the 40 most mar­ginal seats that showed the gov­ern­ment ahead of La­bor — 52-48 per cent — on a two-party-pre­ferred ba­sis.

The MPs said by Mr Turnbull’s num­bers, the gov­ern­ment was on track to win 10 seats at the next elec­tion from La­bor de­spite be­ing be­hind in Newspoll for more than two years.

“It is ut­ter bull­shit,” one con­ser­va­tive MP said.

Sen­a­tor Cor­mann and Vic­to­rian Lib­eral sen­a­tor Jane Hume said they never saw in­ter­nal polling Mr Turnbull had ref­er­enced.

“I haven’t seen any such polling,” Sen­a­tor Cor­mann told Sky News.

“There’s no ques­tion in my mind the gov­ern­ment had worked very well as a team and we were get­ting into a more com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion than we had been. But that was be­fore the 10 days of that (lead­er­ship spill) pe­riod.”

De­fence Min­is­ter Christo­pher Pyne, a strong ally of Mr Turnbull, backed the for­mer prime min­is­ter in ar­gu­ing the in­sur­gents “have to be re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions”.

“They made a de­ci­sion about not sup­port­ing Mal­colm and they have to be re­spon­si­ble for that,” he told the Nine Net­work.

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