Dutton dumps on ‘spiteful’ Turnbull
‘Malcolm is charming and affable, but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body’
PETER Dutton has broken his silence to accuse Malcolm Turnbull of spiteful attacks and blast him for running a government “paralysed” by his own political incompetence.
And the Home Affairs Minister has revealed why his colleagues pushed to dump the former prime minister in August.
Mr Dutton, who has spoken out to protect his colleagues and the Morrison Government from ongoing criticism, accused Mr Turnbull of a political hissy-fit worse than the backstabbing Kevin Rudd unleashed on Julia Gillard after she rolled him as Labor PM in 2010.
He said Mr Turnbull did “not have a political bone in his body”, had taken the Government’s message from three-word slogans to “3000”, and had alienated rusted-on Liberal Party supporters.
Mr Dutton predicted the Coalition would have lost 25 seats if Mr Turnbull had remained as PM.
Mr Turnbull has regularly denied wrongdoing, but has privately briefed some MPs on what he was planning as prime minister, reaffirming views in some quarters he is trying to destabilise the current government.
Mr Dutton, who says he is “no Bible basher or rightwing extremist”, said he and other senior ministers had for a long time sandbagged Mr Turnbull’s leadership, but the biggest damage to Mr Turnbull’s legacy — and to his prime ministership — was self-inflicted.
“I am the first to defend the legacy of the Turnbull Government. Malcolm was strong on economic management, borders and national security, but Malcolm will trash his own legacy if he believes his position is strengthened by seeing us lose under Scott,’’ Mr Dutton said. “Walking away from [his seat of] Wentworth and not working to have [Liberal Wentworth candidate] Dave Sharma elected was worse than any behaviour we saw even under Rudd.
“In 2016, Malcolm ran the worst campaign in Liberal Party history, and we ended up losing 15 seats and were left with a one-seat majority, which just made the Parliament unmanageable. We were paralysed.
“Malcolm is charming and affable but he doesn’t have a political bone in his body — and it’s not a criticism. But without political judgment you can’t survive in politics, and he didn’t.
“Malcolm had a plan to become prime minister, but no plan to be prime minister.
“He didn’t have John Howard’s touch or judgment, nor his ability to convey a message.’’