Dut­ton dumps on ‘spite­ful’ Turn­bull

‘Mal­colm is charm­ing and af­fa­ble, but he doesn’t have a po­lit­i­cal bone in his body’

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - RE­NEE VIELLARIS

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.’’

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